Koh Phi Phi, a group of islands off the coast of southern Thailand, is a favorite vacation destination for a good reason. Everything about Koh Phi Phi’s natural landscape is breathtaking.
The Phi Phi Islands have a powdery white beach, crystal clear water, and verdant palm groves that characterize postcards from tropical island paradises. This easily makes it one of the best places to visit in Thailand for first timers.
There is a wide variety of things to do on Koh Phi Phi. One of its top attractions is the unique marine life in the seas of the Phi Phi Islands, including friendly leopard sharks.
I’ve returned to Phi Phi multiple times throughout the years and though it has changed a lot since the first time I backpacked the country, it has kept its allure.
If you’re wondering what to do in Phi Phi island, you’re in the right place. Travelers can do different water sports, snap unforgettable photographs, and explore the deserted islands while enjoying crazy parties and delectable cuisine.
To know more about this wonderful place and why it’s still a favorite among backpackers, here’s my list of top things to do on Koh Phi Phi.
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About Phi Phi Islands
Six individual islands make up the Koh Phi Phi archipelago. Koh Phi Phi Don is the only populated island in the chain. Though it’s the largest of the six islands, this one is still less than 10 square kilometers in size.
Koh Phi Phi Don is the only island where tourists may stay, and it has a wide variety of lodging options, dining options, nightlife venues, and sightseeing opportunities.
Great snorkeling spots, beautiful beaches, and tranquil lagoons can all be found on Koh Phi Phi Leh, the country’s second-biggest island.
Limestone cliffs, tropical vegetation, and a few beaches make up the other four Koh Phi Phi islands: Bida Nok, Bida Nai, Koh Young (Mosquito Island), and Ko Mai Phai (Bamboo Island).
A visit to Phi Phi Islands should without a doubt be on your Thailand bucket list!
To reach the Phi Phi Islands from elsewhere in Thailand or Southeast Asia, you may take an airplane, ferry, or train to Krabi or Phuket first. Traveling to Phuket from any of these locations is a breeze.
From Chalong Pier in Phuket, speedboats will get you there in under an hour. The speedboat ride from Krabi takes around half an hour. By comparison, the trip on a regular boat will take roughly two hours from Phuket and just 90 minutes from Krabi or Koh Lanta.
Book your preferred boat transfer to Phi Phi:
Things to do on Koh Phi Phi, Thailand
You need several days to fully appreciate Phi Phi Island’s beautiful surroundings, crystal clear seas, and white sand beaches.
To help you plan your activities on Koh Phi Phi, I’ve compiled this list of exciting things to do on Koh Phi Phi.
TOP RATED BOAT TOURS ON PHI PHI ISLAND
When wondering what to do on Phi Phi Island, kayaking naturally comes to mind. Kayaking around Koh Phi Phi Island is a ton of fun. Just picture yourself cutting through the azure sea, seeing the exotic fish swimming under you, and the enormous cliffs and rainforests rising above you.
Many tourists advise spending half an hour kayaking to Monkey Beach. The beach got its name because monkeys often play around on it.
You may either hire a guide for a kayaking trip or rent a kayak and go out on your own. You can hire kayaks at most beachside hotels and tour businesses for about 100 baht per hour, but make sure to shop for the best deal.
Relax at the Beach
The beaches of Koh Phi Phi are among the most beautiful in the world. Each one is like a tropical paradise from your imagination, only better.
Phi Phi island activities include taking a picnic, a blanket or towel, and some refreshments to the beach to enjoy the natural light and see the sky’s colors reflected in the ocean. Laem Tong Beach and Nui Bay Beach are Koh Phi Phi Don’s finest destinations for unwinding.
The beautiful Loh Dalum Beach may be found in the island’s geographic center. On Loh Dalum Beach, the water is shallow and warm all the way out to where the tide comes in, and you can leisurely walk on the shore or just chill and relax while the sun sets.
