Phi Phi Island, Thailand
Phi Phi Island is Thailand’s island-superstar. It’s been in the movies. It’s the topic of conversation for travelers all over Thailand. For some, it’s the only reason to touchdown in Phuket. Even with all the hype, it doesn’t disappoint. Phi Phi’s beauty is a large chunk of the allure.
Many people think that Phi Phi islands group belong to Phuket province but actually Phi Phi Island belongs to Nopparat Thara National Park, Krabi Province. It’s approximately 42 km south from Krabi Town and 40 km from Ao Nang Beach, 48 Km southeast from Phuket. They can be reached in between 1 1/2 to 3 hours depending on the type of boat you choose.
Daily ferries leave from Phuket town (Rassada pier, Songserm pier), Krabi town (Chao Fah pier), Nopparat Tara beach, and Krabi Deep sea port. The Islands are very near both of Phuket and Krabi province. Just head to the pier in any of those 2 cities (Phuket and Krabi), or buy the boat ticket from local travel agency normally the ticket prices are inclusive of transfer service from your hotel and the you can catch the ferry boat.
Phi Phi consists of six small islands south of Phuket which overflow with fine sandy beaches that give way to soaring limestone cliffs to form spectacular scenery. Add crystal clear water, a refreshing lack of roads, plus a laid-back lifestyle, and it’s easy to see why Phi Phi is one of southern Thailand’s most popular destinations.
The islands, when approached by boat, rise from the sea like a fortress. Sheer cliffs tower overhead, then give way to beach-fronted jungle. It’s love at first sight. The second part of the why-we-love-this-place story is attitude: few places on the planet are this laid-back. Of the two islands, one is completely free of human inhabitants (Phi Phi Leh), and the other is without roads (Phi Phi Don). There’s no schedule, no hustle-and-bustle, no reason to be in a hurry. As an added bonus, Phi Phi is affordable. Destinations this beautiful are often reserved for those that can pay dearly. That’s not the case here; Phi Phi has something for every budget. You might be surprised – that perfect beachfront room costs less than you expect.
Maya Bay is a stunningly beautiful bay that’s sheltered by 100-metre high cliffs on three sides. Inside the bay there are several beaches, most are small and some only exist at low tide. The main one is around 200 metres long with silky soft white sand, underwater colourful coral and exotic fish in exceptionally clear water; the whole bay is one big reef.
Maya Bay has become the main tourist attraction of Phi Phi since The Beach was filmed here in 1999. It was always very popular before the film but now people around the world who haven’t even heard of Phi Phi have certainly heard of Maya Bay.
The best time to visit Maya Bay is between November and April during the high season when seas are calm and access to the bay is easy. Rough seas from May to October may hinder access but rarely deny entry.
The bad news; as it’s so beautiful and so well known many boats are required to ferry all the visitors in and out. On any given day at any time there will be 30 + speedboats and longtail boats on the beach, with large ferry boatscarrying hundreds of snorkelers and sightseers moored in deeper water. Beautiful it is, secluded it isn’t – thousands of people visit each day. Try to visit early in the morning or after 17:00 and you’ll avoid the crowds.
Please note that if you enter the bay on your own there is a National Park entry fee of 200 baht. This cost is included in the price of a tour.