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How long to spend on Phi Phi Island

Globetrotters


Phi Phi - Tonsai pierDAY 1

Morning Tonsai & Loh Dalum Bay
Afternoon Phi Phi Ley (Maya Bay)
Evening Phi Phi Viewpoint & Loh Dalum Bay

For the large majority of tourists, Phi Phi is only visited as a day trip from Phuket, Krabi or Ko Lanta. As a Globetrotter, you can get a feel for the island and see it’s beauty in this time, but it may leave you wanting to stay for more! When your ferry first docks at Tonsai Pier, have 20 Baht (approx $0.50c) per person in cash ready to pay the national park tax to stay on the island, however if you are only there for the day you will not need to pay this. Head straight for Loh Dalum Bay, a 5min walk from the pier and is a beautiful beach which sits on the other side of the island to the pier. Spend the morning relaxing in the waters or walking along the beach, and I can recommend the beachfront restaurants too, great spots for lunch.

Of course, Phi Phi’s main claim to fame comes from the Leonardo DiCaprio movie “The Beach” which was filmed in Maya Bay on the smaller of the two islands, Phi Phi Ley. You can see the island in the distance from Tonsai. In the afternoon get on a speed boat tour that will take you there, but will also visit some other sights on Phi Phi Ley along the way (typically the Viking Cave, Pile Bay & Loh Samah Bay). Don’t expect Maya Bay to be as quiet or serene as it appeared in the movie. Many of the speed boats follow the same itinerary, all at similar price points too. You can also take a personal long tail but the price will be the same as joining a tour.

Many will say that a visit to the Phi Phi Viewpoint is an absolute must whilst on Phi Phi, but it’s just not practical to go in the middle of the day due to how physically demanding the climb is. Most day trippers will probably need to get their ferry back at this point so may not get a chance to do it. If you are staying overnight though, when it is cooler or ‘less stifiling’, sunset or sunrise is the perfect time to go up. It is quite challenging in parts (very steep stairs) so take plenty of water!

In the evening, for those in the mood to party, in recent years Loh Dalum Bay has transformed itself into the island’s party district, club after club all next to each other along the beachfront, with competing music and free fire shows. But if you just want to relax, this bay should be simply avoided! Some quieter spots are on the Tonsai side and there’s a good fire show near the pier.

Vacationers

Follow the Globetrotters itinerary for Day 1.


Phi Phi ViewpointDAY 2

Morning Long Beach
Afternoon Bamboo Island / Tour
Evening Tonsai

Having seen what a typical day tripper would see of Phi Phi, now it’s time to explore a little further. Yesterday’s spots are the most popular and most visited, however as a Vacationer you will discover that there are many other stunning beaches on Phi Phi Don. One of my favorites is Long Beach. It’s convenient as it’s only a cheap long tail ride 5mins from the pier, and is much quieter. As an added bonus, you will see quite a few different types of fish here, particularly at the eastern swimming area.

You could easily spend the entire day on Long Beach as there are a few places to dine at on the beachside as well. However if the morning on the sand is all you need, then consider heading out on a boat again to explore some other parts of Phi Phi Don and the islands on the north side. Bamboo Island is another personal favourite, fantastic for snorkelling.

If you didn’t get a chance to go up to the Phi Phi Viewpoint (pictured) on Day 1 and will be returning to Tonsai, consider doing it this evening (or first thing in the morning on Day 2 or 3) or perhaps check out the local markets and stalls back in the vicinity of the pier.


Phi Phi - Laem TongDAY 3

A vacationer should spend at least another full day or half day to take in the less-visited Phi Phi. You’ll realise that the entire island is not completely the overcrowded and exploited place that many guides would criticise it to be. Head out to one of the quieter beaches away from Tonsai, for example, Laem Tong on the north side. This is the ‘ritzy’ beach due to expensive 5-Star resorts being here, particularly Zeovola. It’s a very quiet, really stunning beach which can be accessed either by private long-tail, or if you can time it right, the Phi Phi ferry stops here after it stops via Tonsai, so you can just buy a return ticket to get on and off from there (the times are always changing but usually depart Tonsai around 10am-10:30am and return at around 2-2:30pm). Or if you want to spend longer relaxing here, take a long-tail back to your accommodation.

Culture Buffs

Phi Phi - Long BeachA trip to Phi Phi is all about nature, the scenery and the water. Therefore Culture Buffs could spend the same amount of time here that a Vacationer would.

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