The Phi Phi Islands are one of the most scenic places in all of Southeast Asia – or even the entire world. Every vista, every beach, and every scenic drive offers one amazing natural viewpoint that is more jaw-dropping than the one that came before it.
Located about 26 miles west of the Krabi coast, the Phi Phi Islands are made up of six smaller islands within a single archipelago. The only inhabited island is Koh Phi Phi Don, which also happens to be the largest of the islands.
You could spend a month exploring the Phi Phi Islands and still not see a fraction of the natural beauty they have to offer. But to make the most of your time there, here are some of the must-see sights to visit during your time there.
Koh Phi Phi Leh and Maya Bay
If you’ve ever seen the 2000 movie “The Beach”, which starred Leonardo di Caprio, then you have already seen the beach at Maya Bay. It looks just as it did on the big screen: Crystal clear blue waters and a fine white sandy beach and that is surrounded by a lush, tropical jungle.
In short, it resembles what everybody imagines what a sub-tropical island paradise should look like. Although it is remote –located on the uninhabited island of Koh Phi Phi Leh – the beach at Maya Bay is a popular attraction for many visitors the Phi Phi Islands and can become quite crowded during the busiest season, which runs from November until May.
Still, it’s indescribable beauty and remoteness from the rest of civilization makes it worth the trip.
The Scenic Overlook at Koh Phi Phi Don
No trip to the Phi Phi Islands would be complete without a photograph taken at the Phi Phi viewpoint atop Koh Phi Phi Don. The main village is located on a short strip of sand that is nestled between two tall, steep mountains. This makes it the perfect place to snap an exotic photo that you can cherish forever.
But getting to the scenic overlook isn’t easy. You have to climb a relatively steep path for about 30 minutes to arrive there. And it can get hot, so it’s a good idea to plan your visit during the day’s cooler, earlier hours. If you forget to bring your own refreshments, there a small general store where you can buy snacks and drinks at the end of your trek.
Snorkeling Off Bamboo Island
The colorful underwater aquatic life is plentiful throughout the Phi Phi Islands, but nowhere is it more incredible than on Bamboo Island. The island is an uninhabited strip of land that lies just northeast of Koh Phi Phi Don that features a dense forest of bamboo trees surrounded by a white sand beach.
If you are an experienced snorkeler or simply want to try it for the first time, Bamboo Island will provide you with an experience you will never forget. It features world-class coral reefs that are bustling with underwater life – most of which are only a few yards off shore.
The western side is the best place to go, but can sometimes get crowded. But you can’t go wrong anywhere you choose to snorkel on Bamboo Island.
That abandoned pirate ship you can see from Koh Phi Phi Don’s main pier isn’t real. It’s actually a type of island amusement park called Pirate Island.
The attraction has only been open since 2012 but already has become one of the most popular destinations in the entire Phi Phi Island chain. It includes an electronic shooting range, a virtual reality roller coaster that lets you choose from four different scenarios – the Haunted Mine, the Cosmic Coaster, the Ravine Racer, or the Canyon Coaster—and a genuinely scary haunted house.
Rock Climbing at Tonsai Tower
If you are into rock climbing, you will find a considerable challenge that is both fun and exciting at Tonsai Beach. Tonsai Tower rises more than 650 feet straight up, but it is made of soft limestone and features 48 different bolted routes you can take up the side of it.
Tonsai Tower, along with other outstanding rock climbing opportunities, offers unparalleled adventures for every skill level, from the most seasoned professional to the absolute beginner. If you don’t own your own rock climbing harnesses and other equipment, this can be rented at various nearby places. There are also many rock climbing schools and guides you can hire that will take you to the best spots and help you hone your rock climbing skills, all while keeping you safe from falling.
The Phi Phi Islands truly are a magical destination where you can literally choose your adventure. If you want to experience the real Southeast Asian experience that gets you closer to nature than you ever thought possible, then this is the place for you.
Author Bio – John Smith, the author of this guest piece writes for Phi Phi ferry occasionally.