Wondering how to visit Phi Phi Islands in Thailand? This Phi Phi travel guide will help you plan your time in Phi Phi and prepare you for your trip.
Phi Phi Islands is a tropical paradise located in the Andaman Sea on the coast of Thailand. This place attracts travelers with its stunning natural beauty and the islands are known for crystal-clear waters, white sandy beaches, and lush greenery.
Phi Phi Islands contains 2 big islands – Koh Phi Phi Don and Koh Phi Phi Le, and 4 smaller islands nearby – Koh Yung, Koh Mai Phai, Koh Pida Nok, and Koh Pida Nai. Phi Phi Don is the larger and inhabited island and a great base when exploring Phi Phi Islands.
If this is your first time visiting Phi Phi Islands, I am sure that you have a lot of questions, but I am here to make your life easier and share everything you need to know before visiting Phi Phi Islands.
This Phi Phi travel guide will cover how to visit Phi Phi Islands – everything from how to reach, where to stay, what to do, and more. Keep on reading!
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Things to know before visiting Phi Phi Islands
Where are Phi Phi Islands?
Phi Phi Islands lie in the heart of the Andaman Sea and are administratively part of Krabi Province. The islands are located 45 kilometers to the southeast of Phuket and 40 kilometers to the southwest of Krabi.
This strategic location makes them accessible by boat from either of these popular tourist destinations. You can even visit Phi Phi Islands from Krabi or Phuket on a day trip in case you have a limited amount of time.
Why are Phi Phi Islands so famous?
The Phi Phi Islands’ fame is grounded in the unspoiled charm of their landscapes, creating a postcard-perfect backdrop that leaves a lasting impression on those who visit.
Just imagine a white sand beach with turquoise blue waters and limestone cliffs. When you think about Thailand, this is the photo that comes to your mind, isn’t that right?
Overall, Phi Phi Islands is one of the best destinations in Thailand if you are a beach lover looking for a remote experience on the island. Have you even been to Thailand if you haven’t seen the beauty of the Phi Phi Islands?
Are Phi Phi Islands worth visiting?
Phi Phi Islands are a must-visit destination for anyone seeking a tropical paradise.
Phi Phi Don, which is the larger and inhabited island, offers a perfect blend of lively atmosphere and laid-back charm. You can explore quaint villages, savor local cuisine, and bask in the sun on the pristine beaches. Or make the most of the island’s nightlife.
Phi Phi Leh, the uninhabited sibling, is famous for its dramatic limestone cliffs and picturesque lagoons. Same thing with other smaller islands that you can admire from the water and soak in beautiful natural landscapes around you.
Do you have to pay to visit Phi Phi Islands in 2024?
Yes, you have to pay to visit Phi Phi Islands in 2024 and there are two types of fees.
When you arrive on the main island Phi Phi Don, you will need to pay 20 THB right after you get off the boat. This is a one-time fee and it needs to be paid in cash. No matter if you stay for one day or a week, the fee is the same.
Maya Bay and Bamboo Island are part of National Park and the entrance to the National Park is 400 THB for adults and 200 THB for children. Every time you enter the National Park, you will need to pay this amount in cash.
So if you want to visit Maya Bay and Bamboo Island, you will need to pay 800 THB.
When is the best time to visit Phi Phi Islands?
The ideal time to visit Phi Phi Islands is during the dry season, which typically spans from November to April. This period offers pleasant weather characterized by mild temperatures and minimal rainfall. The sea is calm and provides excellent conditions for snorkeling and diving.
However, it is also the peak tourist season, and Phi Phi Islands may be more crowded. So visiting during the shoulder seasons of November-December or March-April might be a good compromise, as the weather is still favorable, and the number of tourists tends to be lower.
Avoiding the monsoon season, which occurs from May to October, is advisable. During this time, the islands experience heavy rainfall and rough seas, leading to potential disruptions in travel plans and limiting outdoor activities.
To maximize your experience and enjoy the beauty of Phi Phi Islands to the fullest, plan your visit during the dry season for a more enjoyable and comfortable stay.
