Is Koh Phi Phi worth visiting?
Koh Phi Phi has become famous as a result of the popular movie ‘The Beach’ (the book is even better), but more rightly because of the way they capture most people’s perception of paradise.
Phi Phi actually comprises 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.
Just like in Leonardo DiCaprio’s movie, you will feel like you’ve ventured into a world you thought only possible in your dreams. The strikingly blue sea seems to wash away all of your worries whilst you laze on the powdery white sand.
However, keep in mind that you won’t be the only one searching for this, meaning Koh Phi Phi has become busy and touristy over the years.
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 hopping until your heart’s content.
Also read: Top 7 Things to Do in Koh Phi Phi
Where to stay on Koh Phi Phi
Koh Phi Phi Don is the only island in the archipelago that offers the majority of accommodations. The other islands remain largely uninhabited, with the option to camp on certain ones.
Location #1: Tonsai Village – the centre of it all
When arriving at Koh Phi Phi Don, you’ll be dropped off at Ton Sai Pier on the south of the island. This is the place to go if you want to witness a beautiful sunrise, while the other side, Loh Dalum beach is perfectly set up for observing the sunset.
Around Ton Sai Pier, you will find more luxury accommodations compared to the other side (Loh Dalum). Starting with fewer accommodations on the west side of the beach, the number of options starts increasing as you walk toward the east side.
Loh Dalum Beach
Only a few minutes walk to the other side of the bay at Loh Dalum beach, you’ll find plenty of bars, restaurants and many more accommodations.
This is also where the majority of hostels are based, meaning it’s the place to party and where your night will inevitably end at Slinky’s.
Both of these bays are located in Tonsai Village, the central hub of Koh Phi Phi. The whole area is lively and thriving, with anyone looking for a party flocking here at night!
Best places for nightlife on Koh Phi Phi
- Kongsiam Live Bar for great live music. You may even be lucky and witness a guest performance from the owner himself!
- Banana Rooftop Bar for great Mexican food whilst watching the glorious sunset.
- Stockholm Syndrome for beer pong, cheap buckets and sometimes even free shots.
Due to its proximity to Ao Ton Sai pier, the village is also a great jumping-off point to catch a boat to other areas of the island.
Location #2: Long Beach – close to the action, but not too close
It seems that every island in Asia has an appropriately named beach called Long Beach, and Koh Phi Phi is no different.
Long Beach is only a short walk away from the eastern end of Ton Sai Bay (the port where you will arrive), but the rocky cape that separates the two also creates a completely different vibe.
This means you can enjoy the tranquility and stillness that the white sands diffuse, while only being a 5-minute boat ride away from the hive of the island. Fewer day-trippers tend to come to this area of the island too, so your days can remain uninterrupted by the hordes trying to get that perfect pic!
Location #3: Laem Thong – an escape for some peace and quiet
Also known as Golden Bay, for good reason, Laem Thong is on the far Northern tip of the island, providing you with stunning sunrises. Isolated from the hustle and bustle of the rest of Koh Phi Phi.
This champagne beach area is the perfect place to break away from other tourists and life. The few accommodation options you’ll find on this part of the island are all on the east side of the tip and are mostly the more exclusive resorts.
Only accessible by boat, it really does give you the feeling of your own private oasis. If you decide you do want to rejoin the masses, it’s a 40-minute boat ride away to Loh Dalum and Ton Sai Beach.
However, the isolated location doesn’t mean you will get bored whilst staying here. There are plenty of activities in Laem Thong dedicated to the sea. Sunbathing, snorkelling, scuba diving and kayaking to name a few. You can also take your adventures further afield to Bamboo Island five kilometers away along the coastal path (read more about this in our Top 7 Things to Do in Koh Phi Phi guide).
Location #4: Loh Ba Kao Bay – tranquility at a lower price
For cheaper accommodation options than Laem Thong, whilst still maintaining a similar sense of seclusion, Loh Ba Kao bay could be your best option.
Right on the beach, you’ll find two exclusive resorts that most of us can only dream of, boasting infinity pools and luxury loungers.
Behind these, there is a selection of cheaper accommodations in the form of homely bungalows ranging from $25-$40 per night.
