How to Spend 48 Hours in Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

Maya Bay, Ko Phi Phi
Maya Bay, Ko Phi Phi | © Nicolas Vollmer / Flickr
Kyle Hulme

Located in between the bustling tourist hubs of Phuket and Krabi, Koh Phi Phi has been a go-to island for years now because of its legendary nightlife, laid-back vibe and, of course, because of stunning Maya Bay. Despite Koh Phi Phi’s small size – there are no cars or roads here – there’s still plenty of things to see and do to keep you busy. From beach parties to hikes, here’s our guide on how to spend 48 hours in Koh Phi Phi.

Start the day right

If you’ve only got 48 hours to spend on the island, then you’ll need a decent brunch to power you through the activities in store. Fortunately enough, Phi Phi has you covered. Stop by The Mango Garden; whether it’s mango-infused coffees or waffles, if you’re a fan of the sweet yellow fruit you’ll love this place. If you’re not, then then an alternative joint is PhiPhi Bakery. Specialising in both sweet and savoury treats, their sandwiches are filling and their donuts provide enough sugar to keep you moving.

Find all things mango at The Mango Garden

Hit the beach

Assuming this is the day you arrived at Koh Phi Phi, then by the time you step off the boat Maya Bay will already be swarmed with tourists armed with selfie sticks. Not to worry though, you can wake up nice and early tomorrow for it – today is all about the mainland. Phi Phi itself is home to several beautiful beaches. Loh Moo Dee is a rather quiet bay on the east of the island, located just past Phi Phi’s long beach. With its emerald-green sea and fine sand, it’s all you’d expect from a Thai beach and is relatively peaceful. Another similarly quiet beach is Toh Ko, where some travellers have even reported seeing pods of dolphins. If you’re looking for a little more to do, you might want to head to Long Beach, where there are typically more people, massage stands and eateries, as well as a couple of volleyball nets for good measure.

Long Beach at dawn

Pool party

Phi Phi is known for its great parties, and the all-day pool party at Ibiza House is up there with the best. Featuring a pool with a gorgeous view of the sea and the beach, and with outrageously cheap drink options, the Ibiza Pool Party lives up to the hype and encompasses the spirit of the island it was named after. With DJs playing the latest dance, house and EDM hits, revellers enjoy a dance in the pool with plenty of others who have just one thing on their minds – having a great time.

Reggae Bar

Koh Phi Phi’s Reggae Bar is famous for one thing – its legendary Muay Thai fights. Only in Thailand will you find a boxing ring in the middle of the bar and have the punters encouraged to square up and trade blows for a bucket and a medal. Don’t worry though – nobody is obliged to fight, and it’s perfectly acceptable to enjoy the spectacle with a bucket or a beer. Once you’ve had enough of the comical mismatches in front of you, there are other bars in the area that are worth a visit, such as Stockholm Syndrome. Don’t stay up too late though, as you’ll be getting up early in the morning for Maya Bay.

Muay Thai

Maya bay

If you didn’t already book a morning boat to Maya Bay, then don’t worry – by heading down to Tonsai pier you’ll find plenty of captains who’ll take you their in their trusty longtail boats. If all goes to plan, you arrive at the bay with few other people, and can spend time admiring the view and getting the perfect profile picture shot before the throngs of tourists descend upon you. Made famous by Leonardo DiCaprio’s hit movie The Beach, Maya Bay boasts gorgeous white sand and emerald coloured water surrounded by imposing yet picturesque limestone karsts. If you’d rather forgo the previous night’s revelries, it’s possible to book a night on the Maya Bay Sleep Aboard tour, where you’ll stay on a boat in the bay overnight and will be among the first to hit the beach the following morning.

Maya Bay, Ko Phi Phi

Island tour – pileh Bay and monkey Beach

Usually as part of a tour of Maya Bay, you’ll be taken to other locations too. The ones that are worth seeing are Pileh Bay and Monkey Beach. Pileh Bay is another typical karst-surrounded bay with incredibly clear cerulean water, into which many people dive in. It’s popular to snorkel here, and divers have been known to throw fish food at their passengers to see their reactions once hundreds of harmless fish swarm around them. There are also sharks around Koh Phi Phi – though fortunately for you, the black tip reef sharks don’t grow very big and are completely harmless.

The other place worth seeing on the tour is Monkey Beach. Now, as you might expect, this place is crawling with monkeys, who’ll be all too happy to swim out to and climb aboard your boat in search for food – so if you’re not a fan of our furry friends, you might want to sit this one out.

Monkey in Thailand

Back on the mainland – viewpoint and massage

Phi Phi has a viewpoint that features gorgeous views of the two bays and provides a charming spot to watch the sunset. It’s not too challenging of a hike, with only the first stage proving to be tough, and reaching the viewpoint can take as little as half an hour. Once you’re there, you’ll have a wonderful views of the bays and the beaches, though you’ll want to make it down before it gets too dark.

Once you’ve completed your exercise for the trip (that’s if you didn’t partake in the Thai boxing), it’s fair to say you’ll have earned a Thai massage – and there are tonnes of masseurs lining the streets on the way back to the centre of the island.

The view from the viewpoint

Beach party

Any trip to Koh Phi Phi wouldn’t be complete without heading to a beach party. If you’re into louder music and a crazy party scene, then sticking to Slinky Bar or Apache Beach Club will be the best bet for you. Despite being only a short walk away, heading further north up the beach will lead you to Sunflower Bar and Restaurant, still infused with party vibes but a little more subdued than the bars below it. With a drink in your hand, a fire show to keep you entertained and the distant chorus of the waves coming in, there’s no better way to say goodbye to this charming little island.

A fire show
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