Although only one island of the archipelago is inhabited, the rest are also interesting from a tourist point of view – Phi Phi Ley, Mosquito Island, Bambu Island, Bida Nok and Bida Nai.
All infrastructure is concentrated on Phi Phi Don – hotels, restaurants and shops. The most densely populated place is a narrow isthmus connecting two limestone monoliths. The pier, Tonsai Village and most of the hotels are located here. In this area, you can relax quite budget and fun – Lo Dalam beach is a place of attraction for young people, and noisy parties do not subside until the morning.
Note: according to allcitypopulation, the population of Thailand is 69.95 million (2021).
For a more relaxed and respectable holiday, it is better to go to the northeastern part of the island. There are several well-equipped beaches – Laem Thong and Lo Bahao. The cost of living here is much higher than in the Tonsai Bay area. Those who love complete privacy should pay attention to the beaches between Laem Po Bay and Lo Bahao. Even taking into account the general flow of tourists, these undeveloped sections of the coast are usually deserted.
Each island has good dive sites, and experienced divers usually prefer the cave systems and wrecks off the coast of Phi Phi Ley, Bida Nok and Bida Nai.
Tourists are taken to the rest of the islands of the archipelago for walks and excursions. Koh Phi Phi Lay is famous for its Viking Cave, where locals collect swallow nests, and the picturesque Maya Bay, where the movie “The Beach” was filmed. Tiny Mosquito and Bamboo attract diving enthusiasts and those who want to sunbathe alone. Both islets have good rocky and sandy beaches, and coral reefs in coastal waters.
Phi Phi beaches
A beach suitable for swimming can be found on any island in the archipelago. Most of them are on Phi Phi Don. Almost all of its coast is covered with fine white sand, and washed by a clear warm sea.
On Phi Phi Don, there are few places where there are umbrellas, sunbeds and showers – the beaches of Long Beach, Laem Thong and Lo Bahao. The rental price is about 100 THB, you can rinse from salt water for 10 THB.
The most popular and busiest beaches are Long Beach, Tonsai Bay and Lo Dalam. The first, quiet and calm, is considered the best place to relax with children, although the entrance to the sea is harsh, and the coast is quite deep. The other two are on either side of a long sandbar. Lo Dalam hosts fun beach parties; it is one of the few places in Phi Phi where the music does not stop until the morning. The entrance to the water on both beaches is smooth, the sea is rather shallow, there are never waves on Lo Dalam. Minus one – during the low tide it will not be possible to swim.
Monkey Beach and Nui Beach can only be reached by sea. The first is famous for its funny tailed inhabitants, which attract hundreds of tourists. The second is a very tiny and secluded beach, lost in the rocks. A great place for those who love privacy. The same can be said about the beaches of Laem Thong and Lo Bahao in the northeast. It’s quiet, calm and uncrowded. The entrance to the sea is gentle, shallow near the shore, but if you move further away, corals begin to come across, turning into a reef – a favorite place for divers. On the uninhabited islands of Phi Phi, there is at least one beautiful wild beach. The most famous and visited is in Maya Bay on Phi Phi Lay.
Diving in Phi Phi
The main entertainment on the islands is diving. There are many sheer cliffs and underwater caves around Phi Phi. The main dive sites are the sunken ferry “King Cruiser”, the islands of Bida Nok and Bida Nai. There are also interesting places not far from Phi Phi Ley – caves and grottoes, artificial reefs and a specially sunken ship “Kled Kao”.
In addition to barracudas, tuna, moray eels, stingrays, mackerel and sea turtles, tiger, blacktip and even whale sharks are found off the coast.
Diving centers can be found in the village of Tonsai and on some beaches of Koh Phi Phi Don. They organize excursions to neighboring islands and rent equipment. The cost of diving is from 3100 to 6000 THB, the Discover Scuba Diver course will cost 3400 THB, snorkeling – from 700 THB.
Bida Nok Island is a great place for diving; leopard sharks, turtles and moray eels frolic in the coastal waters. Nearby Bida Nai is also good for diving. And recommended only for experienced divers, Wang Long Bay is known for its chain of caves. One of the best dive sites in Phi Phi is the King Cruiser ship that sank in 1997. The area is full of anemones, attracting groupers, clownfish, tuna, barracuda and sometimes leopard sharks. Beginners can try their hand at the beaches of Laem Thong and Lo Bahao, not far from the coast there are coral reefs inhabited by beautiful fish.
What to bring
There are no particularly remarkable souvenirs on Phi Phi. Here everything is sold the same as in the mainland – Thai cosmetics, ceramics, silk, miniature statues of Buddha and elephants.
In some tents, prices bite, you need to go around a few and compare.
There are many shops here, especially considering the size of the only inhabited island. All trade is concentrated in the village of Tansai. Ladies will be interested in clothes, shoes and accessories. Here you can find high-quality replicas of famous brands at very low prices. Of course, these are just copies, but well-made ones cannot be distinguished from the original.
Those who want to bring home something reminiscent of their holidays on the islands should pay attention to sea shells and souvenirs from them, as well as tourist small things – T-shirts, magnets, mugs and key rings. In central Tansai, they are sold at every turn. The Central Market is also located there, where you can buy fresh vegetables, fruits and beach paraphernalia, while bargaining for the best price.