Phi Phi Islands

Phi Phi Islands on the Andaman Coast of Thailand are one of the most renowned and beautiful destinations for a beach vacation in South East Asia. Set southeast of popular Phuket island and northwest of Railay Beach, Phi Phi Don (the larger island) and Phi Phi Leh boast azure waters, limestone cliffs, white sandy beaches, and miles of thick, jungle forests, creating a seaside utopia. Though the controversy covering the barrage of development over the years often hits headlines, there’s no denying this Thai island has much to offer. The main drag on Phi Phi Don is a central area near Ton Sai Bay. Over the flip side of mainland is the ever-popular Loh Dalum Bay and Beach. This strip of never-ending festivities connects two landmasses into one, but the south side is where most of the action takes place.

Phi Phi Island Hotels

Phi Phi Island Hotels
Phi Phi Island Hotels

Phi Phi is large and features many excellent beaches including Tonsai Beach, Loh Dalum, and Long Beach on the southeast reaches. Infrastructure around these parts includes restaurants, shopping areas, and outfitters offering scuba, snorkeling, and sightseeing boat trips. From sweeping beach resorts on par with Western hotels, to smaller hotels and guesthouses, Phi Phi Don’s lodging options are diverse. Those seeking some peace and quiet will be pleasantly surprised when heading north from Tonsai toward Laem Thong. There are many smaller hotels and some of the most exquisite luxury Thai hotels open for business along this stretch. There are also more than a half-dozen stunning beaches to explore, however, some are only accessible by boat.

Ko Phi Phi Don

Following the 2004 Asian tsunami, the Phi Phi Islands were all but destroyed. Today, it is a reincarnation of itself prior to the disaster but with a more strictly managed development plan. Restaurants, hotels, and shops have all been re-created with almost no trace of the wreckage. Ton Sai is the main village occupying the isthmus at Koh Phi Phi Don. On the central west coast is Loh Dalum Bay with Loh Dalum Beach promptly on the southern end. It is one of the most popular areas on Phi Phi Don and also the main drag. Phi Phi Don welcomes boatloads of tourists at its south shore, most of whom travel on toward either Loh Dalum or head east to the northerly sloping coastline. The cliffs of Ton Sai are the stuff made of climbers’ dreams. Ton Sai Tower is still the Holy Grail here, with climbing shops providing transportation, gear, and instruction for reasonable prices.

Ko Phi Phi Lee

Ko Phi Phi Lee
Ko Phi Phi Lee

Part of the Phi Phi Islands, Ko Phi Phi Lee (also called Phi Phi Leh) is Phi Phi Don’s sister island and Thai national park, located 30 minutes southeast by boat. This untouched tropical paradise is protected by the Thai government and remains undeveloped. The only way to visit is via a day trip by boat. Maya Bay is the target of tours, where the famous movie The Beach was filmed. The beach at Maya Bay reveals a rocky, jagged backdrop and almost surreally scenic beach. Camping is also permitted overnight for a small admission fee. Visiting Maya Bay, tourists will find a short jungle trail to explore and a small beach. Though snorkeling trips are popular, there’s no coral to speak of here. Another option, and one that offers a more Crusoe-like experience, is to hire a longtail boat and visit Maya Beach early in the morning when there are fewer tourists.

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