Follow the small winding river at the northern end of Loh Ba Kao and you’ll stumble upon a mangrove forest and a small village with a good selection of amenities. Repping the typical bamboo construction you imagine on a tropical island are Oasis Bar & Restaurant and Red Tuna Restaurant, which are both definitely worth a try!
When you’ve had your fill of relaxation (if that’s even possible), Ton Sai pier is only a 30-minute boat ride away, costing around 1,000 baht for a single journey or 1,500 baht return if you strike a deal.
How to get around Koh Phi Phi
Due to Koh Phi Phi Don being such a small island and having a mountainous landscape, there are no motorised vehicles on the island.
The only thing considered close to transportation is the trailers that can carry your luggage from the pier to the place you’re staying. Most accommodations will arrange for someone to pick you up upon arrival at the pier. Just don’t forget to leave a little tip for your porter because it’s hard work doing this in the sweltering heat.
When staying at Koh Phi Phi, you are left with only two options: walking and boats.
Depending on where you stay on the island, most places are accessible by foot. This is especially true if you stay in the downtown or village area where cafes, restaurants, bars and pretty much everything you need are within walking distance.
Outside of the main Tonsai Bay village area, you will most likely need to jump on a long-tail boat to get elsewhere. The long-tail boats will be needed to take you to the north and west of the islands to visit places like Loh Ba Kao Bay, Nui Beach and Monkey Beach. These short trips are likely to cost between 150-200 baht.
If you’re looking to take on the challenge, there are several paths winding through the hills of Koh Phi Phi, leading you to breathtaking viewpoints and beaches.
Although we don’t recommend these tracks when making your way to your accommodation. It’s probably just better to save your energy and use one of the boats.
To travel from Koh Phi Phi Don to one of the other Islands like Koh Phi Phi Lee (the island of the famous Maya beach), you can book a boat tour or take a long-tail boat from the main pier.
Best beaches on Koh Phi Phi
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!
Read our guide about the top things to do in Koh Phi Phi to find out where the 3 best beaches to visit on Koh Phi Phi Island are.
How to get to Koh Phi Phi
Phi Phi Sunset Bay Resort - Mid Range
If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of life, then book a room at Phi Phi Sunset Bay. Situated away from the main town, surrounded by forest, this hotel truly allows you to relax.
And when you want to go back to the action, it’s only a short walk away. Plus they offer a longboat service to and from Ton Sai Pier, so no need to worry about your baggage. The staff here will do anything they can to make your stay unforgettable!
- Surrounded by nature
- Private balcony
- On-site Thai restaurant
- Free longboat service
Private bungalows start from $35 per night.
P2 Wood Loft - Treating Yourself
Staying at P2 Wood Loft, you get all of the perks of staying on a paradise island, without having to compromise on comfort. After relaxing at the beach all day, you’ll only have to walk 200 metres to get back to your air-conditioned and luxurious room.
The hotel boasts a super modern design, with everything feeling brand new. The beds are exceptionally comfortable and huge! P2 Wood Loft is a luxury hotel, without the price tag.
- 200 metres from the beach
- Modern and clean rooms
- Air conditioning
- Friendly staff
Private rooms start from $64 per night.
Phi Phi Villa Resort - Treating Yourself
Phi Phi Villa Resort is one of the most popular places to stay on Koh Phi Phi. People can’t resist the large outdoor swimming pool, prime beach location and onsite gym. The place is the epitome of luxury.
The bungalows and villas are spacious, comfortable and come with a private terrace. The location is great, close to a lot of restaurants and only a 15-minute walk from the pier.
- Refreshing swimming pool
- Right on the beach
- Amazing staff
- Delicious free breakfast
Bungalows start at $87 per night.
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Kate is a writer, (ex)Management Consultant and avid traveller. She recently returned from a 2-year career break exploring the world and decided corporate life wasn’t for her. She’ll soon be testing life as a digital nomad. She’s visited over 40 countries and fell in love with Latin America in particular. Her travelling has inspired a passion for yoga, salsa, hiking and Spanish.
Based in Bali, Maarten’s passion for travel is undeniable. In 2016, he decided to quit his job as a stock analyst and started doing what he always dreamed of: travelling through South East Asia and helping other people plan their trips. When he is not working on Gecko Routes, you’ll find him surfing in the ocean or exploring the best gems of Indonesia.