How to reach Phi Phi Islands?
To reach Phi Phi Islands, you can take a boat from either Phuket or Krabi, as these are the main departure points for easy access to Phi Phi Islands.
Keep in mind that you should arrive before your departure to find the right boat and embark. Unfortunately, most of the time these boats are in late, so make sure you plan some additional time in case you want to book a tour or some other experience.
How to reach Phi Phi Islands from Phuket?
Most travelers opt for a ferry from Phuket to Phi Phi Islands. The ferry ride takes around 2 hours, and several companies operate daily services. You can buy your ticket here.
Speedboats are also available for a quicker journey, taking approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour. Click here to get your tickets.
How to reach Phi Phi Islands from Krabi?
Similar to Phuket, Krabi offers ferry services to Phi Phi Islands. The ferry ride from Krabi takes about 2 hours. Get your ticket here.
Speedboats are another option from Krabi, providing a faster journey compared to ferries. Click here to book your speedboat from Krabi to Phi Phi Islands.
How long to stay in Phi Phi Islands?
The ideal duration to stay in Phi Phi Islands largely depends on your preferences and the type of experience you seek. However, a typical visit often ranges from 2 to 4 days, allowing you to enjoy the natural beauty and various activities the islands have to offer.
Most of the tourists choose a day trip from Krabi or Phuket. And yes, it is possible, especially if you have limited time in Thailand.
Where to stay in Phi Phi islands?
- Luxury hotel: SAii Phi Phi Island Village
- Mid-range hotel: Phi Phi Villa Resort-SHA Extra Plus
- Affordable hotel: Viking Nature Resort
Best things to do in in Phi Phi Islands
Head to Maya Bay
Maya Bay gained fame primarily due to its stunning natural beauty and its role as a filming location for the movie “The Beach,” released in 2000. The film, based on a novel by Alex Garland, features Leonardo DiCaprio and shows off the beautiful scenery of Maya Bay.
The beach’s reputation has grown organically through word of mouth and media exposure, making it one of the most beautiful places in Thailand. And for all the right reasons – you will love this secluded bay hidden between limestone cliffs and turquoise blue water.
Since the recent closure, there have been a lot of adjustments and currently, most of the activities are forbidden at the Maya Bay, including swimming. Yes, you read that right.
You can visit Natural Park and appreciate the beauty of Maya Bay. Take some photos of the postcard views. Or lay down on the beach to get some tan, but that’s about it.
However, after spending 3 months in Thailand, I can say that this is one of the most beautiful places in Thailand. This means that Maya Bay should be on your bucket list and it is one of the best things to do in Phi Phi Islands.
Wondering how to visit Maya Bay? Don’t miss this Maya Bay travel guide that will help you plan your trip and make the most of it.
Hang out with monkeys at the Monkey Beach
Visiting Monkey Beach is one of the best things to do in Phi Phi Islands. Situated on Phi Phi Don, the larger of the two main islands, this beach offers an opportunity to interact with monkeys in their natural habitat.
You can get to Monkey Beach in a few ways. The easiest is hiring a long-tail boat. If you’re up for it, you can also rent a sea kayak and paddle there from the town. When you visit Phi Phi with a tour company, they usually just pass by and don’t let you get off on Monkey Beach.
Remember that while the monkeys are accustomed to human presence, it’s essential to respect their space and avoid feeding them. But make sure you bring some extra water and snacks because there are no shops or restaurants.
Beyond the monkeys, this is also a great snorkeling spot, so bring your gear and enjoy the swim in the turquoise blue waters.
Extra tip! We made an early sunrise tour to Maya Bay and on the way back we stopped at Monkey Beach, however, they were still sleeping. So plan to visit Monkey Beach later in the afternoon.
Take a boat trip to Bamboo Island
Bamboo Island, near Phi Phi Island, is a beautiful tropical escape. It has gorgeous beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush greenery all over. Despite the name, you won’t find any bamboo on the island, but you certainly will love the white sand beach in a secluded setting.
