The most visited place in Krabi are the Phi Phi islands located in the Andaman Sea just South of Krabi Town accessible by a short speedboat or long-tail boat ride.
Koh Phi Phi Islands – What’s It All About?
The Phi Phi (pee-pee) Islands (หมู่เกาะพีพี) are located in the Andaman Sea Southwest of Krabi mainland by 35 kilometers (22 miles) and almost due west from Koh Jum Island by 20 kilometers (12 miles). Phuket is located west of Koh Phi Phi about 43 kilometers away. So these islands are nestled between, triangulated between, these three landmarks.
The shape of the Phi Phi Island (Koh Phi Phi Don) is something like a backward letter ‘h’. The long stroke is about 9 kilometers long, the arch is 1 kilometer, and the small part of the ‘h’ is 3.5 km long. This island has two mountain peaks connected by the 1-kilometer-long sandy stretch where most of the businesses are located because it is flat land, and right on the beach.
The much smaller Koh Phi Phi Lee Island is located due south about 3 kilometers away and is only about 4 kilometers long and 1 kilometer wide. This island is home to the absolutely stunning “Maya Bay” – see photo below.
The Phi Phi Islands were horribly affected by the Boxing Day Tsunami of December 2004 when eleven persons were killed. There is a video on YouTube that shows some of what went on. A ten-foot wave came from one direction, and an eighteen-foot wave came from the other side. When they met there was near complete and catastrophic devastation of all homes and businesses located near sea level.
It took a few years to rebuild and rebuild they have. Some say they overdid it. Surely for anyone that visited these pristine islands in the past – say the late 1990’s – you won’t even recognize them, except for the major geological features. The mountains are still there. The lookout to see the stunning view is still there.
Now there are businesses jammed into every space where there could possibly be one. There are thousands of people arriving each day, and maybe even thousands of Chinese by themselves arrive each day.
There has been something of an uproar by environmentalists who say the islands have been overrun with tourists now and there are too many visitors to the national park. There was a photo circulating on social media for a while, taken by my friend, in which there were literally hundreds, and maybe a thousand or more people standing on one of the beaches of Phi Phi.
They seemed to be all Chinese tourists on tours. Chinese tourists have absolutely inundated Thailand in 2015, and there is such crowding at some tourist spots like these islands, that it makes it not even a fun trip anymore.
There are around 3,000 permanent residents on the islands at any time.
There are no vehicles on the island, the only motorized vehicles are supposed to be for emergency services. There are plenty of bicycles, but most people just walk around because everything is very close and easy to get to.
Ko Phi Phi Islands and Beach Facts
- Location in Krabi: 35 kilometers (22 miles) and almost due west from Koh Jum Island by 20 kilometers (12 miles).
- GPS Data: Ko Phi Phi Don 7.740486968448586, 98.77130744365147 and Ko Phi Phi Lee at Maya Bay 7.676650392393586, 98.76601716487815, or just click here for the main beach (Tonsai).
- Distance to Krabi Town – Airport: 34 km. – 49 km.
- Taxis Available: There are motorbike taxis to take you around the island. It’s better just to rent a motorbike. It’s fairly safe riding one on the island.
- Surrounding Islands: Bamboo Island (Ko Mai Phai) is just to the North.
- Direction Beaches Face: Ko Phi Phi Don has beaches around the island facing nearly every direction. Ko Phi Phi Lee has beaches facing East, South, and Southwest.
- Beach Length: PP Don Beaches – Monkey Beach is 150 m long. Loh Dalum Beach and Tonsai beaches are 1.1 km long. Wang Long Beach is 30 m long. Viking Beach is 52 m. Love Beach is 14 m. Long Beach is 670 m. Loh Moo Dee Beach is 440 m. The Cove Beach is 265 m. Phak Nam Bay is 165 m. Loh Ba Kao Bay is 625 m. Laem Tong Beach is 752 m. PP Lee Beaches – Maya Bay Beach is 260 meters long.
- Beach Width: Average beach widths, too varied to estimate.
- Estimated Beach Area: Cannot estimate.
- Beach Quality: The sand at nearly all the Ko Phi Phi Island beaches is powdery fine, light in color, and super soft. This is some of the best sand in all of Thailand and Southeast Asia.
