Koh Phi Phi is one of the most popular islands in Thailand with incredible natural beauty and a vibrant tourist geared village. Located between Phuket and Krabi, this island may be small in size and has no cars or roads, but there is no shortage of amazing things to do in Koh Phi Phi.
Whether you’re visiting the islands for the exquisite nature and beaches, the top-notch nightlife, or a little of both, we’re here to help you have the best time when visiting this slice of Thailand paradise.
1. Hire a Longtail Boat to Explore the Islands
Kick back and relax while your boat captain sails you to some of Thailand’s most spectacular islands with a private longtail boat rental. Swim with tropical fish in Tonsai Bay, play with rambunctious creatures on Monkey Beach, or simply enjoy a scenic cruise around Pihel Lagoon. With a private rental, you get to decide where you want to go.
If you’re looking for a luxurious experience or romantic escape, then hiring a private boat is guaranteed to be one of your most memorable experiences. We recommend starting early (around 6:30 a.m.) to avoid the crowds and catch the spectacular sunrise over the neighboring islands.
Trips can be booked online or through your Koh Phi Phi hotel. However, you can still hire a boat and captain last minute by asking one of the dozens of longtail boats lining the shores of the beach. Boats can be rented by the hour, but you’ll ideally want at least three hours to explore all the best Koh Phi Phi attractions.
2. Hike To Koh Phi Phi Viewpoint
Considered the best view in all of Koh Phi Phi, venturing to the Koh Phi Phi Viewpoint will arguably be the highlight of your vacation. Although the viewpoint is only 600 feet above sea-level, you’ll be rewarded with jaw-dropping panoramic views of the lush island and crystal clear waters.
The trail starts in the town center near Loh Dalum Bay. Ideal for both beginner and intermediate hikers, the walk to the top of the viewpoint should take anywhere from 20-30 minutes. The hike may be short, but it can be strenuous, especially if the weather is hot. For this reason, you should always carry water and sunscreen.
At the viewpoint, there’s a small cafe that serves water, beer, and fresh coconuts to keep you hydrated. If you’d like to continue hiking, follow the trails past the cafe to Rantee Beach or Pak Nam Beach. These trails are less touristy and used mostly by locals. To get back into town, you’ll need to come back on the trail or rent a private longtail boat from one of the beaches.
3. Spend the Night Enjoying Phi Phi Island Nightlife
Catering to backpackers, honeymooners, and young party-goers, Koh Phi Phi is one of Thailand’s most lively and boisterous islands. It’s home to vibrant beachside bars, international pubs, and live entertainment venues that stay open until the early hours of the morning.
Don’t forget to check out the live fire shows that take place on the beach. We recommend grabbing a few tropical cocktails, reclining on a beachside bean bag, and watching the fire dancers come to life. Although most of the bars stop the music and entertainment at 2 am, they’ll still stay open and continue serving drinks to their thirsty customers.
If the multitude of bars is too overwhelming, don’t worry! You can always grab a famous Thai bucket (literally a plastic bucket filled with a cocktail concoction of your choice) and hop from one place to another. These mouth-watering buckets may be cheap, but we recommend sharing with at least one other person. One bucket can hold up to three or four normal-sized cocktails!
4. Explore Tonsai Village
Tonsai Village is considered by many to be the vibrant heart of Koh Phi Phi. This charming village is filled with hostels, bars, and affordable restaurants, and cafes, which means it’s busy every hour of the day. The narrow streets are also filled with clothing, trinket, and art shops, where you can buy authentic souvenirs to take back home with you.
Since ferries to Koh Phi Phi will dock right in the heart of Tonsai Village, it can be crowded with tourists and day visitors. However, this adds to the lively atmosphere that many people seek when visiting the island. Despite Tonsai Village’s popularity, there are no cars or wide roads on the island. You’ll need to walk or bike if you want to make your way around the village.
After a day of dining and shopping around the island, you might want to post up on the beach for some sun and relaxation. Tonsai Village is just a stone’s throw away from some of Koh Phi Phi’s best beaches, including Tonsai Beach and Loh Dalum Beach.
5. Visit the Monkeys at Monkey Beach
One of our favorite Phi Phi Island activities is visiting the adorable monkeys at Monkey Beach. Located on the southwestern side of Tonsai Bay, Monkey Beach is not to be confused with Monkey Bay, which is on the northern side.
This small but fascinating beach is home to hundreds of playful and curious monkeys who will happily pose for photos. If you’re lucky, you might also see a few baby monkeys clinging to the backs of their parents as they swing from branch to branch. Remember that they are wild animals, so it’s not advised to touch or get close to any of the monkeys.
Although Monkey Beach is on the main island, it’s only accessible by boat. To reach the beach, you’ll need to hire a longtail boat or rent a kayak. The waters surrounding the beach are also ideal for snorkeling and swimming, which makes Monkey Beach a great place to spend a few hours at.
6. Maya Bay & Alternatives
Visitors travel from all over the world just to visit the stunning Maya Beach. This small inlet with cobalt blue waters and towering limestone cliffs was made famous by the 2000 Leonardo DiCaprio movie “The Beach.” One glimpse of Maya Bay’s beauty, and you’ll see why it is considered a paradise on earth.
