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Last Updated on July 24, 2023 by Madison Krigbaum
Thailand’s Phi Phi Islands are famous across the globe. Although the sparkling blue waters and stunning viewpoints are reason enough, most people recognize these islands from popular movies that were filmed in the area, like The Beach starring Leonardo DiCaprio and the James Bond picture, The Man With the Golden Gun.
As you may have already guessed, Koh Phi Phi is one of the most touristy areas of Thailand…but that’s not to say these gorgeous islands aren’t worth a visit. Before planning a trip to Koh Phi Phi, take a minute to consider what you’re looking for during your vacation. If great nightlife and making new friends is on your list – you’re in the right place. If you’re searching for empty beaches, authentic Thai experiences and lower prices…Koh Phi Phi might not be the place for you.
In this post, we’ll discuss getting from Krabi to Koh Phi Phi, the best experiences to have on Koh Phi Phi and where to find authentic Thai food (which can be difficult in tourist hotspots). Keep reading if Koh Phi Phi is on your Thailand bucket list!
For more tips on traveling solo to Southeast Asia, visit my Asia Travel Guides.
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Getting from Krabi to Koh Phi Phi
When traveling to Koh Phi Phi, Krabi and Phuket are going to be your easiest jumping-off-points. If you’re visiting Koh Phi Phi from other parts of the country – like Bangkok or Chiang Mai – your trip will likely include a flight arriving in either Krabi’s airport or Phuket’s. I’ve visited the Phi Phi Islands twice – once from Patong Beach (Phuket) and once from Ao Nang (Krabi). We’ll discuss both ways in this blog post.
Something to keep in mind: there are many tours available as day-trips to Koh Phi Phi from both Phuket and Krabi. These tours always include round-trip transportation and usually a meal. Although these are a decent option if you are short on time, I would 100% recommend taking the trip yourself and spending at least a full day on the island. By the time we were done with lunch on our tour, we had about 20 minutes to enjoy the beach before the boat left to take us back to Phuket.
Krabi to Koh Phi Phi by Ferry
From Ao Nang, you can book a ferry ticket to Koh Phi Phi for around $14/person. This includes hotel pick-up and transfer to the pier. Although the ferries are the lowest cost option, the journey will take significantly longer than traveling by speedboat.
Krabi to Koh Phi Phi by Speed Boat
When we traveled from Krabi to Koh Phi Phi in April, we assumed the ferry would be the best option for the price. After discussing our options at a tourist kiosk, we realized we could shave hours off our trip with a speedboat ticket that only cost around $9 more than the ferry. This 800 THB ticket included a hotel pick-up, took only 40 minutes and was overall a very smooth journey to Ton Sai Pier.
Unfortunately our favorite transfer company, Andaman, was not available for this journey. Although I haven’t had any luck finding a bookable speedboat option online, all of the tourist kiosks seem to sell these tickets daily. I would recommend booking at least a day in advance, if not earlier, to make sure the spots don’t fill up. Make sure to save your confirmation slip!
Phuket to Koh Phi Phi by Ferry
The ferry from Rassada Pier to Koh Phi Phi takes about two hours and it’s important to book ahead of time, especially in the high season. You can book Phuket to Koh Phi Phi ferry tickets online, but I would recommend visiting a tourist kiosk and booking in-person. These options usually include hotel pick-up with your ferry ticket.
Many tourists opt for the ferry from Phuket because it is cheaper than the speedboat. In my opinion, the speedboat is worth the extra money. With the hotel pick-up and waiting times at the pier, your journey could take up to 3 hours longer than the speedboat option…all to save yourself $5-10.
Phuket to Koh Phi Phi by Speed Boat
The Andaman Wave Master speedboat is the slightly more expensive option, but is completely worth the extra $5-10 (in my opinion). The speedboat is much faster and could shave as much as 3 hours off your total trip!
We’ve traveled with a few different speedboats and found Andaman to be the most organized by far. We’ve also booked their transfer by private car and were very pleased with the service we received for a fair price.
Where to Stay on Koh Phi Phi
Ibiza Pool Party Hostel
If you’re visiting Koh Phi Phi on a budget or just looking to have the maximum amount of fun – I would recommend staying in one of the many hostels available across the island. We decided on a private room in the Ibiza Pool Party Hostel and it was just about as fun as the name suggests. We had a BLAST!
Since Koh Phi Phi is very touristy, the hostels cost a bit more on the island. We paid around $50/night for a private room, but a bed in the dorms costs around $15/night. The rooms were very spacious and clean and you can’t beat a beach bar!
