The Phi Phi Islands consist of six islands. The largest, Phi Phi Don, is shaped like a butterfly, its spanning wings covered by limestone mountains and narrow body featuring two opposing sandy beaches. Phi Phi Don is the only inhabited island. Koh Phi Phi Lay is the smaller, uninhabited island that is now a national park.
You have two options: ferries or speedboats. The ferry is the most popular method of reaching the island and takes about two hours from Phuket and 90 minutes from Krabi or Koh Lanta.
Tickets can be purchased on almost every corner or from your hotel/ hostel The tickets are 250 baht for a one-way ticket or 400 baht for a round-trip ticket ($13).
The ferries can be nauseating if the seas are remotely rough. Pack snacks or beverages you want for the trip in case you land on the ferry that doesn’t have a bar.
Upon arrival, everyone is required to pay a 20 baht tax fee to help keep the island beautiful.
There are zero roads on the island, meaning upon arrival – you will have to roll or carry your luggage to your accommodations. Unless you are backpacking, just keep trekking. If you don’t feel up for being your own sherpa men with wheelbarrows are sometimes waiting to carry your luggage for a small fee.
The island is completely walkable, so take some time to become familiar with it, you will thank me later – after a few cocktails. As Koh Phi Phi is a mecca of a party. With drinking games beginning at 2 pm and lasting through the next day. The island is a haven for the young and young at heart. Those travelers who are looking for late night swims (me), fire dancing (almost caught my hair on fire), rowdy crowds ( I am sure I was the rowdy one).
The Reggae Bar – a mini fight club where you can choose to put on the boxing gloves and go for it.
Slinky Bar – is a nightclub on the beach with fire dancers.
Ibiza Bar – another spot to dance and watch fire dancers.
Sports Bar – cleverly named for those who want to keep up with the games. “Who’s winning the match Pop,” cough -cough.
Sunflower Bar – good music, food, and free wifi.
Banana Rooftop Bar – A bamboo hut type bar that is located on top of a Mexican restaurant The vibe is super laid back with live music.
Hotel Pool Party – If your hotel has a pool, be sure that it will also come with a party.
There are many things to do while you are not sipping island cocktails.
Take a longtail boat around the island for a do it yourself excursion.
Snorkeling and Exploring Tour
Take a day trip snorkel tour boat tour around the 6 islands. Feed the monkey’s watermelon (they love it) at Monkey Beach. Swim in the blue sea beauty Koh Kai Noi and Loh Samah Bay, and check out the cove and Viking Cave. Head to Koh Phi Phi Ley to see Maya Bay. This is where The Beach was actually filmed. Maya Bay is stunning, although thanks to the also stunning Leonardo DiCaprio, it has become a mass transit for tourists.
The Phi Phi Scuba Dive Center takes PADI divers and will guide you underwater around the 6 islands.
Do the short hike up to the Phi Phi Viewpoint and admire the island from up above.
Rent a kayak along the beach and explore the limestone cliffs that are jutting out from the ocean. The seas are easy to paddle through and translucently blue.
Take a cooking class at Pum Thai’s Cooking School The cooking class is an all day affair with 4 plus courses
Shop. Yes, you will want to buy stuff.
I am not immune to the effect the movie The Beach had on me in my formidable years. That transient lifestyle and solo travel appealed to me at a young age. It looked courageous, something I didn’t feel at the time. Arriving at Maya beach, the shark scene started replaying in my head, and the thought that I needed to find my version of ‘the beach’ – where ever in the world that may be.
While pondering this at the Sunflower Bar I heard my name shouted out. It was this Irish boy I played water basketball with in Vang Vieng Laos a few weeks ago. What an exciting feeling it was to run into a new friend on a small island in Thailand. Later in the week, I met a few girls from South Africa at my hotel who were delightful to hang out with. We decided to go skinny dipping in front of our hotel and harass those who dared to walk near us on the beach to bring us beers. Quite the bonding moment.