All six of the Phi Phi islands in southern Thailand boast paradisiacal beaches and breathtaking coral gardens under crystal-clear water. At night, the main island of Phi Phi Don is the place to be.
The Phi Phi Islands are located in the Andaman Sea in the south of Thailand and are each about 40 kilometres away from the well-known tourist destinations of Phuket and Krabi. Since 1983, the Phi Phi Islands have been part of the Hat Noppharat Thara - Kho Phi Phi National Park and their flora and fauna are therefore strictly protected.
In the 1980s, the Phi Phi Islands were only known to the resident sea gypsies and a few backpackers. Over time, however, more and more short holidaymakers became aware of this paradisiacal gem off the coast of Thailand. At the latest since the film "The Beach" with Leonardo DiCaprio, which was shot on the Phi Phi Islands, the dreamlike atoll has become world-famous.
PICTURES: Phi Phi Islands
Holiday on the Phi Phi Islands
Welcome to paradise! The Phi Phi Islands consist of six atolls that are arguably some of the most beautiful islands in the world. Resorts and other accommodation options are available on the islands in every price range. The Phi Phi Islands can be reached by ferry from Phuket or Krabi in about one and a half hours.
Main Island Phi Phi Don
With 28 square kilometres, the largest and only (halfway) inhabited island of Ko Phi Phi Don is known primarily as a bathing island. Like any other of the Phi Phi islands, it boasts absolutely breathtaking sandy beaches. The colourful corals at the bottom of the white-sand bay can already be seen from the boat through the crystal-clear water. The stretches of coast that are not covered by powder-fine sand fall steeply downhill in rocky cliffs, and the interior of the islands is mostly overgrown with dense jungle.
Ton Sai Bay is the harbour for Phi Phi Don's ferries, longboats and speedboats. Do not be irritated: The water is churned up and murky due to the shipping traffic - the crystal clear sea can be found in the calmer bays in the surrounding area, or in Ton Sai Bay in the early morning or evening. Directly on the shore in Ton Sai Village is the Phi Phi Islands tourist information centre, which offers restaurants, inexpensive bars, resorts, banks, small shops, supermarkets and travel agencies.
Tip: Be sure to eat a fish steak at least once; beef steaks are not recommended.
Loh Dalum Bay is just opposite the harbour. Boats dock here too, but this beach is better suited for swimming and bathing. And in the evening, it's only a stone's throw to the buzzing nightlife in Ton Sai Village.
If anyone has had enough of swimming and sunbathing, they can make their way to the Phi Phi Don viewpoint. The short hike to the highest point of Phi Phi Don takes about half an hour and rewards with an unforgettable panoramic view over the Andaman Sea. From the top, there are also other paths to hidden beaches.
The other beaches on Phi Phi Don cannot be reached on foot, but only by long boat, for example Laem Thong Bay, a dreamy, long beach with bungalows, restaurants, bars and dive shops, or Loh Bagao Bay, which is about 20 minutes' drive from Ton Sai Bay and clearly belongs to the more upmarket price category.
Phi Phi Lee
On the second main island, Ko Phi Phi Lee, which is somewhat smaller at just under 7 square kilometres, bathing and diving enthusiasts will also find dream beaches and fantastic coral gardens, but neither inhabitants nor roads (there are none on Phi Phi Don either, by the way).
The neighbouring island of Phi Phi Lee can also be visited by boat. Maya Bay, where "The Beach" was filmed, is particularly well known. Other small bays on Phi Phi Lee are also worth seeing, as well as the swallow's nest caves where the migratory birds have built their nests in the airy heights.
Koh Phai and Koh Yung
The absolutely uninhabited islands of Koh Phai or Koh Yung, with their secluded beaches and quiet bays, are also worth a visit for swimming. The latter also has stony beaches to offer, where the water is - believe it or not - even clearer. Here you will find the most beautiful coral gardens of the Phi Phi Islands.
Bida Nok and Bida Noi
On the last two islands, Bida Nok and Bida Noi, there are hardly any interesting beaches due to their steep coasts. Diving trips there are nevertheless a good idea, as there is a breathtaking underwater world to explore around the islands. The walls of the islands drop almost vertically over 20 metres in some places.
Wherever you go by long boat and spread out your beach towel, make sure you have snorkelling or diving equipment with you! The shoals of multi-coloured reef fish among the corals are almost reflected in the snow-white sand and the visibility underwater is an absolute dream!
Advanced divers can also venture into Thailand's most beautiful underwater rock landscape, Hin Daeng and Hin Muang. Caution: Here the water is relative and the currents are treacherous!