Phi Phi Don
Koh Phi Phi is often the name given to the biggest of the Phi Phi archipelago islands. Phi Phi has a split personality. One side of the island is extremely quiet, some may argue bordering on boring but for us, it was the ideal location for a relaxing family holiday. The main area of the island is the party centre and where the action is. Many people do not like the party nature of Phi Phi, but it is easily avoided.
Koh Phi Phi Accommodation | Phi Phi Don
There are many accommodation options, from budget to high-end luxury.
how to get to Phi Phi Islands
To reach Phi Phi Don you can get a private transfer or the much cheaper ferry from Phuket or Krabi, and other Thai island locations in the area. On a private boat, the journey will take 2-3 hours depending on the speedboat type and horsepower it generates. The distance from both main ports is around 40 kilometres. It is a long journey from Phuket due to the distance of the Phuket port. and will take 2-3 hours depending on the boat. It is important to note that longtail boat access is limited if there is any swell and is impractical from Phuket or Krabi.
Phi Phi Leh
The images of Phi Phi Le and Maya Bay are often quoted as the inspiration for people going to Thailand in the first place. When you see the photos with not a sole on the beach you can see why. Unfortunately, the popularity Maya Bay has subsequently received following The Beach, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, has had a massive impact on Phi Phi Leh. There can be in excess of 1000 people on this tiny strip of beach per day. Just think about that for a minute! It is an uncontrolled industry and I am surprised boating accidents do not occur more frequently.
How to get to Maya Bay or Phi Phi Le
Private or group speedboat is the most common way to get to Maya Bay. A longboat is an option during the calmer months from November to April/May. If you do take a longboat and there is any type of swell you cannot access Maya Bay. You can go to the back of the island and climb up a rather dangerous looking rope. I would not say anyone under 15 should even attempt to do this. A strong swimming ability is essential.
My husband went snorkelling when we were at the back of Koh Phi Phi Le and said it was pretty with lots of fish. It is important to encourage any operators to not feed the fish and this leads to an imbalance of fish numbers.
Maya Bay is the drawn card. Its beautiful, and popularity, after being the basis of the movie The Beach has led to some serious environmental issues in the area. Maya Bay is undeniably beautiful but the 1000s that arrive each day is not. In 1999 and everyone was talking about The Beach as they had just finished filming. We visited Maya Bay, there were around 5 or 10 longboats and the water was the clearest I had ever seen. I can remember thinking, I don’t think it will remain like this very long. Fast forward nearly 20 years and in the high season, more than 1000 people can visit this tiny beach.
You can either avoid the bay altogether and enjoy the surrounding smaller islands. Or your trip to Maya Bay should be scheduled so you are departing Phi Phi Don very early in the morning or in the late afternoon.
The other option is staying on a ‘sleep aboard’ boat although they are not really family orientated but do allow children aboard. There is the option of night-snorkeling and seeing glowing plankton.