You can enjoy excellent snorkeling at Bamboo Island. There’s a remarkable coral reef called Hin Klang between Phi Phi Don and Bamboo Island. While near the beach, the island is nearly enclosed by a reef that extends up to 500 meters from the shore.
You can hire a long-tail boat to get to Bamboo Island and the journey will take around 40 minutes. And just like Maya Bay, it is part of the National Park which means that you will have to pay the entrance fee of 400 THB.
Bring your swimsuit, and snorkeling gear and plan a couple of relaxing hours on the beach. I am sure you will love it as it is one the best things to do in Phi Phi Islands.
Make a quick stop at the Viking Cave
Viking Cave is another great location that you can see on your way to Maya Bay. Phi Phi Leh hosts the “Viking Cave,” where the white-nest swiftlet, a native bird, makes its home. These birds craft their nests using their saliva, which is then collected for human consumption.
The name Viking Cave comes from the drawings on its walls, depicting different boat types, including a likeness of a Scandinavian Drakkar (Viking ship). Sailors created these paintings while seeking refuge in the cave during storms.
You can admire Viking Cave from the boat or kayak, but you can’t actually get off and see it up close. Despite that, it is still a very unique attraction in Phi Phi Islands.
Take a swim at the Pi Leh Lagoon
Dive into the refreshing waters of Pi Leh Lagoon for a swim worth your while. The lagoon is surrounded by towering limestone cliffs that create a natural basin of clear, turquoise waters. It is one of the most beautiful places in Phi Phi Islands and the best place to swim in the area.
You can only reach Pileh Lagoon by boat, navigating through a narrow entrance from the passage. Two towering limestone cliffs formulate a natural entrance inside the paradise. I still can’t explain the beauty that my eyes saw when visiting Pi Leh Lagoon.
Hike up to the iconic Phi Phi viewpoints
To be precise, there are 3 iconic viewpoints in Phi Phi that you don’t want to miss. You will need some extra energy to hike up, but the view waiting for you at the top will be worth it.
To get to Phi Phi Viewpoint 1, you will need to 343 steep stairs, which you can easily locate on Google Maps. As an alternative, there are dirt bikes that will offer to take you up, but I didn’t see any and I heard the price can be quite high.
Once you finish the stairs, you will need to pay a 30 THB entrance fee in cash. On the top you will find some people selling drinks, however, you are not allowed to bring any alcoholic drinks. And if you think the views are nice, wait until you get to the next stop.
You will easily find a path that leads to Viewpoint 2 and this is the view that will take your breath away. No need to pay the additional entrance fee, but be prepared to put in even more effort, because climbing at this point is no joke – especially in the Thai heat.
But if you are looking for a relaxing experience, head to Viewpoint 3. Right behind the View Point Cafe, you will find the path that leads you to one of the most beautiful places in Phi Phi Islands. At this point, it is just another 15 minutes, so please don’t miss out. Even if you are tired.
Also, to reach the best view, you will need to enter a restaurant and entrance will cost you an additional 20 THB. Make sure you bring enough cash for all these payments.
Relax at the Ton Sai Beach
Ton Sai Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Phi Phi Islands and during the day, it gets packed with tourists. But once the day trippers leave (or before they arrive) this is a true paradise.
I still daydream about lying down on the beach bed and enjoying fresh coconut ice cream while soaking in all the beautiful views around me. We spent a couple of afternoons like that and it was exactly the kind of relaxing that I was expecting.
Also, make sure you arrive at the Phi Phi Cliff Beach Resort as the end of the beach is probably the most beautiful part. On your way, you will see plenty of restaurants, but most of those are badly rated. I can recommend Gong Khaow.
Enjoy some of the local restaurants in the town
Talking about restaurants, you will find a lot of restaurants in the town. And while some of them are great, make sure you check reviews before and bring some extra cash as most of the places don’t accept cards.
If you are looking for something affordable and local, you can’t miss Basil Bistro Bar & Restaurant and Garlic 1992 Restaurant. ACQUA Restaurant Phi Phi is a great mid-range restaurant in Phi Phi, however, there is nothing for those seeking fine dining options.