Take a Boat Tour
Getting on a boat cruise to explore the Phi Phi Islands, is one of the most popular things to do on Koh Phi Phi.
Maya Bay, made famous by Leonardo DiCaprio’s “The Beach,” is only one of the attractions of Koh Phi Phi Leh that is included in most excursions.
Ao Poh Beach and Laem Tong Beach are two more breathtaking beaches that can only be accessed by boat. Both are on Koh Phi Phi Don, but you’ll need to take a long-tail boat to reach them. Since these shores are far from civilization, you may expect relative silence and serenity.
Ao Toh Ko and Long Beach are two more fantastic beaches on Koh Phi Phi Don. Getting a spot on Tonsai Beach in Tonsai Bay may be challenging, but it is well worth the effort and should be on your list of things to do in the Phi Phi Islands.
TOP RATED BOAT TOURS
Visit Maya Bay
Not only does Maya Bay have a beautiful white sand beach, but it also has excellent snorkeling and is a popular place to visit on the Phi Phi Islands.
You can only get here by taking a boat tour to Koh Phi Phi Lee, and many of those tours include a stop at Maya Bay so you can go snorkeling.
When snorkeling here, you can see sea snakes, barracuda, parrotfish, clownfish, and many more species. You could possibly catch sight of some stunning blacktip reef sharks if you keep your eyes peeled while exploring Maya Bay.
You can only get in by boat, but once you are there, you can jump in for some of the most incredible snorkeling on Koh Phi Phi. Even though snorkeling equipment is often included on boat tours to Maya Bay and the surrounding Phi Phi Islands, double-checking before booking is always a good idea.
Private long-tail boat tours are highly recommended and should cost roughly 1800 baht for two persons for three hours.
Those traveling from outside Thailand must pay an admission charge of 400 baht if they want to access Maya Beach. If you plan to go snorkeling in the vicinity, be aware that jellyfish are in the water.
See Viking Cave
One of the best things to do on Phi Phi Island is to visit the Viking Cave. From Tonsai Bay, it takes about 30 minutes to get to the bottom of a steep limestone cliff on the island’s northeast side by a long-tail boat.
The murals on the cave’s eastern and southern walls, called Tham Phaya Nak by the locals, give it its English name, Viking Cave.
The name comes from the fact that one of the boats looks suspiciously like a Scandinavian Drakkar (Viking ship). According to legend, ancient sailors took shelter here during a storm and painted these murals.
When you go to Viking Cave, you can learn that collecting swiftlet birds’ nests is one of the most profitable businesses in the area.
These tasty nests are highly valued because they are thought to have medicinal and rejuvenating properties. Bird’s nest hunting is dangerous because hunters have to climb bamboo scaffolding in the dark to get valuable nests.
Go Island Hopping
Phi Phi Island is a great starting point for going island hopping in Thailand. It is often the first stop for travelers coming to Phuket and a great start on an island hopping itinerary taking you down the islands of the Andaman Sea.
A natural next stop is to Koh Lanta, an island with no shortage of things to do, particularly famed for its beautiful beaches and vibrant beach bars. But also for Mu Ko Lanta National Park.
From there, you can explore Koh Mook and the mesmerizing Emerald Cave and continue to one of the hidden gems in Thailand, Koh Ngai – an uninhabited paradisiacal island with a few resorts – to wind down.
If you want to continue south, make sure you make it to Koh Lipe, one of my favorite islands in Thailand, though it has changed much the last few years, just like Koh Phi Phi has since I visited the first time in 2007.
Reflections on what to do on Phi Phi Island
There is no doubt there are a lot of fun things to do on Phi Phi Island. I might be biased as it was the first Thai island paradise I visited and I have returned time after time.
A lot has changed, and it is definitely nothing like traveling off the beaten path in Thailand. Yet, it has got everything an island vacation needs. Fine beaches, beach bars, beautiful beaches, snorkeling, scuba diving, boat trips, and fabulous food.
There is so much to do and if you are new to Thailand, Phi Phi is a great place to start.