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Exciting Things to Do in the Unparalleled Phi Phi Islands

Exciting Things to Do in the Phi Phi Islands
With an almost paradise-like landscape, the Phi Phi Islands are no strangers to devoted beach-aholics. Vacayholics tells you how to best enjoy this heaven on earth.
Renuka Savant
Last Updated: Jul 31, 2017
Did You Know?
Tourism on Koh Phi Phi received a major boost after the release of Danny Boyle's 2000 film, The Beach, which was shot here. Until then, it was Phuket that was hogging the limelight among all of Thailand's islands.
Firstly, Phi Phi doesn't have anything to do with Phuket. This cluster of six islands are a part of the Krabi province, located approximately 30 miles south east of Phuket. Among the islands, Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh are the largest and most well-known. The latter, in fact, is a huge tourist magnet as it happens to boast of unparalleled natural beauty, and is devoid of human presence.

Mind you, this slice of paradise can only be accessed by speed boats or ferries―none of your fancy-schmancy private jets for Phi Phi. Moreover, there are no vehicles on the islands; you've got to find your way around by walking on your own two feet, or bicycling. It's like a whole new scenery if you're coming here from Bangkok, which is noisy, crowded, and polluted beyond imagination.

So, when you finally get an opportunity to get away from it all, Phi Phi is exactly where you should be heading to. And on arrival, this is what you're most likely to encounter.
Phi Phi Don
Phi Phi Don is the mainstay of these islands. The largest and the busiest, the island is a welcome change with its pedestrian-only policy. Head to the Phi Phi Viewpoint, which is a 30-minute hike to the top of a hill. The climb may seem a tad strenuous if you haven't been too keen on exercising. But the view from here is worth every step you take in the upward direction. And this is what it looks like.
Phi Phi Viewpoint
The panorama, of course, is magnificent. You can see all the way up to Phi Phi Leh along with Tonsai village and Loh Dalum Bay. Also, the island's typical dumbbell shape is clearly visible from here. Your best chances of clicking a picture like this are to reach the Viewpoint in the morning by 10. But if you thought that was it, check out the view of the sunset from the Viewpoint as well.
Sunset from the Viewpoint
It's sure to blow your mind away.
Just a word of caution, though. If you're planning to take the hike up to the viewpoint, do ensure that you have slathered a lot of mosquito repellent lotion on to yourself. The pests can simply ruin the moment for you.

The party scene is hot on Phi Phi Don, and the epicenter is usually the beach. There are several bars here that will sell you drinks in buckets (yes, they're small, but they're buckets, nevertheless), and play music all night long, while you're expected to party through the night in a neon-tinged haze.
Fire Juggling Show
There is also some daredevilry playing alongside―this is in the form of a few Thai youngsters putting up a fire juggling show. If you've not reached your "parallel universe" yet, this is quite an interesting show, certainly not to be missed.
Maya Bay
Maya Bay
Seems familiar? Well, obviously if you've seen Leonardo DiCaprio's The Beach.
The crew of The Beach movie drew a lot of flack for having mechanically modified the topography of Maya Bay to suit their needs, and even had to deal with legal action.
The Phi Phi Islands were close to destroyed post the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, but some courageous and dedicated rehabilitation has almost restored the area's scenic glory.

Getting back to business, the first thing that you must do when you come here, is just take in the surroundings. Yes, it's bound to be crowded all around, and the sun may also be too hot for comfort, but Maya Bay's natural beauty is as close as one can get to experiencing love at first sight―as long as you're magnanimous enough to ignore the excesses going on around you.
Getting here
You'll have to rent a water ride (longtail or speedboat) from Phi Phi Don to get here. These boat rides can be rented for a few hours or for the entire day. Longtails may cost you anywhere between USD 35-65, depending upon the duration. Speedboats are more expensive to rent, and will cost you between USD 100-200.

But if you're not interested in being on Maya Bay for extended hours, you can pick any of the tour boats that take you around other places, including Maya Bay. These tours cost USD 20-30 per person. Plus, there are day trip ferries departing daily from Krabi and Phuket which can get you here.
Things to do
Those interested in snorkeling need not look any further―people come to Maya Bay with the sole purpose of snorkeling. The water here is clear and calm, which also makes it perfect for kayaking.

Party lovers would want to try out the movie-themed parties that happen here every alternate night during tourist season.
Take a Day Cruise
The best (and only) way to explore Phi Phi Islands is to take a day trip, cruising around the islands. These trips are fun, relaxing, and are offered by several tour operators on Phi Phi Don.

These trips start as low as USD 20, going up to USD 50 or more for the 'Booze Cruise', which comes with the addition of unlimited alcohol throughout the day. Go in for the regular one, if sightseeing is really what you wish to do. If not, a booze cruise works well too.

The cruise takes you around the cluster of islands, offering magnificent views such as the one pictured below.
Monkey Bay
Monkey Bay is what it is―an island full of monkeys. Owing to incessant tourism around here, these simian residents are habituated to human presence, and do not have qualms about snatching your bag of chips or bottle of water, or even your hat. It's fun to watch it happen, as long as it happens to someone else, of course.
Cliff Jumping is another stunt you may want to take a swing at―provided you're not on the booze cruise, in which case, stay on the boat. This is an activity which involves climbing up a cliff and jumping into the sea from a height of 18 m. If you're sober, you should give it a try.
Cliff Jumping
The next stop is mostly on Phi Phi Leh, where you get to eat and relax for a few hours, following which, you'll have a chance to take a dip in the waters to meet the most amazing creatures that inhabit the Andaman Sea. Diving is an immensely popular activity here, owing to the presence of sharks. Don't worry, these shark belong to the docile species, like the blacktip reef sharks.
Along the islet of Hin Phae, especially, the best chances of seeing these creatures is by snorkeling. Blacktip reef sharks are known to shy away from the noise of the bubbles that diving tanks make, and tend to shelter themselves from divers. Hin Phae is a popular snorkeling site, located 200m west of Long Beach, Ko Phi Phi Don. It may or may not be a stop on your boat tour, but you can schedule a visit separately as well, right from Phi Phi Don.
If you'd ask me, when you take a trip to an island like Phi Phi, there's never a dull moment, even if you end up sleeping throughout the day, following a night of unabashed revelry. It makes for some really exciting memories, you see.