Phi Phi Island Tour

by Guest

Koh Phi Phi is a small archipelago lying in the Andaman Sea just off the western coast of the Thai mainland. It’s famous for its towering limestone karsts, turquoise waters, white sandy beaches and the filming location of The Beach, the movie adaptation of Alex Garland’s award winning book. While many of the other islands have now been saturated with overdevelopment, Koh Phi Phi still holds onto its charm. However, things are starting to change so if Koh Phi Phi is on your bucket list, it’s probably best to visit sooner rather than later. It’s relatively easy to reach, though the island doesn’t have an airport. The easiest way to get to Koh Phi Phi is take a flight from Bangkok or Chiang Mai to Krabi or Phuket and take a ferry or speedboat from there. It’s worth remembering that these ferries and speedboats only run during the high season between November and April. During the rest of the year, the ocean is simply too rough and the island’s accommodation and excursions close down for the season.

If you are visiting the island, there is much to do and see beyond just enjoying the palm backed white sandy beaches. Everything from rock climbing to sea kayaking are on offer. However, if you are to do just one thing, it’s worth taking one of the speedboat excursions which takes guests on a Phi Phi island tour. During the full day excursions, you’ll be taken to the most exciting places around the island including the best snorkelling spots. It’s a great introduction to the all that the island has to offer and is inexpensive starting from around US $50 for the day including lunch.

Fire Show Phi Phi

Fire Show Phi Phi

Also read about: Chiang Mai Night Safari

The excursion starts with a pick up from your hotel, hostel, or guest house where you will be taken by minivan to the famous Ton Sai Pier. From here you’ll meet your fellow guests and board the speedboat to start the adventure. After departing, you’ll quickly get up close to the enormous Tonsai cliffs which jut straight out of the ocean. Getting this close to these imposing natural wonders will surely make you feel small. Out towards the horizon you’ll notice Phi Phi Ley, the direction the speed boat motors out towards and will get closer and closer. Cruising this fast across the water is exciting enough and will be sure to get your heart pumping.

Also read about: Maya Bay in Phi Phi

When you arrive in Phi Phi Ley, the first stop is the famous Viking Cave. Located towards the north of the island, the cave is famous for the interior chalk drawings which legend has were created by pirates, though this has never been officially confirmed. The artwork is thought to be hundreds of years old and sometimes gets quite busy with tourists visiting the site. The caves are inhabited by thousands of swallows which rush in and out of the entrance. Interestingly, these birds create their delicate nests using their own saliva, and these are highly prized being used to create Chinese bird's’ nest soup. From here, the speed boat will motor down through a narrow channel flanked by towering limestone cliffs and into Loh Samah. This shallow bay is particularly scenic and the waters shallow and warm. The boat will stop and you’ll be provided with snorkelling equipment to dive in and discover the rich marine life from clown fish to turtles. It’s a fantastic experience is a beautiful setting.

Also read about: Lamai Beach

The next stop will surely be the highlight. Maya Bay was the filming location used on the movie ‘The Beach’. Though computer generated imagery was used to fully close the bay off, it’s still just as impressive. Unsurprisingly, everyone wants to visit Maya Bay, so it does get very busy. Try to organise a whole day tour which arrives in Maya Bay relatively early. When you arrive, the boat will moor up, and you can swim to the white sandy beach where you will have plenty of time to relax and get those all important snaps. Pro tip: if you have some more time, book an overnight evening tour to Maya Bay where you can swim with bio-luminescent plankton just like Leonardo DiCaprio and Virginie Ledoyen do in the film!

Phi Phi island tour

Also read about: Koh Lanta hotels

Back on board, you’ll continue around the island to Long Beach. The huge swatch of white sandy beach is a great place for some rest and relaxation, but it’s the considerable amount of coral reef which teems with colourful clown fish and angelfish which is the highlight. You’ll have some time to snorkel and swim before arriving at Shark Point. As the name suggests, Shark Point is famous for the number of harmless black tipped reef sharks which inhabit the waters. Though the sharks, which can be identified by the black tip on their dorsal fin, take no notice of snorkelers, there is something awe inspiring about close up encounters with these apex predators.

Also read about: Diving in the Similans

By this time, you’ll have built up a bit of an appetite. Back on board, you can dry off and have a delicious Thai or western lunch while overlooking the island. If you finish early, you can always get back in the waters for some more snorkelling or swimming. When everyone’s finished, the boat will continue on for the afternoon’s activities. The first stop is just off Bamboo Island. The boat will moor off the coast and guests can swim in to the secluded beach. Here you can spend some time sun bathing, swimming, snorkelling or have time to read your book in the shade. Snorkelling is particularly good here, and there is a huge area to explore.

Also read about: Things to do in Chiang Mai

In the late afternoon when the sting of the midday heat is over, you’ll board the speedboat again and head off to Mosquito Island. It’s not called that for nothing, and the ‘s here can be fierce, so be sure to bring bug spray and try to cover your ankles and wrists. The upsides outweigh the downsides however, and there are some incredible snorkelling opportunities around the soft coral reefs and colourful exotic marine life including clown fish, parrotfish, turtles, and the odd shark. As always, you’ll have plenty of time at the site to discover the underwater world. You’ll lastly visit Monkey Beach, famed for the number of primates which frolic on the beach. Families of monkeys noisily jump and play on the sand and look out for freebies from tourists. Please refrain from feeding them however as it only encourages more begging by the primates.

Also read about: Phi Phi Island Tour

As you cruise back to Ton Sai Pier, you can enjoy the beautiful melting orange sun set as it creeps below the horizon. Arrive back on the island and transfer by minivan back to your accommodation with memories that will last a lifetime. An amazing way to see the natural wonders of Koh Phi Phi, one of Thailand’s finest islands.

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