The Best Way to Visit Phi Phi
Koh Phi Phi, Thailand
The Best Way to Visit Phi Phi Koh Phi Phi Reviews
Oct 13, 2007
We fell in love with Phi Phi many years ago and return at least once a year. In recent years it has become even more popular and can be a disappointment for some if you 'do it wrong'.
My first tip is not to do a day trip. To get the best out of these islands you need a minimun of three days.
Secondly, select your accommodation carefuly. If you like quiet and relaxing, you need to be away from the Tonsai area.
There are two Phi Phi islands, Don and Ley, about 90 minutes by fast ferry from both Phuket and Krabi.
PHI PHI DON, the Phi Phi with the accommodation, is about 4 km east-west and 8 km north-south. It is shaped a bit like a distorted anvil, basically made up of 3 soaring lumps of limestone joined by low isthmuses.
The WESTERN LUMP is least eroded, has no real beaches or lowlands and is uninhabited. In many places the limestone rises 100m straight out of the sea, so it looks pretty spectacular.
It is joined to the eastern limestone higland by a SHORT NARROW SPIT OF SAND on which the TOWN/PIER AREA OF TON SAI is located. Beaches line each side of the spit - Ton Sai on the southern side is pretty average because of the pier and boating activity, until you approach the western end against the cliffs where it is very agreeable. Loh Dalam, the northern beach, is nice in the top half of the tide, but lower than this it gets real shallow a long way out and looks a bit ordinary. Not so the surrounding cliffs of the limestone highlands which are pretty awesome.
The eastern half of the isthmus is a maze of shops, restaurants, travel agencies, internet cafes, money sources, dive outfits, bars, tattoo parlours etc. There is also accommodation here - some midrangers such as Phi Phi Hotel, Phi Phi Inn, Natacha, PP Casita - a fair few noisy, expensive backpacker rooms up-stairs from shops - and in the eastern most section where you begin to climb onto the lower slopes of the limestone lump towards the town viewpoint and the dam, quite a lot of small bungalow-type outfits in the backpacker/flash packer range. Some of these are Snow White House, Scenery GH, Garden Inn and Uphill Bungalows. The general consensus is that party animals and people who don’t mind noise/crowds are best suited for staying in town, although some of the upslope areas are quieter.
Note that some of the midrangers which used to line the western half of Loh Dalum pre tsunami like PP Princess have not been rebuilt. There is a pretty tatty thatched-hut backpacker place called Palm Bungalows thrown up roughly where Chang Khao was located. However on the lower slopes of the eastern highland overlooking Loh Dalum is the nicely positioned mid-range View Point Resort. Pitharom is similar, a bit further from the sea.
The western section of the isthmus was wiped clean by the tsunami and during my last visit in March 07, still had a lot of vacant land. The upmarket Phi Phi Cabana hotel takes up a major proportion of this near the centre and seems to have completed reconstruction. The rebuilt hospital is further west, a new power generator seems to be running but most of the rest of the new construction is neat housing for locals. An exception is a section of new traditional style bamboo huts (Cliff Climbing Bungalows and it looked like some new competition in my latest trip) right up the western end of Ton Sai beach against the cliffs of the western highland. These are backpacker/flash packer in style (the upmarket Ton Sai Village used to be here) and the beach is unexpectedly lovely. Unexpectedly because most of the rest of Ton Sai beach suffers from the proximity of the boating that clogs this bay.
The EASTERN LIMESTONE LUMP is more eroded and has quite a few beaches and bays along its southern and eastern coasts.
The best of the southern ones is Long Beach (Hat Yao) over near the south-eastern corner of the island. This is many peoples' favourite PP area, a real nice beach for sunning and swimming (it doesn’t get too shallow most low tides), has some good coral offshore and a nice range of accommodation from backpacker to midrange+. These include Paradise Resort, Paradise Pearl, Long Beach Bungalows and the expanding Phi Phi The Beach Resort. Overlooking the beach and bay from the eastern headland is Phi Phi Hill.
There are regular longtail shuttles into town day and night which is good for people wanting to shop or party. It is not too difficult to walk into town. During the day the beach is a magnet for people staying elsewhere on the island. There are also several good restaurants - PP Hill's has awesome views and Paradise Pearl's has beachfront tables.
5 / 5 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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