It’s no secret that the south of Thailand is home to some incredible islands. In this post about things to do in Koh Phi Phi Thailand, we will travel to one of the most picturesque and lively islands in the Andaman Sea.
After an amazing five weeks of house sitting in Bangkok, I was ready for some sun and palm trees. And if someone wanted to bring me a cocktail in a coconut while I relaxed on the beach, I certainly wouldn’t say no.
So I grabbed a little studio in the sleepy beach town of Ao Nang and decided to spend some time exploring the surrounding islands and beaches.
I ended up going to the Phi Phi Islands twice in the five weeks I was based in Ao Nang. That fun little beach town with panoramic views and buzzing nightlife drew me back in again and again.
Whether you’re planning a Ko Phi Phi day trip or a longer weekend getaway, this Phi Phi Island guide will help you make the most of your time on this special little island.
About Phi Phi Island
Ko Phi Phi is located on the southwest coast of Thailand in the Krabi province. It’s close to breathtaking Thai destinations like Koh Lanta, Phuket, Railay, and Ao Nang in the Andaman Sea.
You’ve probably seen Phi Phi Island. It’s on all the postcards for Thailand. Shaped a little like a barbell, Phi Phi is that dreamy combination of jungle wildness and calm little sandy beaches.
It has such an “ideal beach look” about it that they actually filmed the movie “The Beach” here, a fact that you’ll be constantly reminded of by all the movie posters and souvenirs for sale around the island.
Phi Phi Island is a walking island. No cars or motorbikes drive here and the compact streets are nicely paved with pretty bricks.
Phi Phi Island has a reputation for more than its stunning beauty. It’s also known as a party destination with a beachfront nightlife scene that lasts long into the morning.
Phi Phi Island is a great chance to let your party-loving alter ego – you know, the one you save for special occasions like NASCAR races and the premiere of The Bachelor, the one who thinks Smirnoff Ice is a good idea – step in for a few days. Mine is named Nicky, and she is very good at the limbo.
Should I do a Phi Phi Island day trip or stay overnight?
Travelers often wonder if they should take a day trip to Koh Phi Phi or stay on the island for a few day.
If you have time in your travel plans, staying on Phi Phi for a few days will help make sure you get to do everything you want to do. The travel time between Phi Phi and the mainland is a bit long to do roundtrip in one day and still get to see everything, but it’s possible if you’re really crunched for time.
If that’s the case, I’d recommend doing a pre-arranged Phi Phi island boat tour with a speedboat so that you get there faster and see the highlights. You can find the best Phi Phi Island tours and guided trips from Krabi and Phuket on GetYourGuide and Viator.
How To Get To Phi Phi Island
Ko Phi Phi is a bit of a hike to get to since it’s an island. You can take either a public ferry or a private speed boat from Krabi Pier or Phuket Pier.
I’d recommend taking the public ferry since they are less expensive and still quite comfortable, but you can see speedboat schedules and rates here.
You can see the ferry schedule for Krabi to Phi Phi and Phuket to Phi Phi here.
If you’re traveling from Bangkok to Phi Phi Island, first you’ll need to fly to Krabi or Phuket. Domestic flights around Thailand are usually very affordable and quick.
Below you’ll find detailed instructions for how to get to Phi Phi from Phuket, Krabi, and Ao Nang.
How to get from Phuket to Phi Phi Island
To catch the Phuket to Phi Phi ferry, you’ll need to travel to the Rassada Pier in Phuket Town. You can get there by taxi or local transportation from the airport.
Ferries from Phuket to Koh Phi Phi typically run at 8:30 am, 11:00 am, 1:30 pm, and 3:00 pm. The ferry should take about 2 hours to get to Phi Phi Island from Phuket.
The last ferry to Koh Phi Phi usually leaves around 3:00 pm so if you’re not able to get to the pier before then, consider staying in Phuket for a night and catching the ferry in the morning.
You can check the schedule here.
Getting To Koh Phi Phi Island from Krabi
To get from Krabi to Koh Phi Phi, you’ll fly into the Krabi airport. Once you land in Krabi, take a taxi or the bus from the Airport to the Klong Jirad Pier in Krabi Town. You can either buy your ferry tickets in advance or purchase them when you arrive at the Pier. The ferry tickets will be around 500 Baht and the journey will take about 1.5 hours.
The ferry typically runs daily at 9:00 am, 10:30 am, 1:00 pm, and 3:00 pm, but this could change at any time so make sure to check the schedule yourself before planning your trip.
You can buy tickets in advance and check the ferry schedule here.
If you arrive in Krabi in the late afternoon or evening, make sure to check the ferry schedule before you go to ensure the ferry is still running.
If you’re arriving too late, consider spending the night in Ao Nang or Krabi Town and catching the ferry in the morning.
