Phi Phi Islands – What to Do in Phi Phi Island

Phi Phi Islands – What to Do in Phi Phi Island

Phi Phi Islands

Phi Phi islands don’t need introduction anymore, Leonardo DiCaprio took care of this in 2000 with the movie ‘The Beach’ and the place just keeps on getting bigger and busier. As we all remember, a tsunami wiped out Phi Phi islands in 2004 . Since then and despite the promises of keeping Phi Phi small and manageable, it just grew bigger and definitely not better.

However, the young crowd travelling to Phi Phi Islands seems to love the islands so much, we decided to revisit it. The verdict? it’s crowded, especially at night, but the islands are truly beautiful… and a great place to party! (See some discounted prices for ferries between Phuket and Phi Phi)


How to Get from Phuket to Phi Phi Islands

Ferry to Phi Phi Island
Ferry to Phi Phi Island

The place is popular so it’s actually very easy to get there and every hotel will be able to arrange this for you. Usually transfer includes pick up from your hotels, but double-check anyway. If you have a rented car you can also park at the Rassada pier in Phuket town and buy a ticket right there. You also can check from this site for available discount tickets by Kohlife

  • Ferry (can be booked at Rassada Pier)
  • Speed boat, 900 baht, only 50 minutes
  • There are also ferries and speedboat to and from Krabi and Koh Lanta

Phi Phi Island

The islands of Phi Phi:

  • Phi Phi Don is where everything is: the main town, all the hotels and the party! The landing pier is on the Tonsai Bay and the opposite side is Loh Dalum Beach. Phi Phi Don has several beaches and if hotels are mostly concentrated around the narrow part of the island, there are hotels on other remote beaches. So if you plan to enjoy party you should make sure you picked the right beach! Of course those remote hotels provide free shuttle but if you party too hard, a boat ride might not be fun.
  • Phi Phi Leh is where Maya Bay, Viking Cave and the Phi Leh Bay are, it’s just few kilometer south and about 30 minutes by long tail boat.
  • Further South are the Koh Bida islands, mostly popular for diving
  • Up North are Mosquito Island (Koh Yoong) and Bamboo Island (Koh Mai Pai)

(Yes you guessed it , ‘Koh ‘means ‘Island’ in Thai so it’s not always part of the name)


Phi Phi Don Central Area

Loh Dalum Beach

Phi Phi Don looks like an overgrown maze squeezed between 2 bays: Tonsai Bay where ferries arrive and Loh Dalum Bay where the main beach is. To imagine how walking down that maze feels like, picture the following: Tee-Shirt Shop, Tattoo Parlour, a bar, a dive center, Tattoo Parlour, a fast food, a travel agency, a massage parlour… repeat again and again. I’ve never seen so many tattoo shops per meter square. I’ve never seen so many cats either!

Most shops don’t open in the morning as they open late at night and a good part of the population of the island is out there exploring Maya Bay and the islands around. Another part is on the beach enjoying the soft sand and the beautiful scenery (if tide permits). The remaining tourists are probably still in bed trying to survive a massive hangover from one of these cheap ‘buckets’ that looked so cool the day before (read about it lower in the page)

Loh Dalum Beach

apart from some fantastic cliffs and bays, Phi Phi is not really Thailand

In the afternoon the crowd starts to hang in the streets, shopping, drink too early or have some massage. There are plenty of small restaurants for all tastes but most look rather touristy. We tried a decent beachfront restaurant called ‘Tonsai Seafood’ which was quite good and ‘The Point Restaurant’ which was below average. Our best dining experience by far was at ‘Le Grand Bleu’ a long-established French restaurant serving a nice choice of French and Thai food at good prices.

At 9/10 pm Phi Phi suddenly explodes with life as bars start their fire shows, live bands and Muay Thai performances (Thai boxing). There are bars after bars after bars all along the main street and on the Loh Dalum bay where those popular fire shows take place. Young people all buy a ‘bucket’ on their way there and sit on the beach in front of a makeshift stage to enjoy or even take part to small fire shows. Music is loud and good and people dance on the beach, everyone seem to have the time of their life.

