Koh Phi Phi: Know Before You Go

With so many islands in Thailand, and gorgeous pictures of each one floating around the web, it’s hard to make a decision on which island is right for you. We spent a week on Koh Phi Phi finding all the ins and outs of the island to help make your decision easier. You’ll find all you need to know before you go to Koh Phi Phi here, however, be sure to check out our 5 Day Itinerary to Koh Phi Phi to find out what to do on the island!

Koh Phi Phi, Long Beach, beach, arboursabroad
For starters, Koh Phi Phi is an island on the west side of Thailand. Koh Phi Phi Leh is the sister island of Koh Phi Phi, and is home to Maya Bay – the beach where the movie The Beach was filmed.  It’s a hub for backpackers heading out for Full Moon Parties, has great snorkeling off the coastline, and is full of beach parties all through the night. Read more below on how to get to and from the island, what accommodation on the island looks like, and how much you can expect to pay for food and drinks on Koh Phi Phi.

[All prices are from our trip in July 2016, you can expect to pay more if heading to the island during high season November-April.]

 

FERRY to KOH PHI PHI:


There are three ports to ferry to Koh Phi Phi from – Phuket, Krabi, and Koh Lanta. Check to make sure your arrival time to Phuket, Krabi, or Koh Lanta allows you to catch the ferry to Koh Phi Phi the same day.

If arriving through Phuket, keep in mind the last ferry from Phuket is at 2:30/3:00, and it takes 45 minutes by taxi to get to the ferry terminal from the Phuket airport. You can check ferry times here, and even get a discounted ticket by buying ahead. Expect to pay about 1000 baht open ended round trip between Phuket and Koh Phi Phi at the terminal. However, you can test your bargaining skills and do two one ways if you chose.

 

 

ACCOMMODATION ON KOH PHI PHI: 


If you’ve looked into accommodation at all for Koh Phi Phi, you’re bound to already have a headache. With so many mixed reviews, spanning from “best hotel I’ve ever stayed at” to “this the worst place in all of Thailand” written on the same day, it’s hard to decide where to stay. After the Tsunami in 2004, everything was rebuilt extremely quickly and with little attention to detail. This means one bungalow can be a total nightmare, while the bungalow right next to it is absolutely perfect. A general rule of thumb, even if you’re spending a bit more than what you would normally spend on accommodation, remember it’s still Thailand, and it’s not going to be perfect.




If traveling during high season (November-March), be sure to book accommodations ahead of time. If you’re traveling in low season, we still recommend booking your first night prior to arrival, though it’s not mandatory. Booking just one night prior to arrival means you can have your luggage carried from the ferry terminal to your hotel for you. All you have to do is show up and look for someone holding the sign with the name of your hotel and give them your stuff!  We used Agoda while booking our accommodation, but hotels.com and booking.com are also great choices!

 

Where to Stay: 

Party Life: 

Stay anywhere along Loh Dalum Bay the main party beach of Koh Phi Phi, you can basically count on little to no sleep, but the party is at your doorstep – literally.

Nightlife with some Sleep: 

If you want to enjoy the nightlife, but not sleep in it, check the accommodation towards the south. There’s a handful of places to stay at that are within a 10-15-minute walk from the party beach, but are far enough away to not hear the music through the night. (Head here to read more about our experiences at both the resorts we booked.) 

Beach Retreat: 

Heading to the north of the island you will find your own little slice of peace and quiet. The accommodation on the northern part of the island is a bit more, but you will have less people sharing the beaches, water, and resort with you. You will be too far away from the main village for trips to and from there daily, but there are places around the resorts to get local food and explore a bit. You’ll definitely want to choose a place up north if you’re not into crowds and are looking for a secluded vacation.




EATING ON KOH PHI PHI:


Food on the island is a bit more expensive than any other place we were in Thailand. Expect to pay about 160-200 baht for a main dish and rice. Street food is basically nonexistent, although if you get off the main “roads”, you can find more local restaurants where you can get a meal and a drink for under 100 baht.

There’s a great little market/restaurant on the pathway that leads up to the viewpoint of the island. We ate there a few times, and the food was great! (A picture of this place and the food we ate there can be found here.) We also stumbled upon a couple of market like stalls to eat at near PP Supermarket.

{Traveler’s Tip… Download the app maps.me for free offline maps. You can check out this post for more free must have travel apps.}

For some great restaurant ideas and photos of food on the island, be sure to check out our Koh Phi Phi Restaurant Reviews.

 

DRINKING:


First of all.. stay hydrated. Yes, sure, go have a bucket or two, but I beg you, have some water as well! Here’s the deal with the water issue on Koh Phi Phi.. 7-Eleven is not your friend when it comes to buying water or any sort of drink for that matter. The prices at 7-Eleven are nearly triple what they are mainland! Your best bet is to go to one of the house markets scattered along every walkway on the island. You can get water for 10 baht a liter, or buy 6 bottles for 40 baht, which is a great idea if you have a refrigerator at your accommodation! Other than water, soda is rather cheap at 20 baht a can at the local stores, and you can find an assortment of juices, beers, and other drinks as well!

If you’re looking for a good bucket (the typical way to drink hard alcohol on the island) you have to look no further than every 10 meters on every walking path! Buckets are sold on nearly every street all hours of the day. We saw them for as cheap as 150 baht and as expensive as 500 baht, so definitely shop around before you buy!!

 

 

THINGS TO DO ON KOH PHI PHI:


You’ll never have to worry about something to do on Koh Phi Phi. With full day (600-750 baht) and half day (400 baht) snorkeling/beach hopping excursions, scuba diving lessons, hundreds of taxi boats waiting to take you around the island, there’s enough to keep you busy for a week. There are fire shows every night on both the main beach and the harbor beaches, some great hiking trails between the different beaches (you can even hike from one side of the island to another), and even places to souvenir shop (although we don’t recommend this as it’s much more expensive than the mainland).

If you’re looking for an itinerary highlighting all the best things of Koh Phi Phi, check out our 5-Day Itinerary to Koh Phi Phi. We’ve included the must do’s as well as some of the best-kept secrets of the island and it’s yours for the keeping!

 

 

THINGS TO REMEMBER:


This island is extremely touristy. While it is a great place for a beach getaway, there is constant construction and too many resorts/hotels for what the island should hold. The waters are amazing, but are filled with loud boats crashing through the waves, and you’ll see a bit more trash littered across the island than what should be there. If you’re heading here, keep in mind you’re not going to a secluded island, and with the attitude of stepping away from the crowd and enjoying what the island still has to offer, you’ll enjoy your time on Koh Phi Phi. If you’re looking for untouched waters, beaches with no hint of mankind, and complete seclusion, you may want to look at other Thailand islands!





 
As always, if you think we’ve missed something please comment and let us know below. We were there for a week, but we know we could have easily missed some key pointers to experiences Koh Phi Phi. If you have anything to add, or this post helped you in anyway, please share below… We love the feedback!

 


 

If you’re heading to Koh Phi Phi and would like an outline of things to do on the island day by day, check out our Koh Phi Phi Itinerary. And if you’re looking for more to do in Thailand don’t forget to head over to our Thailand Page for more itineraries and thoughts on our month in Thailand.

 


 

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