Up until the end of the twentieth century, Koh Phi Phi remained a tiny archipelago of islands that had barely seen a tourist in its lifetime. And then, along came a small film called The Beach, which featured, among other things, lots of shots of a semi-clothed Leonardo DiCaprio and a semi-mythological beach that promised heaven on earth. That beautiful site was Koh Phi Phi Beach.
Koh Phi Phi
Since The Beach was shot in Koh Phi Phi in 2000, tourism has boomed here, with backpackers and the like from all over the globe mimicking DiCaprio’s search for beach-going bliss. As a result, Koh Phi Phi Thailand is today one of the country's hottest destinations, and while many complain that the influx of visitors is spoiling the island’s magical qualities, it continues to present an awesome destination for isolated, tropical-island vacations. Quite simply, this is Thailand at its very finest.
There are six Phi Phi Islands, though two of these (Bida Nok and Bida Nai) are more like sea rocks than inhabitable landmasses. Koh Phi Phi Don is the largest island in the archipelago and also the only populated island; it’s where you’ll stay should you decide to pass one or more nights in Koh Phi Phi Thailand. The main hotel area is located in and around the village of Tonsai, while Long Beach and Laem Thong also offer more than adequate tourist facilities and in slightly less crowded areas. The hotels in Koh Phi Phi Thailand do get booked up, so it’s worth checking ahead regarding availability, especially if you’re arriving in the peak tourist season (roughly November to May).
The nearby island of Koh Phi Phi Leh is where most of the action is in terms of the Koh Phi Phi beach scene. That’s not to say Don doesn’t have good beaches—in fact, it has excellent beaches—but rather that Leh naturally attracts attention on the basis that it was the setting for The Beach. More exactly, Maya Beach was the setting; you can travel here by long-tail boat from your hotel on Koh Phi Phi Don. Clever travelers arrive at the beach just as the sun rises; arrive anytime after 9 am and you’ll be just one of many trying to sample Maya’s natural beauty.
If the Koh Phi Phi beach of Maya doesn’t quite take your fancy due to the number of tourists, visiting the islands of Koh Phai or Koh Yung is a good bet. These islands in Koh Phi Phi Thailand are quieter, though they still have more than their fair share of out-of-this-world stretches of sand. Both islands are also surrounded by coral, which makes them a good bet if you want to indulge in some scuba diving.
Aside from diving and snorkeling, rock climbing and kayaking are both popular activities while in Koh Phi Phi. Koh Don is normally the best place to organize coordinated group trips.
Koh Phi Phi Thailand is situated roughly 40 minutes from the resort town of Phuket, which is about five hours from Bangkok. Given the good transportation links here, arriving in Bangkok in the morning and resting your head in Phi Phi come nighttime is a happy possibility.