The quintessential Thai travel destination, the Phi Phi Islands are a hot favourite for their stunning sandy white beaches fringed by spectacular limestone cliffs and aquamarine waters. One of the most picturesque islands in the world, you'll marvel at the stunning movie-set, desert-island scenery, both above and below the waterline.
The frequent visits of dive boats from neighbouring provinces attest to the high quality of the scuba diving at the islands. With 15 or so main sites being just a few minutes ride from the main island, this is one of the cheapest locations to go diving in Thailand - just don't expect the boats to be of the same high quality as those in Phuket. It also means that you'll be back on land in good time with plenty of opportunity to sunbathe, dine out, rest and soak up the chilled-out atmosphere. Other activities include yachting, waterskiing, fishing, sea kayaking, hiking and climbing.
Phi Phi will never be home to quite as many large resorts as places like Phuket and Koh Samui, so although popular, it is less of a mass tourism destination than some of the nearby alternatives. Many travellers are fascinated to visit these alluring islands that were featured in the film 'The Beach' starring Leonardo di Caprio.
Whichever option you choose, stays of 1 week are ideal. Packages normally include diving and lunch on the boat.
In high season many places are fully booked so make sure you book well in advance to avoid disappointment.
It's also possible to visit these sites on a liveaboard diving safari, if you prefer.
The tropical climate on Koh Phi Phi ensures that it is warm throughout the year with a great deal of sunshine. From November to January the northeast monsoon prevails bringing clear blue skies and light breezes. The wind drops from February to May when the weather is at its best but can get hot. Phi Phi Island enjoys 26 sunny days per month from November through to May.
From late May to October the southwest monsoon brings showers and winds to the west coast of southern Thailand. But the rain is often light and there are still 20 sunny days per month, however you can experience heavy rain at any time here. The sea can get quite rough during this time of year and swimmers should take care.
The hottest time of the year on Phi Phi Island occurs between April and May when the average temperature is 33°C but the odd rain shower can bring some relief from the heat. It can also be hot between September and October but there are more frequent showers at this time which have the effect of cooling the temperature right down.
The tourist High Season runs from November to April and Peak Season is in December and January. We recommend you avoid this time of year as it is more difficult to find accommodation and prices are higher particularly around Christmas and New Year. This is when Phi Phi's dive sites are very crowded too.
Diving runs all year round on Phi Phi so you can visit any time of the year, but perhaps the best time to stay is from February to April. There are fewer tourists and the choice and value-for-money for accommodation is much better. The weather is also at its best and the dive sites around Phi Phi are less crowded at this time of year.
Review our Phi Phi dive site descriptions for details of the seasonal diving conditions.
Phi Phi Island is situated in Krabi Province at the southern edge of Phang Nga Bay in southern Thailand, 48 km from Phuket and 40 km from Krabi Town. You can take a boat to reach the main island of Phi Phi Don from Phuket or Ao Nang in Krabi; both journeys take between 1-2 hours and the scenery makes for an enjoyable trip.
Both Krabi and Phuket have international airports, however it is much easier to get a flight to Phuket due to the large volume of tourists that travel there. More information on how to get to: Phuket and Krabi.
You might like to consider taking out insurance to cover diving and travel activities, including trip cancellation. See our insurance programme for a competitive rate:
Phi Phi Don is the largest of the islands and is shaped like a figure 8 with beautiful white sandy beaches around the edges. This is the site of the island's original Muslim fishing village called Baan Tonsai. The village has grown considerably and has now become a centre of guesthouses, hotels, cafes and bungalows.
From Baan Tonsai you can take the scenic coastal path to Had Yao or Long Beach which takes about an hour to walk. The scenery is stunning with gorgeous white sands, turquoise seas and uninterrupted views of the dramatic cliffs of Phi Phi Leh to the south. You can also climb the steep trails up Phi Phi Don's 2 hilly ridges to the View Point, where you'll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the island.
There are spectacular coral beds off Had Yao at Hin Pae that thrive with vibrant marine life. This provide some of the best snorkelling in Thailand, and is also a good place to watch blacktip reef sharks - especially in the early morning when they are out and about feeding.
The central part of the island can be a noisy place to stay so we recommend you stay outside Tonsai Village on the eastern and southern side of the island. Here the beautiful beaches are clean with fewer tourists but with plenty of choice of hotels, restaurants and bars.
Phi Phi Leh is popular with day-trippers and snorkelers. The island has shallow aquamarine lagoons and coral gardens surrounded by sheer limestone walls - a true tropical paradise. The island also has 2 magnificent beaches, in Loh Samah Bay and Maya Bay - made famous as the setting for the Hollywood film 'The Beach'.
It is an uninhabited island and remains completely unspoilt. However, there are always lots of boats bringing people on day trips to see the beaches, Pileh Bay, and the paintings in Viking Cave. The cave also houses the 'edible' swiftlet nests - once used to make birds' nest soup. Trade in these nests is illegal but because they are so valuable armed guards have been brought in to protect the caves and staying overnight on the island is prohibited.
Scuba diving at Phi Phi Leh is of course the main attraction with some great dive sites. The island has some protection within the boundaries of the Mu Koh Phi Phi Marine National Park.
There is no shortage of restaurants on Phi Phi Island and lots of different types of cuisine. Whether you fancy Italian or German, seafood or local Thai food, you can easily find what you're looking for. There are also 2 bakeries here selling fresh bread, delicious cakes and tantalising savoury pastries.
In Tonsai village there are several lively bars and clubs. There are no cinemas but some of the bars show films all day and all night. Listen to music at Carlito's Bar while you drink a cold beer or cocktail with your feet in the sand. Later, move on to the Reggae Bar, or Apache Bar where you can dance the whole night away.
The island offers surprisingly little to shoppers, especially when compared to wealth of choices on neighbouring Phuket Island. There are a few shops selling beachwear, basic provisions and souvenirs, but that's about all she wrote. You best advised to wait until you get back to Phuket for shopping.
You should be delighted to read that Phi Phi does not have any roads. Most tourists walk about the central area of main island but there are also a few bicycles for rent. Longtail boats are the only practical means of exploring the other islands or to get to the other cut-off sections of the main island. You'll need to negotiate a fare beforehand when you make us of a boat.