Koh Phi Phi actually comprises of six islands, with Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh being the two main ones. The one that you’ll be staying on and we’ll be referring to, is the popular island of Phi Phi Don, while Phi Phi Leh still remains uninhabited.
If you can put up with other tourists, then Koh Phi Phi, situated on the west coast of Thailand, offers more than just beaches. You can adventure to new heights whilst rock climbing or island hop until your heart’s content.
With plenty to do in Koh Phi Phi, here are our top 7 things to do whilst you’re there:
New to Koh Phi Phi? We’ve written this compact Koh Phi Phi guide to show you the best areas to stay, restaurants you don’t want to miss and many more tips for your visit to Koh Phi Phi!
#1 Hop between the Phi Phi islands on a boat tour
Sure, Koh Phi Phi Don might provide you with everything you wished for, but the other five islands still deserve some of your attention.
The best way to do this is to board a longtail boat and spend the day visiting an array of sites and islands dotted in the surrounding ocean. You can choose to join other travellers on a longtail boat tour or hire your own private boat to explore at your leisure.
You can book the full day boat tour online in advance of your trip to Koh Phi Phi. The tour also includes a delicious lunch and costs just 650 baht ($21) per person.
The highlights of this boat trip are:
Maya Bay is the crown-jewel of the Koh Phi Phi islands due to its starring debut in “The Beach”. Unlike in the movie, the 100m high cliffs aren’t able to hide this paradise from the outside world, so you’ll likely have to enjoy Maya Bay with hundreds of other tourists.
Update: Note that the Thai government decided in 2019 to close Maya Bay for 2 years, until mid-2021. This was due to the bay receiving too many visitors that were destroying the natural habitat.
Still located on Koh Phi Phi Don, you’ll find Monkey beach. The lush vegetation that cuddles the cove is home to a group of monkeys that will definitely want to say hello.
This won’t be out of politeness but more that they want to steal any food you have on you! Keep your wits about you as the monkeys can sometimes get quite boisterous.
Don’t just admire the wildlife on the shore, the crystal clear waters are blossoming with sea life and coral waiting to be admired.
The Thai’s were very clever when naming these islands, as Bamboo Island got its name from, well you guessed it, having lots of bamboo plants.
Also a great day trip from Koh Phi Phi Don by itself, there’s a small bar on the island to keep you hydrated whilst you laze on the sand that runs nearly the whole perimeter of the island.
Moreover, there’s enough spectacular coral reefs to keep you enthralled for the whole day, one that spreads up to 500m from the shore.
As Bamboo Island is part of the National Park, there is a 400 baht entrance fee upon arrival, so make sure you have some cash on you.
Not far from Bamboo Island is Mosquito Island. Yes, as the name suggests it’s got mosquitos galore. Doesn’t that sound appealing?
It’s the snorkelling opportunities that brings people here. Under the sea, once you start exploring the breath-taking coral and swimming alongside colourful fish, you forget all about those buzzing little creatures!
Over the years as Koh Phi Phi has shot to fame, some travellers have come to believe the beaches are now too popular and busy.
Sure, this can be the case for some, but like most Thai islands, they just keep on surprising you with new hidden gems. Koh Phi Phi still continues to do this!
Nui Beach (west)
Nui beach is the hidden gem you don’t want to tell anyone about, but you just can’t resist sharing.
The secret continues with the underwater world that has made Nui bay its home. Slowly, whispers are spreading news of Nui being a snorkelling and diving haven, with Camel rock being the star of the show.
To reach this gem from Koh Phi Phi, you can hop on a longtail boat from Loh Dalam, a few minutes away for around 500 baht, or hire a kayak which will take you around 30 minutes to reach the bay.
Long Beach isn’t only a great area to stay in on Koh Phi Phi, it also offers a stunning stretch of powder white sand that slopes into the perfect aqua blue ocean.