The general impression is that apart from some fantastic cliffs and bays, Phi Phi is not really Thailand. It’s a bit the Khao San of the south with a permanent Full Moon Party. Absolutely everyone who is not selling something is a farang (a foreigner). You will never see or hear of a Thai person saying “I’m going to spend a weekend on Phi Phi Island”. I also found the young Thais working on the island very smiling and helpful.

Note that there are some mosquitoes here and there, especially once the sun has set, but there are so many convenience stores and pharmacies around there is no need to carry your own repellent.

Other beaches

All around Phi Phi Don there are other beaches of different size,  the best known one is Laem Tong beach where Holiday In Phi Phi and Zeavola resort enjoy a peaceful but remote holiday and the beautiful Loh Bagao beach further down (see map at the end of the page)


What to Do in Phi Phi

What to Do in Phi Phi Island

Here are the best places to see in Phi Phi islands. Of course since they are so popular they can be really busy so it is usually recommended to stay overnight in Phi Phi and try to reach them early morning to beat the crowds. This is particularly true for the famous Maya Bay from the movie ‘The Beach’. Read more


Diving in Phi Phi Island

Phi Phi Scuba Diving

Diving in Phi Phi Island is a unique experience you shouldn’t miss. Not many places in the world can offer such unique dive sites. If you never experienced diving before, just remember that there is a very cool option called ‘Discover Scuba Diving’ that doesn’t really require any training, just a briefing usually given on the deck of the boat on the way to the dive sites! I did it and it was fantastic. Read more

Getting to Phi Phi Viewpoint

Phi Phi Islands

Reaching Phi Phi Viewpoint is a bit challenging but if you go at your own pace it’s actually not too hard. Expect to sweat and maybe to be bitten by local mosquitoes each time to stop to breathe in a shade, they are obviously smart and they ambush themselves in strategic locations.

At the end of the first fly of stairs you will reach the Viewpoint Number 1 … and the ticket counter. It costs 30 baht from that point on.

Phi Phi Viewpoint Number 2
Phi Phi Viewpoint Number 2

Viewpoint Number 1 looks like a children playground with giant chickens and concrete hearts in case you like your selfie the cheesy way. My advice? Move on and follow the signs to Viewpoint Number 2. It says 5 minutes walk but it feels like a lot more. From viewpoint number 2 you will instantly recognize the postcard view of the 2 bays of Phi Phi. The place is superb and there is a shop selling drinks, snacks and ice creams to refill your batteries.

The place is superb but expect it to be busy or even crowded… there is not much to do on your own on Phi Phi island so everyone ends up there at one point.


Where to Eat:

Ciao Bella Italian restaurant on the Beach
Ciao Bella Italian restaurant on the Beach

There are hundreds of places to choose from on Phi Phi island… just walk along the few pedestrian walkways and you can pick as you go. It’s really a lucky draw. It’s more fun by the waterfront but this is just us, so we tried the following and they were good.

For Dinner:

  • Le Grand Bleu (Great French restaurant popular since 1992)
  • Tonsai Seafood (Good seafood and Thai food on the waterfront opposite Phi Phi Banyan Villa where we stayed)
  • Ciao Bella (Italian restaurant on the Loh Dalum Beach where the party is!)

The day after:

  • If your hotel doesn’t include breakfast there are some bakeries near the pier but Patcharey Bakery is actually better than Phi Phi Bakery just across the street.

What to Buy in Phi Phi

Shopping in Phi Phi Island
Shopping in Phi Phi Island

Have you ever heard the expression ‘Same Same but Different’? it was probably coined here. ‘Phi Phi island’ tee shirts, short pants and light skirts, swim suits, bags… everything you need for a holiday on a small island. Don’t expect much originality but browsing is always fun, especially when there are not so much to do.


