Travel Guide Ultimate: Koh Phi Phi Islands
Just a forty-five-minute speedboat ride or a ninety-minute ferry ride from Phuket or Krabi lie the beautiful Phi Phi islands. The islands are picture-perfect that would make you want to just click your time away. Turquoise blue waters, diverse marine life, colourful coral reefs, sandy beaches topped with a blue sky are just like a marriage made in heaven.
The Phi Phi island is a total group of six islands. Out of the two, the Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh are marked superior in importance among the rest. Phi Phi Don spreads over a large area but is inhabited. Koh Phi Phi Don is shaped like an unusual H where one side is mountainous and the other covered largely with dense forests. Best of both worlds? The island is situated on an altitude of 186m that roughly takes between 20 and 40 minutes to reach there on a well-trodden and paved path. When you’ll manage to reach the top, you’ll be offered with a bunch of stalls selling cold drinks, ice creams and snacks. There are also some hammocks that have been put up for you to relax. The top is magnificent as it showcases the view of the entire island, Tonsai Village, Loh Dalum bays and the Phi Phi Leh too. It is responsible for attracting hundreds of visitors.
The other inhabited cousin of the Phi Phi island, Phi Phi Leh is small but has stunning bays and beaches and tropical coral seas like the famous Maya Bay, where Leonardo Dicaprio movie, ‘The Beach’ was filmed. Most visitors choose to hop onto a Phi Phi Leh boat trip that manages to take them around the island where one can experience and soak much more of these beautiful surroundings.
Below are some of the most magnificent islands of Phi Phi that offer incredible touristy activities like diving and snorkelling for you to experience.
How to Reach?
To reach Phi Phi, there are essentially two choices: ferries and speedboats. The ferry is by wide the most famous way of reaching the islands. Ferries take around two hours from Phuket and 90 minutes from Krabi or Koh Lanta.
1. Koh Bida Nok & Koh Bida Nai
Located on the south of the Koh Phi Phi Leh, the Koh Bida Nok & Koh Bida Nai are two incredible islets of the Phi Phi group of islands. Surrounded by the blue waters of the Arabian sea, water lovers offer an incredible opportunity to go diving and not snorkelling.
Out of the two islands, the Koh Bida Nok, that translates to ‘Outer Father’ in Thai is the largest and is open to all kinds of diverse. Regarded as Phi Phi’s best diving, the divers are open to enter from the eastern side from where they can manage to proceed steadily around the south side next to the rocks. If you love swaying in the water exploring the marine animals. Especially some aquatic creatures such as zebra sharks, stingrays, sea fans, sea whips, giant brain corals, table corals and bubble coral. People who are certified divers will get great freedom in exploring the vast waters which are topped by the gigantic cave that can be easily explored but, only by those who know diving techniques.
Just like Koh Bida Nok, Koh Bida Nai that translates to ‘Inner Father’, also offers memorable diving experiences. Divers here will have to swim through huge pieces of rock that have fallen from cliffs many centuries ago. This will give them a great opportunity to spot nudibranchs crawling on the rocks. You will spot marine animals such as the Harlequin-ghost Pipefish, Needlefish, Seahorses, Black Tip Reef Sharks, Lionfish and huge reefs of Snappers and Barracuda. An advantage for people visiting Koh Bida Nai is that unlike its other half you can go snorkelling into the sea as its eastern side is shallow just the right amount for snorkelling.
How to reach?
The best way to get around the Koh Bida Nai and Koh Bida Nok islands is by taking a boat. You cannot travel up to them by a train or plane. The Longtail boats available here can easily take you from one island to the other. There is also an option of speed boats that are operated by the dive centres.
2. Koh Khai Nok
The Koh Khai Nok forms an essential part of the three islands (Koh Khai Nai and Koh Khai Nui) of Khai Islands as a prime destination for snorkelling. The great part about snorkelling here is that even an amateur can find great zeal under the waters. So, if you are an amateur or have kids you just want to be in the water experiencing the squirmy fishes swimming their way then the Koh Khai Nok is perfect for you. Located in a secluded part of Phang Nga Bay, Koh Khai Nok is just as big as a football pitch. With its sandy beaches, turquoise blue waters with colourful fishes swimming make for one of the most ideal places to visit. The island takes the shape of an egg that has eggshell kind sand due to which the island is known as Koh Khai Nok, or Egg Island. The tropical fishes inside the waters have for years become accustomed to human presence, hence, you won’t find fishes suddenly be afraid by your presence in the waters. There are various restaurants and shopping stalls too laid near the Koh Khai Nok from where you can buy some souvenirs for yourself and your loved ones.
The other beaches of the Koh Khai islands, Koh Kai Nui is the smallest of the three islands and offers a sight of colourful coral reefs. Whereas the Koh Khi Nai, the biggest among the three has great beaches for you to relax and unwinds life’s stress.
The islands have small bars too like the Ratree Beach Bar and the Reggae bar where you can buy some soft drinks, coconuts or beer.
How to reach?
It takes around half an hour from the East coast of Phuket to get to Khai islands and reach the island of Koh Khai Nok located in Phang Nga Bay.
3. Koh Yao Islands
Sitting peacefully between Phuket and Krabi are the lesser-known Koh Yao islands. The Koh Yao islands- Koh Yao Yai and Koh Yao Noi are both located on the south bottom side of Phang Nga Bay. Koh Yao translates into island long in which Koh Yao Noi means ‘small long island’ and Koh Yao Yai means ‘big long island’. For many people, the Yao Naoi island is much more developed than the Yao Nai island as you will be able to find many luxurious resorts and accommodation facilities that’ll surely make your stay wonderful. You will also get a wide array of restaurants, shopping points and some internet facilities to help you keep connected with the world. But, it is said the islands still feel distant and away from the other islands as if this was a separate world all in together. Some of the best ways for you to enjoy this secludedness is by going kayaking, hiking, snorkelling, and swimming in the waters. It is believed that the natives of this island are orthodox and traditional, so you must dress and conduct yourself in a way that no one’s feelings are hurt. A drive around the Koh Yao Noi island will provide you peacefulness as the entire island has not changed much over the years and is fairly less commercialised with just a few resorts and stores. People here live in wooden houses on the west coast that is surrounded by a plentiful of rubber plantations, and mangroves. On the west coast of the island are many beaches, feel free to explore all of them.
How to reach?
Hop on a songthaew, a shared taxi truck or hire a motor scooter for as cheap as $20. Most good resorts also offer free bicycles.
4. Mosquito Island
The Mosquito Island also is known as the Koh Yung in Thai is located in the northeasternmost side of the Phi Phi group of islands. Taking the shape of a bent nail-like shape, the island stretches to the length of 1000 m with a width of 150m. Out of the six islands that are part of the Phi Phi islands, the Mosquito island is inhabited. The eastern side of the mosquito has two beach islands that are generally not visited by a huge tourist crowd. The reason behind that is behind its name and its reality. A huge amount of mosquitos always show around while the sun is about to set. So imagine you have a romantic dinner with your partner and the sun sets in making the ambience beautiful but a whole army of mosquitoes join your date! Not pleasing to even imagine, right? Though the surroundings of the mosquito islands are appreciated for its underwaters as it hosts a splendid amount of marine animals and coral reefs. This is one of the great reasons why it is a great spot to go snorkelling. A three-headed tower lies nearby from the northeastern tip of Mosquito Island which offers an excellent diving spot in relatively depthless waters.
How to reach?
You can choose to hire a long-tail boat from Tonsai Pier or Laem Tong. This will cost you around 2,000 baht a day.