ALPHA STORIES, FOR THE SMART AND FREQUENT TRAVELER ABROAD
Discovering Phi Phi: The Ultimate Tropical Island Getaway
The Phi Phi Islands are the perfect destination to relax or party it up in Thailand. Spend your days exploring beaches with white sands and your nights dancing in open air parties or witnessing the craziness of Thai boxing. There are so many different activities to do on the islands you’ll want to spend your time carefully to experience it all. Below is the guide for the perfect blend of adventure and relaxation during your time on the islands.
There are two main options getting to the islands:
Take A Speedboat From Phuket
This option takes around two hours. The cheapest option will be to take a public ferry. I suggest booking your tickets in advance for the best prices as they can increase the day of travel. With that being said a public ferry can get quite crowded depending on the company, arrive at least an hour early to ensure you get ideal seats for the journey.
Travel on the Ferry From Krabi / Koh Lanta
This option takes about 90 minutes and is preferred by many. This is also good to book in advance and arrive early for, however, the shorter distance does make this ride overall more enjoyable.
Link to Book Ferry Tickets: https://www.phiphiferrytickets.com/
When Should I Visit?
The Phi Phi Islands are an ideal destination year round aside from September / early October because of the rainy season. The prime time for weather to visit is November – April, but a visit during this time also means large crowds and higher prices than the rest of the year. If possible go in May to beat the crowds and experience the serenity of empty beaches.
My Top Activity Recommendations
Maya Bay is one of the most famous attractions on the island and definitely what most people picture when they think of the Phi Phi Islands. This spot can get extremely crowded so it’s worth it to get up for sunrise if you don’t want tons of other people in the background of your photos. The boat ride over there can also be a little choppy, so bring dramamine if you are prone to seasickness. Note that due to environmental regulations, swimming in the bay is no longer allowed as of 2022 but you can get in knee deep.
Hiking on vacation might sound crazy, but the view from the Ko Phi Phi viewpoint is absolutely worth the journey. Alternatively you can hire a dirt bike taxi if the trek isn’t for you. The best time to take in the views are from 10am – 2pm. Sunset here is also straight out of a movie.
Diving / Snorkeling
Every beach you go to on the islands is worth bringing a snorkel to. The marine life around the island is equally as vibrant as its turquoise waters. I highly suggest booking a boat tour to dive the King Cruiser Wreck.
(Via Reggae Bar Website)
Experiencing Thai Boxing matches is truly a once in a lifetime experience and a central part of nightlife on the islands. Reggae Bar offers the ultimate watching experience and you can even take lessons here if you are curious to learn yourself. They offer a wide variety of drinks for you to sip on during the matches. During peak season I suggest calling to make a reservation for good seats.
Take in one of the island’s prettiest sunsets and witness the monkeys come out to play. For the best sunset view, arrive early to secure a prime spot. Remember to respect the wildlife and maintain a safe distance from the monkeys as they are known to be mischievous and can be aggressive when threatened.
If you are a Thai food lover, why not learn how to make it yourself? This Thai cooking class was so much fun and my mouth still waters thinking about the dishes we prepared. If you are interested in a class make sure you book at least one day in advance.
For an unforgettable visit to James Bond Island in the Phi Phi Islands, plan to arrive early to avoid crowds. I suggest choosing a guided tour that offers kayaking as it’s quite a fun way to explore. Be environmentally conscious by following guidelines from tour operators, make sure you have reef safe sunscreen!
$- Garlic 1992
If you want to experience what it’s like to eat like a local, check out this hole in the wall gem. It has a huge menu with so many local Thai options and international dishes as well. I suggest arriving early to avoid waiting in a line and bring cash! They do not accept credit cards.
Great Lunch Spot with amazing Shawarma wraps. This is also a fun dinner spot but can sometimes be a bit crowded, however it’s worth the hype.
(Via Qoori Qoori Cafe Google Reviews)
$$- Qoori Qoori Cafe
This Cafe has the best view of Phi Phi Island with floor to ceiling glass windows overlooking the beach. This is a great place to get some Thai milk tea or a tasty dessert.
$$ – Clover House Phi Phi
The service and quality of food here is hard to beat. Grab a local beer and fresh papaya salad and walk over to the beach afterwards.
$$- Annas Phi Phi
Anna’s is the place to go if you can’t decide what you are in the mood to eat. I highly recommend ordering the “Anna’s Special” pineapple fried rice served inside of a pineapple.
(Via Patchtree Instagram)
$$ – Patcharee Bakery
Patchtree is the ultimate breakfast spot with Thai and Western options. Their coffees are amazing and it’s the kind of place where you can hangout and use the wifi if you need to.
$ –Only Noodles
The menu says it all but this is a must have street food experience during your time on the island. Their pad thai is my favorite one I tasted during my time in Thailand.
(Via Oasis Instagram)
This is a great dinner and nightlife spot with stunning decor, out of this world cocktails, and music that gets louder as the night goes on. If you’re looking for a cool photo spot, this is the place.
General Advice To Know Before You Go
- Make sure you have cash with you upon arrival as there is a pier fee collected upon your arrival. Take out more cash than you think you’ll need because ATM fees on the island are expensive.
- Loh Dalum is the best area to hangout in if you are looking for nightlife.
- You’ll see plastic buckets being sold with liquor in them all over the street, it’s legal to walk around with them.
- The Tonsai area has the best daytime walking streets.
- Make sure you wear reef safe sunscreen and listen to your guides to help keep the islands beautiful!
Written By: Tara Katims for Abroadeez