I’m pretty sure a day trip to Phi Phi Islands is on everyone’s hit list when they travel to Phuket or Krabi – it certainly was on ours! We travelled to Phi Phi on a day tour from Yao Yai Island (more on that hidden treasure later). What was meant to be a small intimate group tour ended up being a private tour as we were the only ones who booked that day so we had the boat all to ourselves to explore the island region for a day. If you are visiting Phi Phi for the first time, it’s easiest to go on a group day tour. There are heaps of places to book these – walk down any touristy area or near the beach and you will see countless numbers of tour agency booths advertising these tours. You can also book these through your hotel. This generally costs more but as we were on a pretty secluded island at the time, the convenience was worth it. Most day tours to Phi Phi cover the same major spots, though you will find that some tours focus on specific activities like snorkelling and others might focus on more sightseeing.
For those who don’t know, Phi Phi consists of a group of islands in the area, with the two main ones being Phi Phi Leh, where Maya Bay & Pileh Bay are and Phi Phi Don, the larger island with the shops and buildings.
We travelled to Phi Phi on a long tail boat. It was a pretty rocky ride that day but we were super excited to be there. Here’s a peek into some of the common stopovers and places to visited in the area.
Sightseeing wise, Maya Bay is the spot for it. It’s the view you always think of when you think Phi Phi islands. You know, that beach sitting between the cliffs that looks so serene, like a slice of paradise. Those images may come to mind as you google away Maya Bay but the reality is that ever since The Beach was filmed here, Maya Bay has become a major tourist attraction so it’s actually extremely busy there, especially during high season! When we arrived at Maya Bay, there were already hundreds of tourists on the beach. No more than half an hour after anchoring our boat, the amount of boats parked at the beach more than doubled and suddenly, there was more people than beach and it started to seem like one massive beach party was happening! So if you ever think of coming here to see the same uninhabited, deserted view you see in the images online, it’s likely you’ll need to come during low season or charter your own boat early in the morning. That said, the view and area here is beautiful. The water is so clear, the surrounding cliffs make you feel like you’re in a hidden spot and it does feel like paradise, kind of. Apparently, snorkelling at Maya Bay is really good too though we didn’t go at the time as there were just so many boats parked.
I always make a habit to keep my eyes peeled and looking out and around wherever I am as often, the road to the destination is full of surprises and just as exciting as the destination. The entire Phi Phi Islands area is filled with these gorgeous cliff formations and even if they didn’t have names or were deemed hotspots, I was excited to see them nonetheless. These were just some of the many views we encountered whilst travelling around the islands.
Wearing: Her the Label Astrid black bikini
Our next stopover was Pileh Bay, a lagoon popular for swimming as the water depth is quite shallow here. It was much more quieter here than Maya Bay, with only smaller speedboats and wooden boats docked here. Our boat driver said something about big boats finding it hard to dock in the shallow water here, hence the emptiness of this place. It was just as beautiful here as Maya Bay and we spent a good hours cooling ourselves off in the crystal clear waters before heading back on board to enjoy some Thai fried rice for lunch.
Viking Cave was under construction when we visited so we just drove past. It’s another one of those popular stopovers when doing a day tour but fear not, there are plenty of other caves you can visit when in Thailand!
Phi Phi Don
After lunch, we headed to Phi Phi Don. Phi Phi Don is the main island in the area. Unlike Phi Phi Leh which is uninhabited, Phi Phi Don has the accommodation, shops and restaurants. Our tour guide dropped us off here to have a look and do some shopping as there was a market along the main street. I didn’t expect to go shopping on this day tour and wasn’t really interested either as we wanted to see all the natural wonders in the area, but it ended up being a good stopover as we found that there were toilets here! If you are looking to do some shopping or pick up some souvenirs, the markets here have some unique Thai goodies that you can pick up whilst you are here.
When our boat docked here and we were told we had arrived at Monkey Beach, we were confused. This place is absolutely tiny and literally every inch of it is in the photo above. Yep, it’s pretty small isn’t it? The beach here is famous because of the fact that there are monkeys here. They’re cute and all, but this would not be a place I’d stop at, unless it was on the way to our next destination. It was pretty empty when we were here, with only a few boats. I’m not sure how many more this place could have taken either though!
Depending on the tides and weather, Phi Phi is generally a really good snorkelling destination. After all our stopovers, we finished our tour with a spot of snorkelling near the islands. I can’t remember exactly where we stopped but the place our boat guide picked had so many fish under the sea. I haven’t gotten a waterproof case for my phone yet so didn’t take any photos, but it was so nice to just spend an hour swimming with the abundance of sea life.
Phi Phi, I hope to be back! Now that we’re more familiar with the area, next time, we might just charter our own boat :)