P.P. Wang Ta Fu is probably the closest restaurant to fine dining, however, it is a Japanese restaurant. And in case you want to take a break from local food, head to THE COFFEE CLUB – Koh Phi Phi.
Have a crazy night out in Phi Phi
Phi Phi Islands doesn’t disappoint when it comes to nightlife either. If that is your vibe, you will find plenty of options in the main town, while other parts of the main island are perfectly fine for those who want to stay in and get some quality sleep.
Slinky Beach Bar is probably the most popular place during a night out in Phi Phi. It has everything from live fire shows to great music. Kongsiam and Carlitos Bar are other popular choices for live music.
Other fun activities in Phi Phi include:
- Scuba diving
More things to know about visiting Phi Phi Islands
How to move between Phi Phi Islands?
If you are planning to do some island hopping, you can use a speedboat, longtail boat, or kayak. Renting a longtail boat is an absolute must when visiting Thailand and this is one of the best places to tick off that bucket list experience.
When you walk around Phi Phi, you will see a lot of boats on the coast and I am pretty sure you will be approached by a few people offering a tour. It requires a few negotiation skills, but this is the best way to book your long-tail boat to see other Phi Phi Islands.
If you want to plan your trip in advance, this is the best private tour from Phi Phi to Maya Bay with consistent 5-star ratings. You can pick between an early tour or an afternoon tour with the last stop at Maya Bay and avoid the crowds.
Looking for a private luxury ponytail boat from Phi Phi to Maya Bay? You will love this tour!
Can you fly a drone at the Phi Phi Islands?
You can fly your drone on Phi Phi Don Island, however, you are not allowed to use it in the National Parks. This includes Maya Bay and Bamboo Island.
What to pack for Phi Phi Islands?
When preparing for your trip to Phi Phi Islands, consider packing the following essentials:
- Pack lightweight, breathable clothing suitable for the tropical climate. T-shirts, shorts, and swimwear are essential.
- Bring sunscreen with a high SPF, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat to shield yourself from the strong sun.
- Comfortable sandals or flip-flops are ideal for the sandy beaches and casual island atmosphere. If you plan on hiking or exploring, consider sturdy sandals or walking shoes.
- Don’t forget your swimsuit for enjoying the beautiful beaches and engaging in water activities.
- A waterproof bag or pouch is handy for protecting your belongings, especially when taking boat trips or engaging in water sports.
- If you have your snorkeling gear, bring it along. While some places offer rentals, having your equipment ensures a better fit and hygiene.
- During the rainy season, a light rain jacket can be useful. Even in the dry season, it can protect boat rides.
- Insect repellent is advisable to protect against mosquitoes, especially during the evenings.
- Carry a basic first aid kit with items like bandaids, pain relievers, and any personal medications you may need.
- Stay hydrated by bringing a reusable water bottle. You can refill it throughout your stay.
- While there are ATMs on the islands, it’s wise to carry some cash for smaller establishments that may not accept cards.
Further reading for Phi Phi travel guide
Heading North next?
- 10 Best Photo Spots in Chiang Rai, Thailand
- Chiang Mai Itinerary: How to Spend 3 Days in Chiang Mai
- 13 Best Photo Spots in Chiang Mai You Don’t Want to Miss
Other useful tips for visiting Thailand
🏠 Need a place to stay? Browse Booking or Agoda
💃 How about fun experiences? GetYourGuide, Viator, and Klook have it all
🚗 Considering renting a car in Thailand? Use Rentalcars
🚂 If you need transfers, bus or train tickets, check 12Go
🔒 Don’t forget about travel insurance from HeyMondo
This is the end of Phi Phi Islands travel guide and we have covered all the best things to do in Phi Phi together with other useful tips that you should know before visiting. I am sure that you are fully ready for your trip by now!
I would love to hear your thoughts, so if you have any feedback or additional tips, leave a comment below. Also, check out my Instagram for regular travel videos and travel inspiration. Or explore other destinations on this travel blog.