Famed as among the most beautiful tropical islands of the world, Phi Phi Islands have become one of the most popular tourist attractions of Thailand. It was here that the well-known movie "The Beach" featured by Leonardo DiCaprio was shot. The islands, together with the nearby Noppharat Thara Beach, were recently established as a national park with a total area of 390 sq.km.
As most visitors to Phi Phi Islands come from Phuket some 40 km. away, many of them think that the islands are part of Phuket. In fact, both Noppharat Thara Beach and Phi Phi belong to Krabi province, though the distance from Krabi to Phi Phi is about the same as that between Phuket and Phi Phi.
Also, it is usually misunderstood that the island group of Phi Phi Islands is composed of only 2 islets, Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Le. But actually, the area of Phi Phi Islands covers 6 islets altogether, namely Phi Phi Don, Phi Phi Le, Mai Phai (Bamboo), Yung, Bida Nok and Bida Nai. The islands and the coastal hills are mostly composed of limestone and are an extension of the limestone mountain range in Phang-nga province. Some of the characteristics of such mountains and islands are their steep cliffs, large caves and dwarf trees growing out of the crevices in the rocks, like those in Phang-nga Bay.
Among the islets of Phi Phi Islands, Phi Phi Don, the larger one which lies in the north, is well known for its fine beaches and coral formations around the island and is provided with an assortment of accommodation facilities along the two beautiful curved bays, Ton Sai Bay and Lodalam Bay, in the south and others at the northern end of the island. Several shops at Ton Sai can arrange diving and snorkelling trips around the island or the nearby islands -- Phi Phi Le Island, Yung Island and Mai Phai (Bamboo) Island.
About 2 km. to the south is Phi Phi Le Island. Contrary to Phi Phi Don, this islet is uninhabited, not only because this is banned, but also because there is no beach around it. The island descends abruptly into the sea on all sides. Au Maya and Au Lo Sama among the scenic coves of the island are favourite places for snorkellers. The sea around the island is deep, especially the southern part, which is over 30 metres deep and is full of coral formations and so is a popular diving spot.
Yung Island is situated in the north of Phi Phi Don. The island has a stone beach in the east and small sandy beaches amidst valleys. It is teeming with various kinds of colourful coral reefs. Not far from Yung is Mai Phai (Bamboo) Island. There are marvellous beaches in the north and east of the island. The bank of coral reefs with antler corals, in particular, streches from north to south of the island, making it a paradise for diving. Other two islets located in the South of Phi Phi Le are Bida Nok Island and Bida Nai Island. With its emerald crystal sea, secluded beaches, wooded cliffed mountains, colourful coral reefs and undersea life, Phi Phi is a paradise in the Andaman. The best time to visit Phi Phi Islands is from November to April, when the sea is calm.
How to Get There
Phi Phi Islands can be reached by boat from either Phuket or Krabi at about the same distance.
Tourists can take a boat at Chao Fa Pier or Klong Jilad Pier. There are several trips departing for Phi Phi daily. The trip takes about 1.30 – 2.30 hours, depending on whether it is an express boat or standard boat.
Boat tickets are available at the pier or from travel agents.
Boat services from Ao Nang to Ko Phi Phi are also available during high season, from November to May.
Boat services to Phi Phi are available at Rasada Pier. Many tour companies in Phuket organize one-day trips to Phi Phi Islands. Tickets can be obtained either from tour agents or hotels.