The Best Things to See and Do in Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

Kayak around crystal clear water to hidden coves and experience the best of Koh Phi Phi
Kayak around crystal clear water to hidden coves and experience the best of Koh Phi Phi | © Elena-studio / Getty Images
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Koh Phi Phi is a piece of Asian paradise boasting aqua waters, golden sands and idyllic seascapes. The stunning location for Danny Boyle’s critically acclaimed movie The Beach, Phi Phi’s tropical scenery and infectious island vibe have made it one of the biggest tourist attractions in Thailand. Here’s our rundown of the must-do activities while you’re here.

Visit Phi Phi Le

Phi Phi Le skyrocketed to fame after the release of The Beach (2000), as it provided the backdrop for the film. Expect unparalleled natural beauty here, with craggy cliffs plunging dramatically into the turquoise water. There’s no accommodation anywhere in the area, creating a peaceful atmosphere, especially after the group tour boats depart. Head to Maya Bay at sunset to watch the sky turn crimson pink.

Hire a sailing boat

Ditch the crowds by hiring your own private boat through SamBoat to explore Koh Phi Phi. They offer a plethora of vessels – from 12.8m (42ft) catamarans to speedy motorboats – for day rental from Phuket, many with a skipper included. Alternatively, Dream Yacht Charter offer multi-day sailing holidays for novices right up to licenced yachties. Their trips include Koh Phi Phi as well as Phang Nga Bay, Koh Kai and Koh Poda.

Try snorkelling in Hat Yao

For visitors with only one day to spend in Koh Phi Phi, snorkelling in Hat Yao should be the top choice of activity. The water is crystal clear and the temperatures warm, maximising the chance of seeing an array of colourful and exotic marine creatures. Black-tipped sharks and clownfish are often spotted here.

Hike to Ao Lo Dalam

Not just a beautiful beach destination, Koh Phi Phi also boasts many beautiful sights on land. One of the best and easiest ways to experience these is by hiking the island, a popular route being the comfortable 30-minute hike to a viewpoint at the southern end of Ao Lo Dalam. Expect a quiet, pretty bay with a curve of white sand, skimming the crystal blue water. It’s the perfect setting for a swim after a sweaty walk.

Escape to Ao Pileh Bay

Ao Pileh Bay is a secluded piece of Thai paradise. This large, shallow cove is surrounded by enormous limestone cliffs, covered in lush foliage. Below, the super clear water covers a colourful coral reef, teeming with tropical fish. Grab your snorkel and bikini – this is a prime swimming spot, as well as a good place for sunbathing. Get there early to beat the crowds.

Kayak around Koh Phi Phi

One of the most popular activities attracting visitors to Koh Phi Phi is kayaking. It’s a great way to explore secluded coves and caves that larger boats aren’t able to reach. They are readily available to rent across Phi Phi Don, so no need to book ahead. Ask the rental staff where the best places are to visit nearby – just make sure you arrive back before sunset.

Visit Mosquito Island

Aptly titled, Mosquito Island is home to a plethora of bothersome mosquitoes, so don’t forget to bring your bug spray. But don’t let these pesky critters put you off, as this island boasts some of the most famous shipwrecks in the region. The well-known King Cruiser wreck is one of the most popular sights, a premier wreck diving destination measuring 85m (279ft) from bow to stern. This is a top diving spot and provides hours of activity for keen divers.

Go shark watching

Blacktip reef and leopard sharks patrol the waters around Koh Phi Phi. You’ll need to get up early to see these beautiful predators on a boat tour from Phi Phi Don. The best place to see them is at Shark Point, located just off Long Beach. Make sure you choose a responsible tour operator who gives the sharks plenty of space and does not feed them.
Escape the crowds around Koh Phi Phi by hiring a boat through SamBoat – no experience necessary. Alternatively, book a week-long sailing adventure with Dream Yacht Charter.

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