Phi Phi Islands, Thailand

The Phi Phi Islands are six gorgeous islands in southern Thailand. My family almost drowned here during the 2004 tsunami. We returned on December 26, 2014, for a somber remembrance of that tragic day. Thanks to the staff at Tropical Andaman Marine for redirecting their charter boat so we could arrive at Maya Bay at the exact time of the tenth anniversary.

Share this
View MAP

1 Limestone Cliffs at Maya Bay on Phi Phi Ley, Thailand

The Phi Phi Islands are a collection of six islands in the Andaman Sea less than 30 miles southeast of Phuket Island in Thailand. The archipelago is characterized by large limestone cliffs that rise high above clear, aqua water and beautiful beaches. With less than 2,500 inhabitants, this beautiful paradise is a national park and a popular attraction for tourists who visit the islands for the day by boat. One of the favorite locations is here at Maya Bay.

Maya Bay, Ko Phi Phi, Amphoe Mueang Krabi, Chang Wat Krabi 81000, Thailand
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

2 Tourists Swimming at Maya Bay on Phi Phi Ley, Thailand

Tourists from around the world flock to the Phi Phi Islands in Thailand from November through March when the weather is dry and the temperatures are in the 80°s. These vacationers are enjoying their swim in Maya Bay which was considered to be paradise in the 2000 movie “The Beach” with Leonardo DiCaprio.

Maya Bay, Ko Phi Phi, Amphoe Mueang Krabi, Chang Wat Krabi 81000, Thailand
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

3 Longtail Boats Beached at Maya Bay on Phi Phi Ley, Thailand

The longtail is an iconic way to navigate the rivers, coastline and coves in Thailand. These colorful wooden boats at Maya Bay are called ruea hang yao. They are powered by an old car engine that drives a six foot driveshaft with a propeller at the end capable of swiveling 180 degrees. Initially used by fishermen, today they are usually hired by sightseeing tourists.

Maya Bay, Ko Phi Phi, Amphoe Mueang Krabi, Chang Wat Krabi 81000, Thailand
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

4 Revisit Maya Bay on Tsunami Tenth Anniversary on Phi Phi Ley, Thailand

On December 26, 2014, my family returned to Maya Bay on Phi Phi Ley where the tsunami almost killed us. We arrived on the beach at exactly the tenth anniversary of that terrible experience. These are my two adult children, Bobby and Michelle. They saved me from drowning. However, as many as 4,000 died that day on the Phi Phi Islands in Thailand. It was a very emotional reunion for all of us.

Maya Bay, Ko Phi Phi, Amphoe Mueang Krabi, Chang Wat Krabi 81000, Thailand
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

5 Jumping Off Cliff in Pileh Cove on Phi Phi Ley, Thailand

Many tourists to the Phi Phi Islands can’t resist the allure of climbing up a limestone cliff, standing on a small ledge while their friends cheer them on, and then taking the plunge into the water below. One of the most popular spots for these adventure seekers is at Pileh Cove on Phi Phi Ley.

Pileh lagoon, Andaman Sea, 81000, Thailand
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

6 Tourists Riding Longtail in Pileh Cove on Phi Phi Ley, Thailand

A charming way to explore the coast of the Phi Phi Islands is in a longtail boat, especially when the turquoise water is calm like at Pileh Cove. But the Andaman Sea can get choppy outside of the sheltered bays so I’d recommend taking a charter speed boat trip like those operated by Tropical Andaman Marine. They offer a wonderful, all-day experience.

Pileh Lagoon, Andaman Sea, 81000, Thailand
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

7 Cliff and Water at Pileh Cove on Phi Phi Ley, Thailand

This gorgeous limestone cliff that is covered in lush, green vegetation plunges down into crystal clear water. This piece of tropical heaven is Pileh Cove on the east side of Phi Phi Ley. It is a perfect lagoon for boating, swimming or just enjoying the scenery.

Pileh lagoon, Andaman Sea, 81000, Thailand
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

8 Bird’s Nest Cave on Phi Phi Ley, Thailand

The Chinese consider soup made from a swiftlet nest to be an aphrodisiac and medicinal so Thais have built this bamboo scaffolding at Viking Cave to harvest the high-priced delicacies. Colonies of these small birds, which resemble swallows, breed in this cliff on Phi Phi Ley and make their nests from saliva. These fragile platforms are carefully guarded 24/7.

Viking Cave Thailand, Tambon Ao Nang, Amphoe Mueang Krabi, Chang Wat Krabi 81000, Thailand
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

9 Macaque on Monkey Beach on Phi Phi Don, Thailand

Most boat tours of Phi Phi Don make a stop at Monkey Beach. As you arrive, you will be greeted by a colony of macaques that run along the rocks and beach with hopes that you will throw them a banana. These long-tailed macaques are cute and fun to watch but don’t get too close or try to pet them. 600 people a year are treated for attacks. The monkeys also carry diseases such as the herpes B virus and rabies that can be fatal.

Monkey Beach, Krabi 81000, Thailand
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

10 Camel Rock in Nui Bay at Phi Phi Don, Thailand

This huge limestone outcrop that juts out of the Andaman Sea at the entrance of Nui Bay is called Camel Rock. Yet while sailing by it, I thought it resembled a snail. But maybe naming it after a mollusk may not be appealing to tourists who are considering touring the gorgeous Phi Phi Don in Thailand.

Nui Beach, Ko Phi Phi Don Ao Nang, Mueang Krabi District, Krabi, Thailand
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

11 Snorkeling in Nui Bay on Phi Phi Don, Thailand

Nui Bay on the northwest coast of Phi Phi Don is one of several coves that is a favorite among snorkelers, scuba divers and swimmers because its sheltered aquamarine water is like a window to the coral and sea life. All six of the Phi Phi Islands are part of a National Park whose mission is to maintain this precious ecosystem for future generations to enjoy.

Lana Beach, Ko Phi Phi, Tambon Ao Nang, Ko Phi Phi, KR 81000, Thailand
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

12 Villager Doing Laundry at Nui Bay on Phi Phi Don, Thailand

Although some people have populated the Phi Phi Islands for thousands of years, today less than 2,000 live along the coast of the largest island, Phi Phi Don. They are predominately Muslim and Buddhist fisherman, farmers or involved in the tourist industry. This woman is hanging her laundry in a very small village along the shore of Nui Bay. I presume the smoke is from a fire used in cooking and heating water.

Lana Beach , Ko Phi Phi, Tambon Ao Nang, Ko Phi Phi, KR 81000, Thailand
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

13 Cove at Laem Tong Beach on Phi Phi Don, Thailand

Most of the tourists who visit the Phi Phi Islands are day trippers from Phuket Island. However, there are a few resorts along the northern coast of Phi Phi Don for those who want to spend more than a few hours in paradise. Several of these boutique properties are along Laem Tong Beach … a perfect place to escape from reality.

Zeavola Dive & Activities Center, 11 Moo 8, Laem Tong, Koh Phi Phi Tambon Ao Nang, Mueng Chang Wat Krabi 81000, Thailand
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

14 Longtails at Laem Tong Beach on Phi Phi Don, Thailand

Across from this sandy beach called Laem Tong are three very small islands: Bamboo, Mosquito and Hin Lang. They are extremely popular among scuba divers and snorkelers. Although too far out to reach by swimming, one of these beached longtail boats will be happy to bring you there. In the background is the Phi Phi Natural Resort.

Zeavola Dive & Activities Center, 11 Moo 8, Laem Tong, Koh Phi Phi Tambon Ao Nang, Mueng Chang Wat Krabi 81000, Thailand
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions
TOP