Guide to Phi Phi Island (Part One)

last stop, phi phi island!

so we knew we wanted to see thailand from all facets of life hence why we started in the big city, worked our way north to the jungle and finally flew south for the island life.

there are many islands/peninsulas to choose from including koh samui, koh phi phi, railay, krabi, phuket… this list literally goes on and on. it made it quite difficult to choose where to have our home base. i had heard that it was easy to visit surrounding islands by water taxi but home base to me was crucial. i finally settled on koh phi phi (pronounced pee pee) but it really was on a whim after much frustration with weighing the pros and cons for all the islands.
i don’t regret my whim one bit.

koh phi phi is stunning although time consuming to travel to so be warned. we took a taxi from our chiang mai hotel to chiang mai airport then caught a flight to phuket (via air asia because one of the only direct flights — great airline). from phuket, we took a taxi to the ferry station (40 min+ taxi ride) then a ferry to koh phi phi (about 2 hour ferry ride — it is air conditioned!).

stepping off the ferry into the heat of koh phi phi was thrilling and overwhelming. there are so many people getting off with you and trying to find their hotel rep.
we were told by our hotel that there would be someone to greet us and take us to the hotel. little did we know that all the hotels provide the same service and so the long list of hotel reps can be daunting. we finally found our rep after countless questions to the other reps. i expected him to show us the way to the shuttle. wrong! there are no cars on the island. he took our bags and led us through a sea of people and dirt roads. ten minutes later, we had arrived (my whole body completely sweating ha — the heat and humidity are real).

but please don’t let all the traveling time get you down, it really is worth it. i just wanted to add a little background because i felt a little clueless when arriving.

now to the fun part.  i have put together a city guide of all the best things to do , eat and see on this picturesque island they call phi phi.

Guide to Phi Phi, Thailand (2)

snorkeling tour of surrounding islands – there are many companies on the island that provide similar snorkeling excursions. we chose to do the afternoon excursion with ibex climbing and tours. it was a great way to see the surrounding islands including monkey beach, maya bay (no sign of leo sadly) and pileh lagoon. i do recommend ibex because our tour guide, richard, was so fun to be around and knowledgeable. we actually booked the tour online before traveling to thailand but it was not necessary.

below is a picture of maya bay. it is a little overcrowded during the day because of all the different boating companies but it really took my breath away. some of our friends that we met in thailand actually camped on maya bay for a night and i think that would be a great option to beat the crowds.

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scuba diving - don’t have your scuba license ? no problem. most scuba companies on the island will allow you to dive down to 12 meters without a license. i was a little apprehensive so decided to sit this one out but b went and loved it. he claimed it was 1000x better than snorkeling. b was able to swim with eels, small sharks, schools of fish, etc. his two dives in phi phi are going towards his scuba certification! he is hooked.

hike to the viewpoint – completely exhausting yet completely worth it. please do this hike in the early morning or early evening and not as we did in the heat of the day because it is intense with the sun beating down on you and lots of humidity. and yes i am not the most physically fit person so you may say pish posh to my advice but it appeared everyone around us was winded by the end of the hike (besides the locals who climbed it speedily and with ease).

the hike to the viewpoint is about this steep the whole way up.

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then you see this view and it all seems worth it.

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how darling is the seating up at the viewpoint? makes me wish i would have brought a deck of cards or tea set.

hire a private long tail and escape to bamboo island – one of my favorite activities! there are many boats available for hire on the island that will take you anywhere you want to go. we were deciding between mosquito and bamboo island and in the end settled on bamboo island. bamboo island is a 40 min boat ride from phi phi. it is a small island with nothing on it but a small snack bar and gorgeous beaches–just the way i like it! the sand is white and soft. the water is crystal clear. i kept on pointing out how pretty the water color was to b on the boat ride. it was like nothing i had ever seen before.  be sure to lather up on sunscreen because the sun is strong and the white sand reflects back on you (or so we think because of our sunburns ha).
note! you may try to haggle with them about pricing to the nearby islands but it doesn’t do much good. it appears they are all in an alliance to have the same pricing. oh and you will have to pay a national park fee in addition to the taxi fee for bamboo island, maya bay and mosquito island.

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hike to long beach – we originally thought it would be a short walk to long beach from our hotel. news flash–it is a hike through the jungle. you may feel lost at times since there appears to be no clear path but never worry, the thais have you covered with their storybook style road signs. long beach is the best beach for swimming and lounging on the island. there are two restaurants close to the beach that provide decent food so i would recommend eating before or after. there are a few hotels on this side of the island and part of me thinks it would be dreamy to wake up with a view of long beach but it is fairly secluded from the city portion of the island.

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and now I am looking at what a long post this is turning out to be so what do you say we keep the best place to eat and stay for next time?

have i got you buying a ticket to thailand yet?



linked to: treat yo’ self

  • Natalia | Glitter and Passport

    You’ve convinced me! I was actually thinking about making it out to Thailand this summer and visiting Phuket but I heard people say that it tends to rain a lot in August. Hope you had an amazing time! Thanks for sharing :)


    • Emily

      Yes, August is technically rainy season but you never know and I hear hotel rates are cheaper then. The best time to travel to Thailand (weather wise) is between Nov-April. We were in Phucket for mere hours but I was advised by a lot of travelers to not stay too long as is it is just one big party city. But if that is what you were looking for than perfect! So excited for you and your potential travels! xx

  • Jenna

    I have always wanted to visit Koh Phi Phi! It looks so beautiful. Luckily I did have the chance to spend a week in Koh Samui a few years ago, but I didn’t get to see any of those amazing rock sculptures that you get in the Phi Phi islands. Hopefully I’ll have the chance to go back someday.


  • Marko Krist

    Thanks Emily for this amazing post :)
    The Beach and Koh Phi Phi has been my long time dream and
    now after finding your post even more.

    Your post however made me feel like I’m already there and
    I think I got a little sunburn :)

    And I have to mention I love your blog overall, can I best say it..

    so full of love and light :)

    I wish you the most amazing travels and adventures,

    Love and light,
    Marko ‘X Ray Cat’

    • Emily

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Marko! I am glad I was able to transport you back to the island life even if only for a few moments. Hope you get to make it a reality soon! Phi Phi is incredible.

      Thank you also for the shout out on your blog. It made my week! xx

      • Marko ‘X Ray Cat’ Krist

        Thanks Emily, it was my pleasure :)

        I actually just sent you an email too,
        and when you reply to me I have an idea I’d like to run by you.

        Love and light

    • Julie S Kalungi

      I absolutely agree with Marko, Your blog has brought this Place alive for me and I just cant help but add it to my Bucket list. Fortunately My treks are hugely funded via an elite travel club an this wont cost a fortune :) Thanks for Sharing Emily!

      • Emily

        Thank you, Julie! So glad Phi Phi is now on your bucket list because I truly believe it is a must see. That is awesome that your travels are paid for (jealous) but Phi Phi is also quite cheap in respect to the US dollar if you did have to pay for it. Well worth it!

        • Julie S Kalungi

          Hi Emily :) Jealous ha I was the jealous one reading your article. But seriously you can stretch your Dollar even further & travel like the rockstar you are Emily. So any time you wish to learn how we fund our travels, its open to any discerning travelista. Give me a shout out @ I will be happy to share.

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