Things to Do in Koh Phi Phi
Go Scuba Diving
Koh Phi Phi is well-known as one of the best diving spots in Southern Thailand. If you’re already PADI Certified, I would definitely recommend booking a dive package here. For those who are not yet certified, I would recommend waiting to do your certification on a more affordable island, like Koh Tao. If you’re not certified but dying to dive in Koh Phi Phi, I would suggest trying a discovery dive here and doing your full certification somewhere else. Trust me, you’ll pay a lot less for the certification on almost any other island.
On a recommendation, I booked two morning dives with Princess Divers. 2,300 TBH or $70 bought me two dives, full equipment rental and lunch! The guides were awesome and we saw plenty of cool stuff, including Blacktip reef sharks and Hawksbill turtles.
Hike to the Koh Phi Phi Viewpoint
I love a good viewpoint, especially when the view looks like this. On any other day, the hike up to the Koh Phi Phi viewpoint would have been relatively easy. Unfortunately, we decided to hike it a mere two days after hiking the 1,275 steps up to the Tiger Cave Temple in Krabi. Let’s just say our legs were BURNING.
There are a couple of different viewpoints in Koh Phi Phi. To find the first one, start in Tonsai Village and follow the signs for “Viewpoint 1” and “Tsunami Evacuation Route.” If you start the hike with a set of very steep stairs, you know you’re in the right place. The hike takes about 20-25 minutes each way. Make sure to bring plenty of water and some cash for the 30 TBH entrance fee.
Do a Half-Day Koh Phi Phi Island Tour
Taking an island tour by longtail boat is one of the most popular activities to experience on Koh Phi Phi. This is where you’ll get the Instagram-worthy photos on the front of a longtail boat with gorgeous limestone cliffs in the background!
There are two options for the island tour and we opted for the shorter, half-day tour. We paid around 450 TBH at a tourist kiosk near our hostel, which included a meal. To be honest, the half-day tour was plenty of time. We spoke to some other tourists who booked the full-day tour and were told it was way too long.
The tour stopped at a few snorkeling spots and dropped us off for an hour to explore Maya Bay. Being the a very popular filming site, Maya Bay is one of the most famous beaches in Thailand. Due to the explosion of tourism in the area in recent years, the beach is actually closed to swimmers. You can walk along the beach and take photos standing in the water, but there is no swimming allowed in order to preserve the natural habitat.
Watch an Island Sunset
Don’t leave Koh Phi Phi without experiencing one of the famous island sunsets! …weather permitting obviously. We had almost given up on seeing one until we were surprised with this beauty of a sunset on our last night on the island.
Drink Margarita Buckets and Par-Tay
It’s no secret that Koh Phi Phi is a bit of a party island. The stands that sell smoothies during the day turn into margarita bucket stands the second the sun goes down. There are two types of buckets to choose from: the blended drink buckets filled with a mixie of your choosing (our fav. option) and bucket “kits” usually filled with a mini bottle of liquor and a couple of chasers.
Pick your poison and head to the beach to get your party on!
Watch the Fire Dancers
An extremely fun (albeit a little dangerous…) drunk activity is watching the Koh Phi Phi fire dancers on the beach. Many of the beach bars will have plastic chairs set up in a circle around the stage where the fire dancers perform. Just do yourself a favor and stop drinking buckets before you get the urge to attempt the burning jump rope.
Where to Eat on Koh Phi Phi
Koh Phi Phi is not known for its food. To be honest, many of the places are overpriced, inauthentic and exist solely for drunk tourists. However, if you do your research, you can find some delicious food on Koh Phi Phi. Below are our favorite eats on the island.
Papaya Restaurant serves a delicious combination of Thai food and Indian! I decided on the Tom Yam Soup with prawns and some delicious panang curry. Everything was tasty and super affordable.
Like the name suggests, you’ll only find noodles on the menu here! This tiny noodle shop, tucked away on a side street, serves only Pad Thai. You have a choice of beef, chicken or seafood and you can choose between four different types of noodles! The Pad Thai is seriously delicious and our meal was an absolute steal.
Efe Mediterranean restaurant was one of the cutest in town with tons of colorful rugs and Turkish-inspired decor. Although prices were a bit higher than others in the area, it was well worth it. We ordered baba ganoush, kofte kebab, adana pizza and adana kebab and everything was unbelievably tasty (and filling).
We knew ahead of time that Garlic1992 was going to impress. The entire place was packed every time we walked by! The restaurant is run by a local Thai woman who handed out print outs of Thai phrases when you walked in. Everything we ordered was delicious and authentic and prices here were also closer to what you’d see on the mainland (much cheaper).
I hope you enjoyed this blog post about getting from Krabi to Koh Phi Phi and things to do in the Phi Phi Islands! You may also enjoy my related posts, linked below. And don’t forget to follow along for the adventure on Instagram @madisonsfootsteps.