Getting from Ao Nang to Phi Phi Island via Krabi
To travel from ao nang to Koh Phi Phi, the journey is also quite simple. You can buy a ticket by walking up to one of the tourist booths (they are all over Ao Nang) and tell them which day and time you want to go to Phi Phi Island.
On the day and time of your departure, you will be picked up at your accommodation by a van in Ao Nang. You might drive around town for a while picking up other guests. Then you will all travel over to the Ferry Pier in Krabi.
The ferry is pretty smooth and it’s not as choppy as the long tail boats. Still, if you get seasick, now might be the time to break out some Dramamine or Sea Bands.
For me, the ferry was nothing compared to the van ride, which made me so car sick I almost insisted they just dump me out on the side of the road so I could start a new life deep in the jungle, far away from motorized vehicles.
Arriving in Koh Phi Phi
When you arrive at Phi Phi Island, make sure you’re outside on the deck of the ferry. It is stunning, and these will be the first of many pictures you take on Phi Phi Island.
When the ferry docks, you will walk down the pier and pass boat drivers offering rides in longtail boats. If you’re staying in a more remote part of the island, you can take one of these boats to get to your accommodation. If you’re staying in the central town part of Phi Phi, you’ll be able to walk.
You will also pay a 20 THB fee that goes toward maintaining the natural beauty of the island.
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Where to stay in Phi Phi Island
The main part of Phi Phi Island near the arrival pier is very small and you can walk everywhere. This area is where you’ll find most of the nightlife, entertainment, dining options, and some of the best hotels in Koh Phi Phi.
You can also find accommodation on Koh Phi Phi that is more remote and only accessible by longtail boat. These secluded spots are more quiet and peaceful but could be less convenient if you want to spend time near the main part of the island.
As you decide on the best place to stay in Koh Phi Phi for you, consider if you’d rather be close to the action and entertainment, or if you’d rather be surrounded by peaceful natural beauty.
Luckily Phi Phi has many accommodation options to suit all kinds of Ko Phi Phi vacations. Whether you’re looking for luxury villas or party hostels on Koh Phi Phi, you’ll have plenty of places to choose from.
Luxurious Accommodation in Koh Phi Phi
Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort – If you’re looking for peaceful beachfront luxury, check out this top-rated resort on Phi Phi. This resort has its own private beach, infinity pool, and pool bar. Located on the scenic Loh Ba Kao Bay a short boat ride from the main part of town, this spot offers all the luxurious amenities you could want on your Thailand beach vacation. After reading the reviews, it sounds like there’s a good reason this is one of the best places to stay in Koh Phi Phi.
Phi Phi CoCo Beach Resort – If you’re looking for luxurious features but still want to be walking distance from the main nightlife area of Phi Phi, the Phi Phi CoCo Beach Resort might fit the bill! Guests love the pool area and the fact that this is one of the best resorts in Koh Phi Phi that also has easy access to the town.
Mid-range Hotels on Phi Phi Island
The Beacha Club Hotel – This hotel is a good pick if you want to be in the middle of the nightlife action but hostels really aren’t your style. Since this hotel is right on the party beach, you will still see and hear the festivities (and it will keep going until two in the morning) but you’ll enjoy traditional hotel accommodations at the same time.
P.P. Palmtree Resort – This comfy hotel provides some higher-end touches in a great location. Guest reviews rave about the convenient location in central Koh Phi Phi, tasty breakfast, and the pool. One of the best places to stay in Koh Phi Phi on a mid-range budget.
Top Cheap Hostels on Phi Phi Island
If you want to be front and center for the beach nightlife scene, there are plenty of inexpensive hostels on Loh Dalum Bay. Almost all of them have their own bar with dancing and loud music until late at night, so if you’re going to need beauty rest, better steer clear.
Below, you’ll find some of the best hostels in Koh Phi Phi for partying and traveling on a budget.
Blanco Beach Hostel – This hostel was fine as a place to crash and leave my belongings. There aren’t any frills and it reminded me a bit of summer camp. Expect the usual hostel scene – lots of bunk beds with outdoor access to communal toilets and showers. The location is right on the beach and the dorms were clean. I also really liked how the hostel provided towels and lockers.
Stones Beach Hostel – This party hostel is right down the beach from Blanco and similar in quality. Here, the bathroom and shower can be accessed from an indoor hallway which was a nice touch. You’re still in a nice beachfront party location if that’s what you’re after and the price is very inexpensive.
Blanco City Hostel – If you want something a bit off the main beach scene, this hostel is a good option. It’s a three-minute walk into the city from the beach so you are still very central and close to the party, but it is much quieter. There is a more chilled out bar downstairs but no loud fire dancing or anything. Because you’re not directly on the beach, the inside is a bit nicer and less sandy.