Unfortunately, for now, the only way to admire Maya Bay is by watching the movie. In 2018, the beach closed indefinitely to tourists as a way to protect the natural resources destroyed by tourism. Two and a half million people were visiting Maya Bay each year, making it one of the most popular Koh Phi Phi attractions to be impacted by over-tourism.
The Thai government tentatively plans to re-open the beach in 2021. If you plan to visit Maya Beach once it’s opened, you’ll be able to enjoy a variety of fun beach and water activities. Snorkel amongst the tropical fish, soak up the sun on the sugar sand beach, or take photos of the spectacular limestone scenery. Trust us, Maya Bay is worth the wait!
7. Bamboo Island & Mosquito Island
Island hopping around the Phi Phi Islands is one of the best ways to soak in the scenic beauty of Thailand. There are plenty of places to choose from, but we recommend adding Bamboo Island and Mosquito Island to your island-hopping itinerary.
Bamboo island is just three miles from the northern tip of Koh Phi Phi. This small but charming island is covered in a thick sheet of bamboo trees, which offer much-needed shade from the sun’s heat. On Bamboo island, you can snorkel off the coast in the beautiful Hin Klang coral reef. The beaches also offer a nice, quiet retreat away from the bustling village on Koh Phi Phi Don.
Mosquito Island is a remote destination just a few miles from the main island of Koh Phi Phi. Unfortunately, this uninhabited island has also succumbed to over-tourism, which means snorkeling or visiting the island is strictly prohibited. You can, however, marvel at the beautiful island from the comfort of your longtail boat.
8. Go Snorkeling
The waters of Phi Phi Islands are known for housing some of the most colorful fish and coral in all of Thailand. After spending a few hours lounging in the sun, there’s no better way to cool off than by hopping in the pristine waters for an afternoon of snorkeling.
Hin Klang underwater reef is a favorite snorkeling destination. The shallow waters are teeming with schools of bright fish that hide inside the coral reefs. The reef might be small compared to other places in the world, but the sheer diversity of marine life makes it one of the best snorkel spots in Thailand.
Bamboo Island, Loh Sama, and Phi Leh Bay are other spots that cater to snorkelers. To make the most of your trip, we recommend hiring a longtail boat to take you to several snorkel spots around the islands.
9. Go Diving
The crystal clear waters of the Phi Phi Islands are practically made for scuba diving. The Phi Phi Marine Park has over 20 different dive sites, where you can explore deep below the warm surface of the ocean.
During your dive, it’s not uncommon to see turtles, sea horses, pipefish, angelfish, and boxfish nestled in between the coral reefs. While sea life is the most active in the early morning, it’s also possible to go on a night dive, which offers a different experience where you can see eels and barracuda by flashlight.
Experienced divers should also check out the Kled Kaew wreck site. The 165-foot Thai Navy vessel sits almost 100 feet below the ocean. Besides navigating through the interior rooms of the ship, you’ll also be able to swim next to yellow snappers and scorpionfish.
Other popular diving destinations around the islands include Koh Bida Nok, Loh Samah Bay, and Hin Bida.
10. Catch a Muay Thai Fight
This popular combat sport is famous throughout all of Thailand. Matches can be found in almost every city in the country, and it has grown to become one of Thailand’s most beloved pastimes. Koh Phi Phi is also home to several Muay Thai boxing rings, where you can watch (and even participate in) this action-packed activity.
If you want to catch a Muay Thai match on Koh Phi Phi island, then make your way to the Reggae Bar. The popular venue can be found by following the sound of start bells and loud cheers radiating through the streets during the nightly matches.
After a few beers in the Reggae Bar, you’ll find that tourists can volunteer to join in on the fun for the amateur matches. Regardless of who wins, volunteer fighters will be rewarded with a medal and a free bucket drink of their choice.
- 125/55 Ao Nang, Mueang Krabi District, Krabi 81000, Thailand
- Daily 6 p.m. – 1 a.m.
- Free to enter
11. Visit Some of the Best Beaches in Koh Phi Phi
As one of the most beautiful islands in the world, Koh Phi Phi has its fair share of amazing beaches. Whether you’re looking for rowdy, party-going beaches or hidden, secluded bays, you’ll find something that pleases you around Koh Phi Phi. As a rule of thumb, beaches that are more secluded can only be accessed by longtail boats.
Spend the day soaking up the sun while you bury your feet beneath the soft, powdery sand. Swim offshore and marvel at the colorful marine life that lurks in the shallow, warm waters. The beaches around Koh Phi Phi are truly an outdoor lover’s paradise.
- Phak Nam Bay
- Tonsai Bay
- Monkey Beach
- Long Beach
- Nui Beach
- Wang Long Bay
- Lo Dalam Beach
12. Take a cooking class
One of the best ways to immerse yourself in Thai culture is by participating in a traditional Thai cooking class! Not only will you learn about the staple ingredients used in Thai dishes, but you’ll also get to try your hand at cooking them yourself. The viable skills you’ll learn from the class are one of the best memories you can take home from your time in Koh Phi Phi!
There are several different cooking schools and classes to choose from. At Pum’s Express Cooking Class, we recommend taking their 90-minute Pum’s Little Lipstick class. You’ll learn how to make green curry paste from scratch, as well as delicious Tom Khai Gai and Tom Yum Goong soups.
If you want to broaden your cooking skills a bit further, then you can opt for a more extended half-day class. This includes a tour of a local market, customized Thai dishes of your choice, and even a cookbook of your recipes!