Phi Phi Islands: Paradise, Crowds & the Maya

The Phi Phi islands are a victim of over-tourism, circumstances, and mindless capitalization. There is an underlying sense that the incomparable beauty of these islands, too, held a major share of responsibility for their own downfall. There are however glimpses of their colossal beauty and unwavering determination of the islands to awe every traveler. These colossal beauties are entirely undeserving of such punishment. It’s a true story of fallen from grace!

But wait, there’s more to it than crass-commercialization and spoilt reefs. The Phoenix is rising and some conservationists are giving these islands a new lease of life. So here we go.. there’s still hope left for these beauties!

You cannot but help and admire in awe at the rocky outcrops that tower over you from the sea. The vegetations on the rocks make it even more gorgeous. The crystal waters and corals are just the cherry topping it needs.

Technically, Phi Phi comprises of two large islands: Ko Phi Phi Don, where Long Beach, or Hat Yao in Thai, is located, and Ko Phi Phi Leh, which is smaller and only accessible by tour or chartered fishing boat. Others are Koh Bida Nok, Koh Bida Nai, Koh Phai (Bamboo Island), and Koh Young (Mosquito Island). You reach Phi Phi via a 50min boat ride from Phuket.

A couple days’ stay here will feel very very inadequate. Trust me on that!

Must see spots on Phi Phi Islands

1. Phi Phi Don: The starting point of all tours and visits, this place can get crowded and sometimes dirty on the beaches. But who would complain when you get views like these over your lunch? There are cozy restaurants that serve great fish (obviously). You could laze around here all day.


2. Phi Phi Leh & the Maya: This is the second largest island in the archipelago. This is where Leonardo Di Caprio found paradise in ‘The Beach’. the fame sky-rocketed the popularity of this island and Maya bay. It is blessed with crystal waters and white powdery sand. Walk over to the northeastern side of Koh Phi Phi Leh to the Viking Cave; featuring ‘ancient’ paintings. These figures depict Viking ships called Drakkars. Nowadays tourists go here to catch bird’s nests.


3. Phi-Phi Viewpoint: Now time to capture the perfect beach photograph. Head up to the Phi Phi Viewpoint to soak in the sight of the stretches of jungles and endless ocean spreading out below you. Make sure you get the panoramic views on your cam. You will treasure them. 1 (2)

4. Snorkelling and Diving: This one’s a no brainer. Of course, the corals and marine life are great for diving and snorkeling. Just stay away from the touristy spots. All you will see here are eroded gray corals few butterfly fish and Sergents. Hire a boat and go further in.

5. Sailing: Boats of all types & sizes ferry travelers from Phuket every day. A leisurely trip aboard a yacht is not the worst way to spend a day. Especially at the sunset. 1 (3)


Tips for Phi Phi Islands

  1. Koh Phi Phi doesn’t have roads. So be prepared to walk a bit.
  2. Due to over-tourism, it is a bit more expensive than the rest of Thailand
  3. There is the famous Monkey beach. true to its name the monkeys will greet you by snatching any visible food. make sure to take some goodies for them.
  4. It’s never safe to leave your bags anywhere in the open. Be careful!
  5. The parties in Phi Phi Don can addictive. But get off the beaten path to the rarer stretches.
  6. The directions to various beaches are not sih=gnposted. Carry a proper map. Or else you will end up paying for a guide who will spend a whole 15minutes for the expensive Baht. Not worth it.
  7. On your way through the trees or vegetation, do not touch worms that look like millipedes. They are supposed to be dangerous.
  8. Ferries depart from Phuket and Krabi and it’s roughly a pretty doable two-hour trip. The frequency of ferries and times depends on the season and weather. Check the timings at the port office. Sometimes the waters can get choppy. Keep nausea meds with you.
  9. When you get there, you need to pay a 20 baht tax fee for island maintenance.
  10. Whatever your ‘Guide’ tells you, the Viking caves are not open for visitors. So dont even try.
  11. What I Read: 51CFuqE30KL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_This seminal book is one of the reasons why Phi Phi skyrocketed to travelers’ fame. It’s a good read. Better than the movie. (Amazon)





12. What I Saw: MV5BNTljZTUzYWUtOTI4YS00NmZlLWE5MmQtZjFlZDZhNjg4MjQxXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTc1NTQxODI@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL__QL50The movie has some nice shots of the island. Definitely, a must see before your trip. (IMDB)









30 thoughts on “Phi Phi Islands: Paradise, Crowds & the Maya

  1. Yes, we can definitely blame Alex Garland, author of The Beach, for Phi Phi’s over-saturation in the tourist market, which is ironic as that’s what the book is about. I loved Phi Phi and was glad to see that you think it’s making a comeback.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Super cool resource. I’ve been wanting to head to Thailand for a while and am finally visiting in December this year. The crowds are a bit of deterrent, but I’m sure there are nice spots still to be discovered! Thanks for such a great piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We visited Phi Phi a long time ago, prior Tsunami and it was already starting to be touristy then but it was such a beautiful place none the less. Would love to go back. I also remember at the time it being the most expensive place we stayed in Thailand so I guess this hasn’t changed.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s real sad that the tourism is actually having a negative affect on the area, but does the area even exist without it?!? I live in a tourist town and after the cyclone earlier this year, there was thought that my little town wouldn’t actually survive without that tourist trade so I have mixed thoughts about it. I would still be super keen to check out Phi Phi Islands, it’s absolutely stunning!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The beaches here are really quite beautiful. It’s such a shame that some of them are overrun with tourists and the trash they leave behind. I hope the money being made is put back into improving conditions and maintaing and preserving the beaches and attractions!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. We actually really liked Phi Phi (of course, we never dared go to “The Beach”). The catered to a class of traveler above the dirt bagging backpackers. I wonder if some of the “over developed” rhetoric is a disguised “out of my price range”. This isn’t a secluded island by any stretch of the imagination but it seems to have made it’s peace with the backpacking hordes. I wouldn’t shy away from recommending Phi Phi to anybody.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve heard so many things about this place!! My friend traveled there recently as well. I LOVE the movie The Beach, but heard that right after film, the area dealt with a lot of left-over rubbish and beach clean-up issues, and is now much a tourist hot-spot :-/

    Liked by 1 person

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