Things To Do In Koh Phi Phi, Thailand
Whether you’re taking a boat tour, watching a Muy Thai flight, or simply relaxing on the beach, you’ll have no problem finding fun things to do in Phi Phi.
Go to the Phi Phi Island viewpoint
If you want that perfect picture of the Phi Phi Islands, you’ve got to head to the viewpoint. Do this in the morning because there are some stairs involved and it gets hot out there.
It isn’t particularly grueling to get to the viewpoint, but it is a handful of steps so bring water and some cash so you can buy a well-deserved ice cream at the top. Follow the signs in town to find the viewpoint. They look like this…
After climbing the stairs, you will be asked to pay the 30 THB entrance fee to get to the top lookouts. The first viewpoint is nice and there’s a covered area to rest. But keep going five minutes further and you will find the best view ever, the second viewpoint.
There are drinks and snacks for sale at both viewpoints, so relax for a while and take in the view. I even met a monkey friend at the top viewpoint. This hike is one of the best things to do in Koh Phi Phi and takes about 1-2 hours in total.
Relax on Loh Dalam Bay
Loh Dalam Bay is a beautiful place to relax with a book for the afternoon. You can spread out a towel or order something at one of the many beachfront restaurants and bars to use their beach chairs.
Take a Phi Phi Island boat tour
Because of the natural landscape of the area, taking a boat tour is one of the top Phi Phi Island things to do. A boat tour is the only way to see some of the most famous sights on Phi Phi like the Monkey Beach and Pileh Lagoon.
There is an early bird tour for those who want to miss the crowds and get what I’m sure are truly magical pictures. There’s also a pirate-themed tour on an actual pirate ship because how fun is that? No matter which tour you choose, exploring by boat is one of the top things to do in Ko Phi Phi.
I did the Blanco Boat Tour which included visiting several islands around Phi Phi, snorkel gear, kayaks, dinner, and an open bar.
I loved my experience on the Blanco boat tour. I met some nice people and we went all around the islands for the full day. There was music, dancing, and incredible views.
We snorkeled. We swam. We jumped off the boat into the perfect blue water. In the evening, we had the best view of the sunset while we polished off plates of fried rice and pasta.
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Kayak around Loh Dalam Bay
On Loh Dalam Bay, there is a little hut where you can rent kayaks and explore the emerald waters around Phi Phi on your own.
But beware, this isn’t for the faint of heart. There’s a good chance you’ll be fighting the tide at some point and even my strongest friends came back sunburned and exhausted.
Go to a Muay Thai fight
Okay, this probably says something about how sheltered I am just in life, but I realized I’ve never seen a real live fight before. Watching the Muay Thai fight was so exciting, and no, I didn’t try it.
At Reggae Bar, tourists are allowed to challenge each other to Muay Thai boxing matches. The prize? Glory, I guess. And a bucket of booze. Just be careful and make sure you have travel insurance before you decide to beat the crap out of your new friends in front of a cheering crowd.
Experience Koh Phi Phi Nightlife
No trip to Phi Phi is complete without a round of neon jump rope or florescent limbo in the late, late hours of the night! All down Loh Dalam Beach from about 9:30 pm until 2:00 am, the bars and hostels host one big never-ending beach party.
In the evening, the festivities start with impressive fire dances and acrobatics shows. Each bar has different games like limbo, jump rope, and musical chairs. Eventually, the games stop and everyone dances and hangs out on the beach. A must-see experience and one of the most entertaining things to do on Phi Phi Island
What to do on Phi Phi Island when it rains
Looking for things to do on Koh Phi Phi when it rains? I’ve got you covered! On my first weekend on Phi Phi Island, I had perfect weather. I couldn’t imagine Phi Phi without clear blue skies and bright sunshine.
The second weekend I went, it was a downpour almost the whole time. The Pirate Boat Tour I tried to take got canceled and we were all forced to abandon the beach for indoor activities.
If that happens to you, don’t worry! You can still have a fun time on Ko Phi Phi, even if it’s raining.
- Get a massage – Get two or three, for that matter. They are usually inexpensive and the quality is amazing. Expect an hour-long traditional Thai massage to be around 300 THB (or about $9.00 USD). Since I like to carry the weight of the world in my neck tendons, my favorite is the head, back, and shoulder massage which is 400 THB ($12.00 USD) for an hour.
- Do some shopping – You’ll have to duck between shops in the rain, but they are usually quite close together. Browse the knick-knacks and clothing while trying not to get poured on.
- Hang out in a bar or restaurant – Thankfully, Phi Phi Island knows that the rain is no fun, so many of the bars had activities going on like beer pong competitions and video game tournaments up on the big screen. It’s a great place to go socialize with all the other people because everyone is in the same boat waiting out the rain. Well, not in a boat. Everyone is in the same boat, wanting to be in a boat, but… not in a boat.