Just 200 metres off the coast, blissfully going about their day, you’ll be able to spot black tipped reef sharks. The place where they tend to circulate around is Shark Tail point, a very cleverly named rock. There’s no need to worry, the sharks tend to swim around on the sandy floor as if you’re not even there.
At Loh Moo Dee Bay, it’s impossible to feel moody when you’re surrounded by…no one. A bit further away from the action means that in the morning you’ll often be one of the only people on the beach.
To add to this secluded paradise, there is only one Rasta-style restaurant, leaving the beach undeveloped and untainted by tourists.
To make that run into the refreshing water even more worthwhile, you can opt to hike the 45 minute trail from Tonsai East. However, if walking isn’t your style, it’s only a 15 minute boat journey from Tonsai pier.
Standing at the peak you’ll be rewarded with unparalleled views of the strip of land (Tonsai Village) connecting the two sides of the island. (not to mention the snacks, drinks and ice-creams that also serve as wonderful rewards at the top)!
How to get to Koh Phi Phi viewpoint
There are actually three stages to this viewpoint. You can begin your ascent at the back of Tonsai Village. The path is well marked and paved most of the way.
Upon reaching viewpoint 1, you’ll be greeted by some concrete chickens, a view and an entrance fee of 40 baht.
If you want to venture further, viewpoint 2 is another 15-20 minute climb. You’ve got this far, why stop there?
Being the furthest away, viewpoint 3 tends to be less crowded and thus a more tranquil atmosphere to absorb the views. You will need to pay an additional 20 baht, but the view is more than worth it plus you’ll get a free bottle of water. You can’t get a better seat for the sunset than this!
#5 Scuba dive to new depths at Anemone reef or the King Cruiser wreck
With so many beautiful bays and idyllic islands surrounding Koh Phi Phi, it’s no surprise that snorkelling and diving is one of the top things to do here.
The crystal clear waters provide great visibility for divers to inspect the intricate cracks and crevices within the coral, providing shelter and homes for a whole host of sea life.
If you decide to embark on a boat trip, you’ll be treated to some of the best snorkelling sites around the Phi Phi islands, including Shark Point.
For those more interested in diving there are plenty of dive schools offering highly rated courses to gain your PADI. Or if you’re not sure whether you’re ready to embark on the full course, you can take a day long Discover Scuba Diving course where you’ll still get to experience 2 diving spots.
Best dive sites on Koh Phi Phi
There are some really awesome dive sites within reach of the island.
Two of the favourites are Anemone Reef where you’ll be greeted by clownfish, turtles, leopard sharks and yellow tiger-tail seahorses, to mention a few.
The second favourite is the King Cruiser wreck, 1.5 hours off the coast of Koh Phi Phi. After colliding with the Anemone reef, this cruiser has found its final resting place 32 meters under the water just waiting to be explored.
The towering limestone cliffs provide the perfect climbing playground for both experienced climbers and those wanting to test their upper-body strength.
Note that there used to be several companies offering climbing tours, however these seem to have closed over the years.
The main climbing activities now all seem to have moved to Krabi, but if anyone knows of any companies still operating on the island, please share your experience in the comments!
#7 Enjoy the nightlife on Koh Phi Phi
Koh Phi Phi is up there amongst some of the best Thai islands to party the night away on!
The main street and beaches are lined with bars and small vendors selling 2-for-1 buckets of Thai whiskey at low prices. As you wander these streets you won’t know where to look, with a number of fire shows, fire rope jumping and beer pong balls bouncing everywhere!
While the name Reggae Bar doesn’t exactly go hand-in-hand with the atmosphere, it’s without any doubt a remarkable bar to stop by.
In the middle of the bar, you’ll find a boxing ring, hosting live fights every night. The first few will be put on by professional Muay Thai fighters, but later in the evening, they open the ring up to travellers.
Whether you’ve been waiting for the moment to dare your friend to take on an opponent in the ring, or you’re just there to watch the defeat of some crazy travellers, a bar like this you’ll only find in Thailand.