Where to Party

Beach Party on Phi Phi Island

Beach party and street party… usual people walk from one to another and follow the music, the crowd and the atmosphere. Most popular seems to be :

  • Reggae Bar – that is nowhere like a reggae bar and is famous for organising friendly Muay Thai fights between customers. As you wear a head protection it doesn’t really hurt but it depends pretty much on your opponent. Seems to be a lot of fun.
  • Dojo Bar
  • Breakers
  • Stockholm Syndrome – invites customers to some drinking games just outside the bar, games involve a hose and a funnel and how fast you can drink from these.
  • Kong Siam Live Bar have an amazing singer able to entertain the crowds with drinking songs.
  • Slinky is a beach bar famous for its fire show and club music right on the beach
  • Stoned is exactly the same as above and is just next to it
  • Carlito’s Bar in a waterfront bar on the other side of the bay. Also with club music and fire shows but with a better sitting area.
Muay Thai fight at Reggae bar on Koh Phi Phi
Muay Thai fight at Reggae bar on Koh Phi Phi

What’s a ‘Bucket’?

Buckets in Phi Phi island
Buckets in Phi Phi island

Buckets are extremely popular in Phi Phi and you can find them everywhere after sunset. Usually a cheap mix of local whiskey (Sang Som), a red bull (you know what that is) and a mixer and ice in a small plastic bucket and a couple of straws. You can take this around as you party. As it’s sweet, cold and often use cheap local alcohol you don’t have the feeling you are drinking much and the Red Bull gives you a boost. Most people obviously get drunk much faster and much more than they think. Fun, apparently.


Where to get a tattoo?

Getting a Tattoo on Phi Phi Island
Getting a Tattoo on Phi Phi Island

That’s a tough one… they are everywhere and they all claim the same thing: sterile environment and new needle for each customer, also Bamboo tattoos available. Follow your instinct but let us know if you can recommend one shop. I had a look at a couple of standard size tattoos and they cost between 5 to 10,000 baht and take 3 to 6 hours to execute.


Diving Around Phi Phi islands

We collected on the next page the necessary information if you are interested in Diving in Phi Phi Island


Buying a typical day trip around Phi Phi:

Renting a boat costs around 1,500 to 3,000 baht depending on what you want to visit. Here are  the classic places:

To Phi Phi Leh and around

Phi Leh Bay
Phi Leh Bay
  • Maya Bay (expect to pay 400 baht to step on the beach)
  • Viking Cave (it used to be open to public and I visited it several times in the past but it’s now restricted)
  • Loh Dalum Bay
  • Monkey beach
Viking cave and swallow nests harvesting
Viking cave and swallow nests harvesting

Then to the north of Phi Phi Don

  • Mosquito Island
  • Bamboo Island

Who is it for?

Mostly young people, 25 -30 on average, coming here to enjoy the sun, the scenery, the beach on daytime and definitely the PARTY at night!


Useful information about Phi Phi Island:

  • There are lots of convenience stores, banks, ATM machines, pharmacies everywhere, plus a hospital and a large modern clinic so you know you won’t have to worry about these.
  • There are no cars on Phi Phi but you will hear “Peep-Peeeep!” dozen times as locals try to push carts loaded with all kinds of stuff.
  • Phone signal coverage is surprisingly good all the way from Phuket to Phi Phi! But Wi-Fi in hotels is useless.

More photos of Phi Phi Island

Le Grand Bleu French Restaurant in Phi Phi
Le Grand Bleu French Restaurant in Phi Phi

Tattoo shop in Phi Phi Island

Map of Phi Phi Islands




Phi Phi Islands – What to Do in Phi Phi Island
4.1 (42 votes)

Written by

Born in France a long long time ago, I started to travel the world in my 20s and never stopped until I finally settled in Thailand in 1994. Then for the past 23 years, my passion for photography and my natural curiosity has taken me to every corner of Thailand, jumping frequently between Bangkok and Phuket and basically everywhere I could go. I run 2 blogs: Phuket101.net and BangkokUndercover.com, I also manage 30 online travel guides in Asia and beyond, including Phuket.com, Bangkok.com and Bali-Indonesia.com

