KHO PHI PHI

By Krabi Magazine Jun 9, 2014
Thailand is seeing a rapid tourism boom with no signs of slowing down. With that comes an influx of visitors to one of the most beautiful and accessible island groups in the world, Koh Phi Phi. Despite what you’ve heard, there is still plenty to do and see in the archipelago that fits every style; from partygoing backpacker, to the relaxation-seeking travelers. While the concentration of shopping and restaurants reside on the isthmus of Koh Phi Phi Don, peace and indulgence can be found on secluded parts of Long Beach, Laem Thong, and other areas of the main island that are only accessible by private longtail boat. Even in the midst of the crowd, nothing outshines the translucent waters, pearl white sandy beaches, and panoramic views of the stunning limestone karsts. It is indeed, one of the most beautiful places in Thailand.

Koh Phi Phi Don was nearly wiped out in the devastating tsunami of December 2004, but the redevelopment was swift, and new building regulations limit the height of infrastructure so as to not obstruct the stunning island views. Only two seasons exist on the archipelago: the hot season from January to April, and the rainy season from May to December. The latter season doesn’t completely halt island activities, so travelers need not worry about low season shutdowns of businesses and activities as in other parts of Thailand.

While most of Thailand is of the Buddhist belief, Koh Phi Phi has its own eclectic mix of Thai-Chinese, Muslims and even traditional sea gypsies. The majority of the population is Muslim, but the entire community lives harmoniously. This melting pot of cultures and faith means there are abundant celebrations year round. Visitors can take part in traditional festivities such as the annual boat-launching ceremonies of the sea gypsies, or numerous longtail boat races. The island also heavily celebrates westernized holidays such as Christmas and Valentine’s Day, making it a perfect location for holiday getaways for people from all walks of life.

Koh Phi Phi Don remains an exotic escape, and can be customized to any travel style. Not to be forgotten is the plethora of activities available for the active visitors, or those with families, some of which are unique to the region. It is a hub of romance, excitement, liberation, and tranquility. Wherever you are on Koh Phi Phi, you will find what you are looking for.

STUNNING KOH PHI PHI GO TO TOP



There is a never-ending array of things to do on the Koh Phi Phi islands besides roll around in the same sand that DiCaprio’s hot bod once did without looking creepy.

Koh Phi Phi Don – the largest island - is the eating, sleeping, lodging center of the archipelago and although well developed, always as stunning as ever. Koh Phi Phi Leh is always teeming with visitors to Maya Bay thanks to that whatchamacallit movie , but there are two other islands to the north, worth the short boat ride. Ko Mai Phai is an islet that glistens with several tantalizing beaches, and Ko Yung has a beautiful stone beach on the east, a few small sandy beaches at the foot of the hills, and loads of vibrant coral reefs.

A breathtaking view of Phi Phi Don and its isthmus rewards the steep walk and small admission fee of the Viewpoint. Of course, it is especially magically at sunrise or sunset, but don’t forget your torch.

Surpass the daytime crowds and opt for a Maya Bay Overnight Sleep Aboard. See the infamous beach during sunset, swim with plankton blanketed under the stars (rumored to be one of the best spots to do so in the Andaman), and sleep in the wondrous bay blanketed by the cool night air.

Some of the most spectacular Diving sites in Thailand are found locally in Phi Phi. A myriad of macro and micro marine life, caves and swim-through’s, and even a wreck site await beginners to advanced divers. There’s no shortage of renowned dive operators available to suit all levels and desired itineraries, including day trips and multi-day liveaboard trips.

Forget the crowds on Railay and try your hand at rock climbing the limestone karsts of Phi Phi. Inch your way into tight-rope walking by venturing into a Slacklining, which can done on land or over water. Visit one of several climbing shops for more information.

Turn it up and join a Deep Water Soloing boat trip, whereby adrenaline junkies can swim to far-reaching climbing routes and plunge right back into the sea. This is sure to please any thrill seeker.

With beaches on all sides suitable to any wind directions, Phi Phi Don is an ideal place for Kiteboarding. Whether experienced or a newbie, wind seekers can head to the nearest kiteboarding shop for rental equipment, certified IKO courses, or arrange customized tours.

Learn how Pineapple Paper or Batik is made. Even tap into your inner artist and create your own unique Thailand souvenir by painting your own Batik textile.

Go Caving. The humidity, the sea, and the porous nature of the limestone rock have collided over the centuries, forming a vast system of caves. There are many caves in the Phi Phi archipelago that can be explored, with some containing prehistortic paintings or bird’s nest swiftlets that can be partially visited.

Enjoy a cocktail on the beach and watch a Fireshow. Talented fire artists toss, flip and twirl great balls of fire, even eschewing gasoline from their mouths to create the ultimate human dragon. Phi Phi is known for some very famous fireshows, and even championship matches that are sure to dazzle.

ACTIVITIES GO TO TOP



Phi Phi is home to some of the world most fun and thrilling things to do on earth. From the limestone cliffs to the translucent waters of the Andaman bay there are no shortages of things to do to keep you and your loved ones busy during your time on Koh Phi Phi.

Fancy a DIVE ? Well the waters surrounding Phi Phi are home to some of the most vibrant sea creatures around, from the small yet brilliantly colored nudibranches to the graceful leopard sharks and hawksbill turtles, there is always something to see. Don’t think you have to be a seasoned professional scuba diver to get a glimpse of the wonders of the sea, much of what is worth seeing can be seen comfortably from the surface with nothing more hen a mask and a snorkel.

