Koh Phi Phi Travel Guide
Koh Phi Phi is one of the most popular tourist islands in Thailand. From the famous of Maya Bay (made famous in The Beach) to the monkeys on the aptly named Monkey Beach to the diving and nightlife, there are reasons people flock here. Destroyed by the tsunami in 2004, the island has been rebuilt and developed to an even greater extent than before. Though I’ve had a lot fun here, I personally don’t like Ko Phi Phi. I find it too built up and touristy. It’s very overdeveloped and ruined, but thousands of people visit each year and love it. Visit for yourself and decide.
Hostel prices – Koh Phi Phi is one of the most expensive islands in Thailand. Dorm rooms start at $20 USD, and private rooms start at $27 USD.
Budget hotel prices – Budget hotels average $40-50 USD for a double private room with air conditioning. For luxury, the sky’s the limit.
Average cost of food – Food is the cheapest in Ton Sai village. The open-air local restaurants near the beach have dishes for $1-2 USD. Western food is more expensive at $25 USD. Near the beach and in the town, meals will start at $5 USD for local dishes.
Transportation costs - There are no taxis or buses on Phi Phi, so you’ll be walking or cycling around the island. Travel between islands is best done by long-tail boat, which costs around $5-7 USD per hour.
Money Saving Tips
Cheap drinks at Tiger Bar – Head to the Tiger Bar between midnight and 10 am for a free bucket of Sang Som whisky, red bull and Coke.
Work for bars – Many bars will give you free drinks if you spend a couple of hours handing out flyers for their venue during the afternoon.
Bargain – If hiring out a long-tail boat, be sure to bargain with the owner as the prices are always up for negotiation.
Group together – If you’d like to see Ko Phi Phi Leh or other islands, get a group together and charter a longtail boat. Split between four or more people, and it should be cheaper than an organized tour.
Eat in Ton Sai – Eat in Ton Sai village rather than on the beach, as the beachfront restaurants tend to have higher prices for much the same quality of food.
Top Things to See and Do
Enjoy the nightlife – Nightlife here is crazy. Fireshows and Thai boxing matches are a regular occurrence at the beach bars. Often times, there are massive beach parties. For live music, make your way to the fantastically-named Rolling Stoned Bar. Partying is not cheap here and is one of the reasons people spend too much money here!
Ride on King Cruiser Wreck – One of the best dive sites off Ko Phi Phi is the King Cruiser wreck. The passenger ship sunk in 1997 when it hit the Anemone reef. This site is packed with fish including clown fish, tuna and barracuda, not to mention the sea anemones that cling to every surface of the reef. Keep an eye out for the occasional leopard shark.
Feed the sharks – One of the most popular trips out of Koh Phi Phi is an early morning excursion to feed sharks. A six-hour trip will start at about $15 USD and will have you feeding black tip and leopard sharks. Most tours also include visits to coral gardens for snorkeling.
Snorkel in Maya Bay – Made famous for its starring role in the Leonardo DiCaprio film, The Beach, Maya Bay is on Koh Phi Leh and is usually included with all the island/snorkeling trips you see advertised. For those who want to see the place without lots of boats and people, you can spend a night on the island. It’s a far better way to experience the seclusion of this place.
Hike to Phi Phi Viewpoint – The twenty minute walk up to the Viewpoint will be rewarded by an amazing panoramic view of Phi Phi Le and Phi Phi Don. The Viewpoint is over 600 feet high, so you’ll need to be reasonably fit to get here, but your camera will thank you! The best time to go is at sunset or sunrise.
Dive at Hin Muang – This diving site boasts the highest vertical wall in Thailand at 60 meters. Leopard sharks, whale sharks, manta rays and reef sharks patrol the depths at the site but its crowning glory is the huge purple rock.
Hang out on Monkey Beach – Monkey Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Thailand, nevermind Koh Phi Phi. Powder white sands and excellent diving makes this a popular spot but one of the coolest things about it is the monkeys that come down to the beach. They’re pretty tame and you can feed them!
Visit Bamboo Island – For a less crowded alternative to Maya Bay, consider a trip to the uninhabited Bamboo Island. The island lies 8 miles from Ko Phi Phi and is home to the coral garden Hin Klang. The Island is part of a National Marine Park so you’ll have to pay the $6 USD entrance fee, but it’s worth it for the secluded snorkeling, sunbathing and exploring you can do here.
Go deep sea fishing – One of the more expensive activities you can do off the coast of Koh Phi Phi is deep sea fishing. At about $80 USD for eight hours, it is pricey but for that you’ll get the chance to fish for tuna, barracuda, dorado, king mackerel and sailfish. For an added twist, night fishing is a great way to experience the nocturnal life of the waters surrounding the islands.
Go rock climbing – You can arrange a tour that will take you by boat to one of the islands’ limestone rock faces that is suitable for climbing. The views you’ll get from the top of the rock face will be absolutely unforgettable. Most places charge around $30 USD for a half-day.
Watch the sunset by kayak – You can rent sea kayaks or arrange a kayak tour. Sunset tours head out on ocean kayaks to Wang Long bay. However, there are plenty of other tour options available, so explore your options.