The Best FOOD Stuff
  10 Most Romantic Restaurants
  10 Best Local Restaurants
  10 Best Seafood Restaurants
  10 Great Thai Dishes
  10 Phuket Typical Dishes
  10 Best Classic Thai Dishes
  10 Hardcore Thai Food

The Best EXPLORER Stuff
  14 Hidden Beaches of Phuket
  15 Islands Near Phuket
  18 Nicest Mansions in Phuket
  13 Viewpoints in Phuket
  10 Things to See Off the Beaten Track
  10 Most Quiet Beaches of Phuket

The FUN Stuff
  16 Things to Do with Kids
  10 Ways to Party in Patong
   10 Best Rooftop Bars
   7 Night Clubs
  10 Romantic Things to Do in Phuket
  10 Reasons Why We Can't Leave Thailand

The USEFUL Stuff
  10 Questions People Always Ask
  10 Mistakes People Do on First Trip
  13 Tips to Save Money
  12 Things to Do on Small Budget
  10 Quick Facts about Phuket

The WEATHER Stuff
  10 Things to Do When It Rains
  What To Expect in Low Season
   7 Beaches for Low Season

The TOTALLY SILLY Stuff
  13 Really Weird Things in Phuket
  10 Tips to Spot a Ladyboy
   10 Insects for Gourmets
  10 Clues you have been in Phuket TOO LONG!
  10 Cheap Fun Things to Do in Phuket

USEFUL

Phuket Airport: Things to Know
Phuket Weather
Phuket Event Calendar (NEW!)
How to Pronounce Phuket

35 BEACHES OF PHUKET
Patong Beach ☆☆☆
Kata Beach☆☆
Karon Beach ☆☆
Kamala Beach ☆☆
Nai Harn Beach ☆☆
Kata Noi Beach ☆☆
Laem Singh Beach (now closed) ☆ ☆
Bang Tao Beach
Mai Khao Beach
Surin Beach
Nai Yang Beach
Naithon Beach
Rawai Beach

HIDDEN BEACHES
Freedom Beach ☆☆
Paradise Beach
Banana Beach ☆☆
Ya Nui Beach ☆☆
Ao Yon Beach
Ao Sane Beach
Tri Trang Beach
Panwa Beach

15 ISLANDS NEAR PHUKET
Similan Islands ☆☆☆
Phi Phi Islands NEW!
Bon Island
Coral Island
Khai Islands
Racha Island
James Bond Island
Koh Panyee

BEST THINGS TO DO IN PHUKET
12 Things to Do When it RAINS
John Gray Sea Canoe ☆☆☆
Phang Nga Bay ☆☆☆
Buddha Cave in Phang Nga
Phuket Town Walking Map
Thalang Road - Old Phuket Town ☆☆
Phuket Walking Street ☆☆
Simon Cabaret Show ☆☆
Phuket Fantasea ☆☆
Phuket Trickeye Museum
Upside Down House
Kao Rang Hill
Phuket Aquarium

10 PHUKET VIEWPOINTS
Big Buddha ☆☆
Karon Viewpoint (Kata Viewpoint) ☆☆
Wassa Homemade Bar ☆☆
Windmill Viewpoint
Black Rock Viewpoint ☆☆
Samet Nangshe Viewpoint ☆☆
Promthep Cape Viewpoint
Panwa Viewpoint
After Beach Bar

PHUKET WATERFALLS
Bangpae Waterfall
Kathu Waterfalls
Tonsai Waterfalls

PHUKET MUSEUMS
Baan Chinpracha
Phuket Mining Museum
Thai Hua Museum

TEMPLES of PHUKET
7 Buddha Postures for 7 Days
Big Buddha ☆☆
Wat Chalong ☆☆
Buddha Cave in Phang Nga
Wat Kao Rang and Sitting Buddha
Wat Phra Thong
Shrine of The Serene Light

NIGHTLIFE
10 Tips to Spot a Ladyboy
10 Ways to PARTY in Patong
Simon Cabaret Show
Paradise Complex
Party Drinks in Phuket
Phuket Fantasea
Rock City Patong