Fancy a CLIMB ? Those towering limestone cliffs offer you a glimpse of what mother earth is capable of. Why get up close and personal with those beauties and go for a climb? There are many tour companies on the island that can assist you in your height seeking activities. Try deep water soloing where you climb upwards of 10 meters then jump backwards into the pearly ocean below! Pure bliss!

Fancy a BEACH ? Well you’re on an island!!!! One of the best and most accessible beaches on Phi Phi Don is Long Beach, just a 10 minute long tail ride from Tonsai beach (100 THB) or a 45 minute stroll through the jungle and you’ll step down onto the picturesque white sand beaches that make this island world renowned. Just grab a cocktail and let the day float on by. Doing nothing never felt so good.



Fancy a trip to MAYA BAY ? Remember way back in 2000 that movie with young Mr. DiCaprio, well you’re there! Prior to this movie’s filming and international notoriety Koh PhiPhi was a much less visited place but still with the wave of visitors from all over the globe Maya Bay remains one of the most beautiful and pristine places on the island.

Fancy a little EXERCISE and a nice view? Look no further then the viewpoint on middle of Koh PhiPhi Don. You cannot miss it, just walk away from the main section heading north and you’ll start to see some signs around, don’t worry if you don’t see anything you can always ask someone. The hike takes about 40 minutes from start to viewpoint two (which is where it’s all at!). Don’t forget your camera!

Fancy a FIRE SHOW ? Skinky bar is where you need to find your way to my friend, with some of the most intricate and mind blowing dances with that attractive flame, this is the place to see what everyone’s talking about. They even do a flaming jumprope that’s open to all that dare….

Fancy a TATTOO ? I’m sure you’ve seed a few shops around the island and I’m sure you’re thinking, hummm I would like to get one. Well my friend Koh Phi Phi is home to some of Thailand best tattoo artists around, just remember think before you ink.

VIEWPOINT GO TO TOP



Some would call it an upward stroll while others would classify it as a life-threatening hike. Regardless of fitness level, we can all agree on one thing: the Viewpoint is a never ending Christmas of one of the most beautiful views in Thailand.

Reaching the viewpoint is fairly easy. From the main village on Koh Phi Phi Don, visitors can follow signs from the road heading east towards Ao Lo Dalam. There are also signs for ‘Tsunami Evacuation Route,’ which is the same path. The 300-meter ascension includes steep steps along a narrow, twisting path. The path is paved and well marked, allowing even the tiniest of visitors a chance to climb to an incredibly rewarding view.

There are actually three viewpoints (creatively named Viewpoints 1, 2 and 3) along the path, with Viewpoint 1 being the climax. At the summit, hikers are rewarded with an overlook of the sandy straight connecting the two large bodies of Koh Phi Phi Don. The birds-eye perspective is 360 degrees of jutting limestone karsts, which are just as majestic as when visitors arrive by boat under their towering presence. The view is vibrant midday, albeit hot, but it’s well worth a trek up at sunrise or sunset.

Once at the top, visitors can continue on down one of four trails that lead to the remote, uninhabited east coast beaches of the island: Ao Tohko, Paknam (Relax Beach), Rantee and Lo Bakao. The first three take approximately thirty minutes to reach, and about one hour to reach Lo Bakao, where hikers can continue onwards along the road to Laem Thong.

Long Beach GO TO TOP



Far enough away from the crowd yet close enough to the hustle of Tonsai Village, Long Beach lies facing southwest towards stunning views of Koh Phi Phi Leh. The tranquil stretch of beach boasts translucent, azure waters with some of the best direct beach to water snorkeling found on the island. You don’t have to venture far to see vibrant coral and marine life bustling about in their natural underwater habitat, and renting snorkeling equipment is quite easy and reasonable.

Just 200 meters out from the beach is a small rock barely breaking above the surface – Shark Point – where black tip reef sharks can be viewed. Not to worry, these sharks are vegetarian! Since this is a popular stop amongst tour boats during the day, the sharks are much better spotted either mid morning or early evening.

From November to April the water is glassy and calm, but May to October sees rougher seas, so swimming is a bit more difficult at low tide due to the rocks and coral. The latter season also tends to have a stronger current, so swim with caution.

The majority of visitors come to Long Beach to stay, but it is also an easy day trip. A quick five-minute longtail boat ride from the pier will deposit you on the finest and softest white sand on an island chock full of fine, soft white sand. If you prefer, you can take the more scenic route by foot, either by clamoring over the rocks between beaches, or hiking up the trail running through the Viewpoint.

There are only a handful of resorts and bungalows on the beach, ranging in price. Each offers deck chairs for sun soaking, with the more upmarket resorts boasting a beachside pool. At present, there are no independent restaurants, but each of the resorts offer fresh seafood and Thai cuisine, as well as standard Western dishes.

As the sun goes down and night blankets the sky, visitors can park themselves on one of beachside resort bars to accompany the sunset with a cocktail. Phi Phi Don in general has a laidback attitude, but Long Beach turns it up a notch by turning down the noise. When the sun dips, the beach invites a mellow vibe from visitors in search of tranquility; a few drinks and cards or backgammon with friends is typically the way travelers close the chapter on yet another spectacular day. And for that random wild hair, you can always head back to Tonsai.

Happy travels from Krabi Magazine!

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