Ko Phi Phi is located in Phang Nga Bay in Thailand. This bay runs from Phuket in a horse-shoe shape to the world-famous island of Ko Phi Phi. This area of Thailand is well known for its beautiful beaches. It’s even more famous for its remarkable rock pillars that rise out of the water, like beacons from a time long gone.

Things to see and do in Ko Phi Phi:

The Phi Phi archipelago actually consists of six islands. Some of them you can visit, others are actually no more than rocks in the sea. If you visit this area by boat you will come across them.

Ko Phi Phi Lee

The steep chalk cliffs of Ko Phi Phi Lee emerge from the sea. The island has two shallow bays with fantastic beaches: Maya Bay and Loh Samah. Which are in the middle of nature. You will also find a shallow cove with a coral reef underwater.

UPDATE: Maya Bay closed

Since 1 June 2018 Maya Bay is closed to preserve the area. The coral has deteriorated in quality in recent years and the trees and plants on the island are broken by the many footsteps of visitors. The beach on Ko Phi Phi is scheduled to reopen. However, the big question is whether a break is sufficient for preservation. Scientists have already argued that as long as you do not regulate the number of visitors on the beach, it stands no chance.

Maya Bay is a very special décor that comes pretty close to the idea of a ‘tropical paradise’. This bay has featured in many films included the James Bond Movie The Man with the Golden Gun from 1974 with Roger More, but also The Beach with Leonardo di Caprio from 2000.

Golden beaches and azure-coloured waters, punctuated by remarkable rocks that come straight out of the sea. For many tourist, Thailand is a place that embodies the idea of ‘sun, sea, and sand’. The Ko Phi Phi islands in the Andaman Sea are scattered like gems off the Thai coast. It’s paradise.

The rocky pillars jutting out of the water are reminders of the ancient ocean floor that rose up in a long-forgotten past. Erosion has sculpted the rocks into amazing structures that tower over the blue sea. Nature has claimed these rocks, every centimetre is covered in vegetation. There are impenetrable mangrove forests interspersed with often tiny beaches.

Snorkeling and diving

In most places snorkeling and diving are popular activities, the water is almost always extremely clear and full of numerous fish. Ko Phi Phi is actually known as one of the best diving locations in the world. It’s not unusual for people to spot whale sharks here.

The whole area is perfect for diving and snorkeling, and the bay is also perfect for walking, kayaking, rock-climbing and more. Ko Phi Phi, actually the entire Phang Nga Bay, is popular with tourists the world over. Once you’ve dipped your toes in the water here, you’ll know why.

A typical scene from Kho Phi Phi.
A typical scene from Kho Phi Phi. Corno van den Berg

Several beaches in Phang Nga Bay are world-famous. Over the years a number of magazines have named Ko Phi Phi the most beautiful beach in the world. This beach is surrounded by limestone cliffs and rock formations. But there are lots of other small beaches in Phang Nga Bay, deserted, hidden between the rocks, and very idyllic.

Best time to visit Ko Phi Phi:

The wet season is in October and November. This means that you will often miss the sunrise and sunset. On top of that you can expect heavy rainfall, though it often doesn’t last longer than an hour. It’s also trickier to snorkel in this time due to poor visibility.

There’s also a chance that some hotels and shops are closed, and tour companies might not operate in the wet season. Though it does mean that there aren’t many tourists, and the clouds can create dramatic scenes in the landscape.

High season in Phang Nga Bay starts in late November and runs until February. The weather is ideal (bright blue skies) and perfect for snorkel tours or sunbathing on the beach. Do keep in mind it will be very crowded with tourists at this time. Especially popular places such as Ko Phi Phi and near James Bond Island. But even at small, ‘deserted’ beaches, you probably won’t be alone.

Problems around The Beach

The movie The Beach with Leonardo di Caprio was partly shot on Maya Bay. But this was not without problems. The beach was adapted in two ways. The beach was flattened with bulldozers. Something Thai people couldn’t appreciate. The beach was also adapted with the help of digital animation; it was made whiter than it is. It is remarkable that the beach has regained its old appearance thanks to the 2004 tsunami.

Be Aware!

Especially at popular tourist attractions such as Ko Phi Phi and James Bond Island get very busy around 10 am. You will literally trip over tourists. The best time to go to these places is early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the mass of tourists.

In July and August it can get hot, up to 45 degrees Celsius, with very little wind.

More information: www.tourismthailand.org/Attraction/Mu-Koh-Phi-Phi-Phi-Phi-Islands

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Beaches Diving Snorkling