Koh Phi Phi Don is the larger of two Phi Phi Islands in Krabi Province, 8 kilometers long and 3.5 km. at its widest point. The perimeter of Phi Phi Don measures about 30 kilometers around, with a land area of 12 sq. km. The smaller Phi Phi Lee Island is found just 2 km. south. Ko Phi Phi Don is part of Krabi Province: just 25 km. east is Ko Lanta Island in Trang Province; 31 km. north are the beaches of Krabi; and about 40 km. to the west is Phuket Island. Coming from Phuket Island: to reach the Phi Phi Islands will take two to three hours over water or about five hours combining a vehicle on the road to Krabi and a boat out to Ko Phi Phi Don.
In the past Koh Phi Phi was known as a place for backpackers to waste away months at a time on as little money as possible. Today things are much different. After the Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004 destroyed many businesses and homes, Ko Phi Phi Don was then rebuilt from the ground up. Some would say it’s overbuilt and too touristy. There are certainly large crowds most every day of the year but it’s still fun for most people to spend a day or two – especially if you’re into the nightlife. There are plenty of places to stay, lots of great food to try and things to do on Phi Phi.
Some of the best beaches in Krabi are found in these islands. Here are some beaches we suggest you see before you leave the island: Nui Beach, Loh Lana Bay, Phak Nam Bay, Tohko Beach and Ao Por Beach. Besides the large beaches you’re likely to see anyway, make a special effort to see some of these lovely spots to make your vacation the best it can be.
The Phi Phi Islands have become mainstream so, as with Koh Samui and Phuket, you can find parasailing, wake boarding, jet skis, diving and snorkeling at any of the big beaches. Small beaches are less crowded but the crowds can be overwhelming there as well. One respite? As with any of Thailand’s islands you’ll find yoga and meditation along with health and beauty spas of every sort offered at most fine resorts.
Kayaking (sea canoes they’re sometimes called) the Andaman Sea is one of the most rewarding adventures you’ll have on Phi Phi. Kayak rental centers open early on Tonsai Beach or Loh Dalam Bay – some as early as 4 am.! Put together a picnic of mixed food and head out to explore Koh Phi Phi Don for a few hours. The views are spectacular. Kayak rental cost on Phi Phi Don is around 800 Thai Baht per day.
Accommodation from cheap (200 THB!) to stratospheric (15,000 THB) prices are available. The sweet spot seems to be that for around 2,500 THB you can get a really decent room in a fine resort:
– Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort – this one tops the reviews and is reasonably priced for a luxury property at 5,500 THB per night. Over 4,000 reviews at 4.5 rating out of 5 mean it’s going to be a good bet if you’re planning on staying in class while on Phi Phi. Modern furnishings, deep pools and good food make this great for families or couples. Located on the northeast side of Phi Phi Don Island.
– Zeavola Resort & Spa – one search showed rooms available for just 5,000 THB and another showed 14,000 THB. There are wild fluctuations during slow season; and besides beating the crowds, lower priced rooms are another reason to plan your stay from May through October. Located at the most northern point of Koh Phi Phi Don Island.
– Phi Phi The Beach Resort – offers value and location for between 2,200 and 3,000 THB and would probably suit most people looking for a room on Phi Phi Don Island. As in many Phi Phi locations outside of built-up areas, long tail boats are essential and fees can become excessive. Location is on the southeast section of Phi Phi Don, but the beach is facing southwest.
– Aroy Kaffeine – you’d never guess it by looking at it, but this is the #1 rated restaurant on Phi Phi Don. Meals are moderately priced and they offer both Thai and other international dishes. Located on the land-bridge near Tonsai Pier.
– Efe Mediterranean Cuisine Restaurant – for something different, you’ll find Mediterranean, European and Turkish food at this amazing little café. Prices are very reasonable and it is centrally located on the land-bridge near Tonsai Pier.
– The Mango Garden (Dessert!) – when you want the best dessert on the islands at reasonable price, go there for mango waffles and sticky rice. Located on the land-bridge near Tonsai Pier.
– Jasmine Restaurant – very affordable food at excellent prices. The ambiance isn’t too bad either with beach side tables. You can find this cozy little restaurant at the far northeastern peninsula of Koh Phi Phi Don.
Getting to Koh Phi Phi Don Island from Phuket:
– Ocean travel by ferry from Phuket is best from November through April, and time on the water is around two to three hours.
– Over land you can take a vehicle from Phuket to Krabi’s Noppharat Thara Beach (about three hours), then a speedboat or ferry from there to Tonsai Pier in the Phi Phi Islands (about two hours).