Koh Phi Phi is as fabulous below the ocean’s surface as it is above it. The stunning rock formations continue underwater allowing for some great diving, interesting wall and sloping coral gardens with plenty of nooks and crevices in which critters can hide. The King Cruiser Wreck lies not too far away, for the advanced only, this wreck thrives and pulsates with life and will delight non-metal-heads just as much.
Koh Phi Phis diving is almost exclusively by boat. It has some great local diving and some fabulous sites a little further away too. The conditions locally are suitable for entry level and those newly certified. The further flung sites are for the more advanced diver, they are deeper and can experience some current.
Local dives take place from larger dive boats, leaving around 9 am and returning around 3 pm. These trips include lunch and a long relaxing break in one to the beautiful bays. The further afield sites like Hin Daeng and Hin Muang are usually by speedboat, make sure the ocean is flat for the comfiest transfer.
Koh Phi Phi offers some great and colourful reefs with both hard and soft coral. Keep a keen eye on the sand for resting leopard sharks. Clouds of glass fish hang around fissures and small openings often obscuring grouper and maybe some macro delights. Look carefully for mantis shrimp and seahorses. A myriad of reef fish glide passed scorpion fish and around lionfish. Triggerfish dart around, barracuda hang in the blue and octopus morph. Apart from the overall richness of Hin Daeng and Hin Muang, their draw is the chance to see manta rays and the possibility of a whale shark too. The best time of year to spot them is from February to April.
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Koh Phi Phi is a collection of islands, but only Phi Phi Don is inhabited. This small island is not much more than a sand bar connecting two island peaks. These peaks counterpoint the glistening shoreline and provide viewpoints over this magnificent area. It’s impossible to overstate the astounding natural beauty of this area. You can take a boat trip to explore the smaller limestone islands, bays and coves. You can snorkel or dive or just soak up their breath-taking scenery. Filming for The Beach took place in nearby Maya Bay, which has vastly increased visitors to this already popular bay. The island is busy and attracts a young crowd out for fun but as long as you choose your accommodation carefully it’s not too brash for a family vacation.
There are no roads or cars on the island. You might see locals on cycles and pushing carts of supplies, but most people walk to get to where they want to go. Given that everything is jam packed into the two main beach areas, you don’t have for to go to find whatever you need. The lack of cars makes a pleasant break from road traffic noise and fumes.
Koh Phi Phi was badly affected by the 2004 tsunami yet was open again for business astonishingly fast. This speed demonstrates the importance of the tourist dollar to this area as will be evident by the touting as you arrive. The only legacy of the colossal tsunami today is the blue and white signs pointing out your closest evacuation point to high ground.
This entire region is home to some fabulous rock climbing and has suitable climbs for those that have never tried before. To truly appreciate the island's beauty, you should hike to a viewpoint, jump in a kayak or hop on a taxi boat to one the beaches that can only access by water.
You can fly into Krabi or Phuket Airport and from either transfer by road to a ferry pier for your journey to the island. Expect a combined travel time of three hours from Phuket Airport or two hours from Krabi Airport. Check the ferry schedule as you might need to stay overnight and catch a ferry the next day.