- Take a cooking class – There were little cooking schools all over Phi Phi Island that were in full swing during the heavy rain. One of the most popular ones is Pum’s Thai cooking school. Taking a Thai cooking class should be on your Thailand bucket list anyway so might as well knock it out while waiting out the rain on Phi Phi Island.
- Scuba Dive – Unfortunately, I didn’t go scuba diving in Koh Phi Phi. But I’m considering going back for a third time just to try it. During the rainstorms, I noticed that the scuba schools stayed open. All through the empty streets, you could hear the instructors calling people in for lessons. Apparently, you can do the classroom part inside while you wait for better weather to do the actual dive. It would almost work out better that way since no one wants to waste a beautiful sunny day inside anyway.
Where to eat on Phi Phi Island, Thailand
You certainly won’t go hungry on Ko Phi Phi.
Garlic 1992 – The guys who worked at my hostel recommended this little hole in the wall and it was incredible. They serve everything but I recommend going with Thai food. The building might not look like much from the outside thanks to a recent fire, but the food is incredible, the service is quick, and it’s super close to the beach.
Dow Restaurant – Dow restaurant serves homey Israeli food and Thai food. They have tons of vegetarian and vegan options if you’re a veggie fan.
Efe – One word: hummus. Two words: veggie wrap. These two together and I’m a very happy Nic. This place was cute and the food was excellent. Your meal even comes with a complimentary glass of Turkish tea.
Breakfast and Friends – The perfect place if your craving a traditional American or British breakfast after a night on the beach. I ordered the British breakfast (cuz I love me some beans) and had them substitute the sausage for… French fries. Don’t judge me. It was excellent and the coffee was nice too, not instant like in a lot of places.
Pizza Walk Up Stands – I ate pizza at a sit-down pizza place and honestly, it was underwhelming. For such a big difference in price (my lackluster sit-down pizza was 180 THB or $5.50 USD) you might as well just grab a massive 80 THB ($2.50 USD) slice at one of the walk-up stands. They’re open late too, which we all can appreciate.
Grand PP Arcade – I knew I found my people when I saw their signs offering all the different avocado toast options. Grand PP Arcade is super close to the beach and was the perfect breakfast before my Blanco Boat Tour. I chanted “YAS” loudly a few times and pounded the table, then ordered avocado toast with feta, cucumber, and tomato.
Getting back from Phi Phi Island to Ao Nang, Krabi, or Phuket
Just like getting to Phi Phi Island, the ride back home is quite simple. You can book your ferry ticket in advance or the morning of your departure from any one of the tourist kiosks around Phi Phi, just make sure you are at the pier 15 minutes before the ferry leaves.
If you didn’t get enough sun on Phi Phi Island, wear your bathing suit on the ferry ride home. Sure, there is an indoor air-conditioned space on the ferry, but there is also a large outside deck where you can, once again, sit in the sun, read a book, and watch the beautiful scenery pass by while you try not to mourn the end of your Phi Phi vacation too intensely.
What to wear to Phi Phi Island
Pack light for a weekend on Phi Phi Island. You will practically be living in your bathing suit anyway. Here’s what I brought for two nights, three days. This all fit in my small but spacious Lewis N Clark Lightweight Travel Backpack.
- Two bathing suits
- Sarong Beach Cover Up Wrap (this one doubles as a beach towel)
- Flip flops
- A pair of shorts
- Two tank tops or tee shirts
- A nicer sundress for evenings
- Toiletries – If you’re staying in a hostel bring your own shampoo, conditioner, etc…
- Compact Quick Dry Microfiber Towel – Can be used for beach and shower, If you’re staying in a hostel note that Blanco provided shower towels but Stones didn’t.
- Sunscreen – You can buy sunscreen on Phi Phi Island but it is more expensive than on the mainland.
- Dry bag or plastic ziplock to keep electronics at the beach – This one comes with a waterproof dry bag, waist belt, and phone holder
- Universal Waterproof Phone Holder – These were lifesavers on the beach tour! Thankfully a friend had an extra that I could use otherwise, my phone might have been toast. I took my phone out of the clear holder for photos but it was great to have some protection when I did athletic things like tumble into a longtail boat or heave my body ungracefully into a kayak.
You really don’t need much for your weekend as most of it will be spent in flip-flops and beachwear. It is a tropical paradise after all.
Planning A Trip To Thailand?
- Quick City Guide to Bangkok – What to do in the big city
- Digital Nomad Guide to Ao Nang – Includes top things to do around Krabi and the Andaman Sea
- Perfect Day Trip to Railay Beach – Don’t miss the spectacular natural beauty of Railay