Author: Lee Seaton Published 04th February 2018
The Phi Phi Islands
The Phi Phi Islands are an island group off the western coast of Thailand, between the large island of Phuket and the west Straight of Malacca coast of the mainland. The islands are part of Krabi province. Koh Phi Phi Don is the largest island of the group, and is the most populated island of the group. Although the beaches of the second largest island, Koh Phi Phi Lee are visited by many people as well. The islands are 694Km south west from Bangkok.
The Phi Phi Islands
The Phi Phi islands are made up of a number of islands. The most well known is koh Phi Phi Don as it is the only inhabited island in the group. Next is Koh Phi Phi Leh, the home to the now famous Maya bay. Then we have the lesser know islands that include Koh Yung (Mosquito island), Koh Mai Pai (bamboo island), Koh Bida Nai and Koh Bida Nok.
Population of Koh Phi Phi Don
The population of Koh Phi Phi Don island is around 2500 people. This is the main island of the group and is where you will stay should you wish too.
Religious make up of Population
Unlike most of Thailand, the population of the Phi Phi islands are mainly Muslim. Koh Phi Phi was initially populated in the late 1940’s by fishermen who were predominantly Muslim. This continues to be the same today with around 80% of the population being of Muslim faith.
History of the Phi Phi Islands
Following the initial inhabitation of the islands by fishermen, the Phi Phi islands later became a coconut plantation due to its climate and location.
Modern Day Phi Phi Islands
Today, the Phi Phi islands rely on tourism as the main source of economic income. Due to the number of stunning beaches the island has become home to many day visitors from Phuket. This was in part due to Koh Phi Phi Leh being the location for the film “The beach” starring Leonardo DiCaprio in 2000. This helped to make some of the islands scenic locations popular with tourists from all over the world.
Why do so many people visit the Phi Phi Islands? Most are here on day trips in the hope of getting some postcard pictures to take back home due to the stunning scenery. Others are here to enjoy one of the many parties on the beaches. Due to its warm climate and stunning scenery more and more people want to visit.
More than 5000 tourists arrive on Koh Phi Phi daily. If you are planning on visiting the national park areas you should expect to pay a 400 Thai baht entry fee. This is to aid with the keep Koh Phi Phi clean campaign. Due to the large number of tourists that visit this stunning location, Koh Phi Phi produces around 35 Tonnes of solid waste each day, and this helps with the clean-up costs.
From june 01st 2018 to September 30th 2018, Maya Bay will be closed to the public. This is to help with the environmental damage that has been caused by mass tourism. It is hoped that this brief closure will help with repairing some of the damage that has been caused by the influx of tourists in previous years.
Boxing Day Tsunami
Unfortunately the Phi Phi Islands along with Phuket were some of the worst hit locations during the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami. Some 250 people were reported dead in Phuket and 11 on the Phi Phi Islands. These included foreign tourists, and as many perhaps as a thousand Burmese workers building new beach resorts in the Khao Lak area. The Tsunami decimated large parts of Thailand’s western coastline and Islands were the locations that was most impacted upon. By July 2005 the damage from the tsunami was cleared meaning life on the island could begin to return to normal.
That being said, the islands attract a large number of adventure travellers each year. Popular activities include rock climbing and scuba diving in the waters off of the islands. This couple with the fantastic sunshine, it’s hard to not to want to visit.
Diving In the Phi Phi Islands
The Phi Phi islands offer some of the best places to go scuba diving in the world. The clear waters and unique ecosystem below the surface make for some of the best diving experiences in the world. Most dives will take place around Koh Bida Nok and Koh Phi Phi Leh. You will get to see some of the best sight of the Phi Phi islands from your boat including many of the famous beaches.
Beaches on the Phi Phi Islands
There are a number of beaches around the Phi Phi islands that include the famous Maya bay. But that is not the only stunning beach to be found. Others include Tonsai bay, Phak Nam Bay, Laem Tong Beach, Monkey beach, Long Beach, Loh Dalum Bay and Bamboo island. It will be hard to visit them all but many visitors will find time for a bit of sun seeking on at least one of them.
The beaches will often come alive at around 9pm when the fire shows begin. With a large number of parties beginning on the beaches at night it can often be hard to choose which one to go to. Many revellers will but a party bucket of alcohol and just frequent from party to party. These buckets include a bottle of spirits and a mixer. Just try and enjoy them responsibly. The warm climate will make you feel drunk quicker so it will be a good idea to hold back on the drinking.
Thailand is known for its warm weather and Koh Phi Phi is no exception to this. The average temperature for the year is 32.5 °C or 90.5°F. The hottest months are March, April and May. As with any tropical location though there will be rainfall at some point. The main months for heavy rainfall are September and October. During this time you can expect around 22 out of 30 days to have rainfall occur. That being said, December, January and February see the highest number of daily hours of sunshine, making this one of the most visited times of year.
How to get to Koh Phi Phi
This is actually quite simple if you are in Phuket or Krabi. You will have to get a ferry from Phuket or Krabi if you wish to visit the Phi Phi islands. These leave at regular intervals from their respective piers and take around about 2 hours to reach the islands. It is always best to arrive early for these as they can get pretty full later on during the day.
As an alternative to the ferry and you do not mind spending a little more money, you could travel by speedboat. This is a much faster option and will give you more time on the islands. The journey is usually quite calm, but can become quite bumpy during September - November. This will take around 50 minutes to arrive and will give you more time on the island.
Take a look at some of our recommendations below for some of the amazing things to see and do whist on your vacation to the Koh Phi Phi islands.