- Ocean Bottom: You’ll find a mix of sandy, rocky, and coral-filled ocean bottom at the beaches at Ko Phi Phi. Always assume there are some sharp rocks somewhere underneath and be extra careful, as you should on all island beaches.
- Restroom/shower Facilities? Yes, there are restrooms all over Phi Phi Don and no facility on Ko Phi Phi Lee.
- Beach Features: Lots of sand, shopping, restaurants, resorts, and things to do like kayaking can be found all over the islands.
- Lifeguard Available? Yes, there are lifeguards at some of the beaches. Check first before swimming if it’s important to you.
- Sunbeds Available? Yes, all over the bigger island beaches.
- Umbrellas? Yes, same as above.
- Public or Private? Entrance fees? Public, 400 THB for adults. 200 THB for children over 3 yrs.
- Water quality: Excellent. Phi Phi is a long distance from the mainland and the water here is crystal clear where there isn’t waste refuse being drained into the bays and beaches.
- Boat Anchorage? Yes, small and medium-sized boats can anchor in many locations. Makes sure you’re in legal spot and not dropping anchor on coral!
- Boat Dock and Marina? Yes, there are some around the bigger island.
- Longtail Boat Rentals? Yes, you can get long tail boats to see other nearby islands or to return to Krabi’s mainland from Phi Phi.
- Speedboat/longtail boat tours possible? Yes, you can book a speedboat or long-tail to Phuket or Krabi.
- Slope into the Sea until 1m Deep: 3-10 meters. Easy slope. Great for children at many beaches.
- Convenience Shop? Yes, there are many.
- Attractions: Shopping, viewpoints to climb, kayaks to rent, paddleboarding, great restaurants, night shows, and incredible views. Don’t miss Maya Bay!
- Activities: Good snorkeling at scattered spots all over the islands. There is a lot of coral just under the water in many spots. Bring your own snorkeling gear with you.
- Massage Available? Yes, at many locations on the beaches and at resorts.
- Picnic possible? Yes! Bring your own food from Phi Phi or the mainland and have a beautiful picnic.
- Surfing? No, the waves are not big here and there is no good beach for bodyboarding, surfing, or bodysurfing.
- Jetskis, Parasailing, Skiing, Windsurfing? Allowed in the Ko Phi Phi Islands. However, there are some restrictions in place to protect the environment and ensure the safety of tourists. Jet skis can only be operated in certain areas of the islands, and they must be rented from licensed operators. Parasailing is limited to certain beaches, and there are weight restrictions for participants. Skiing is only allowed in designated areas, and skiers must be accompanied by a qualified instructor. Windsurfing is permitted in most areas of the islands, but windsurfers must be aware of the local wind and weather conditions.
- Smoking? In November 2017 Thailand began limiting smoking on beaches and in other public areas. High fines and jail time are possible.
- Warnings: Bring your own food and drinks to save some money if on a day trip. Be careful of currents if snorkeling or swimming far from shore. Be careful of boats running over your head if you’re snorkeling.
- Waste Runoff into the sea? Yes, in many spots.
There are a few very fun things to do on the islands. Like what?
Activities on Koh Phi Phi
- Diving and Snorkeling
- Rock Climbing
- Sightseeing (Hike to three different viewpoints)
- Shopping for Souvenirs
Weather on Phi Phi?
The weather on the islands is a bit more extreme than it is on mainland krabi because you have more wind, and waves to deal with. During the May through October timeframe, there are higher waves than at other times of the year. Large waves and small long-tail boats aren’t a good mix. These boats can capsize and sometimes do. It isn’t advised to take small boats during any high-wave periods, or when the day may turn stormy. During the rainy season that can be anytime.
In addition to these restrictions, there are a number of general safety rules that all visitors to the Ko Phi Phi Islands must follow. These rules include:
- Always swim in designated swimming areas.
- Do not swim alone.
- Be aware of the currents and tides. Weak swimmers should always wear life jackets.
- Wear a life jacket when participating in water sports.
- Do not drink alcohol before or while swimming or operating a watercraft.
- Obey all instructions from lifeguards and other park officials.
How to Travel to Koh Phi Phi?
KBV airport in Krabi is probably your first point of arrival. From there you can take a ferry from Noppharat Thara Beach, Phuket, or Koh Lanta Islands daily.
Reserve a TOUR to Koh Phi Phi Islands see Tours Info around Krabi Town and Beaches – Click HERE.
To see information about All Krabi Beaches >
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