PHUKET BEACH CLUBS
Cafe Del Mar ☆☆
Catch Beach Club
Dream Beach Club
Kudo Beach Club
HQ Beach Lounge
Iguana Beach Club
Xana Beach Club

INSIDE GO GO BARS (HOT)
Suzy Wongs A Go Go (HOT)
Devil's Playground (HOT)
Diablo A Go Go
Exotica A Go Go
Harem A Go Go (NEW)
Rock Hard A Go Go

SOI BANGLA ROAD
Soi Seadragon (HOT)

PHUKET NIGHT CLUBS
Illuzion Phuket
White Room
Seduction Phuket
Tiger Club

SHOPPING
Central Festival Phuket
JungCeylon Shopping Mall ☆☆☆
Phuket Price Check

PHUKET NIGHT MARKETS
Chillva Night Market ☆☆☆ NEW!
Phuket Walking Street ☆☆
Phuket Weekend Market
Phuket Indy Market

PHUKET MARKETS
Banzaan Market ☆☆☆
Phuket Amulet Market

EVENTS & FESTIVALS
Loy Krathong
Songkran
Patong Gay Festival
Vegetarian Festival

SPORTS & ACTIVITIES
Diving in Phuket NEW!
Thai Boxing Training
Wake Park
Dino Park Mini Golf
Elephant Jungle Sanctuary
Go Kart
Kayaking in Phang Nga Bay
Phuket Tree Adventures
Spas and Massages
Splash Jungle Water Park
Surf House Kata Beach
Surf House Patong
White Water Rafting

INFORMATION
Phuket AIRPORT: Things to Know
Phuket Travel Tips and FAQs
10 Quick Facts about Phuket
Phuket FAQs
Driving and Renting a Bike or a Car
Phuket Price Check
Phuket Map - with all locations
Bangkok Blog

HOTELS & RESORTS
21 GREAT HOTELS IN PHUKET

MAI KHAO & NORTH PHUKET
Sala Phuket Resort
Renaissance Phuket Resort
Banyan Tree Phuket
Hyatt Regency Phuket
Maikhao Dreams
Pullman Arcadia Naithon Phuket
Phuket Marriott Nai Yang
The Slate Phuket NEW!
Trisara Villas
TwinPalms Phuket

BEST HOTELS IN PATONG
Amari Phuket Resort Holiday Inn Phuket
Kalima Resort
Phuket Graceland NEW!
Le Meridien Phuket
Novotel Phuket Resort
The Kee Resort
Impiana Cabana
Swissotel Patong

BEST HOTELS IN KATA BEACH
Kata Rocks
The Shore at Kata Thani
Katathani Beach Resort
Mom Tri's Villa Royale

KARON BEACH
Movenpick Resort
Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket NEW!

PHUKET TOWN
Westin Siray Bay Resort
Novotel Phuket Phokeethra
Little Nyonya

ISLAND RESORTS
Six Senses Hideaway Yao Noi
The Racha

BEST RESTAURANTS in PHUKET

MOST ROMANTIC RESTAURANTS
La Gritta at Amari Phuket
Wok Pagoda NEW!
Da Maurizio
360 at Pavilions
Mom Tri's Kitchen
Pan Yaah Restaurant
Tunk Ka Cafe
Gaetana Italian Restaurant
Blue Elephant
Panwa House at Cape Panwa

10 BEST LOCAL AND THAI RESTAURANTS
Mor Mu Dong Restaurant
Pang Prai Restaurant
Kan Eang 2 Seafood
Kan Eang @ Pier
One Chun
Kaab Gluay
Raya House
Tunk Ka Cafe
Paknam Seafood
Suay Restaurant
Kru Suwit Restaurant
Thanoon Seafood
Osha Phuket
MORE PHUKET RESTAURANTS

STORIES
8 Sunset Photo Tips
Phuket Funniest Photos
Phuket Tsunami

Alexa Rank