The Phi Phi Islands are something of a celebrity when it comes to Thailand. Sitting in a beautiful stretch of turquoise ocean between the island of Phuket and the mainland’s Malacca coast, the six islands that make up Phi Phi are a traveller’s dream. Ko Phi Phi Don and Ko Phi Phi Ley are the two most-popular islands in the group, and with good reason. Ko Phi Phi Ley is the smaller of the two islands, and remains an unpopulated paradise. The rugged, towering limestone cliffs that surround the forested island make for pristine diving sites, with a plethora of brightly-coloured tropical fish and beautiful corals. The island itself is famous as the location where the film The Beach, starring Leonardo Di Caprio was filmed; and as such, attracts day visitors in droves to soak up the sun and swim in the famous pools and lagoons.
The larger of the two islands; Ko Phi Phi Don, has long been one of the star attractions of the Andaman coastline. Postcard-worthy views in every direction and a distinctly relaxed way of life put the island destination high up on most of Thailand’s visitors’ lists. The 9km² island has no roads, which contributes to the distinct feeling of relaxation you experience on the island. The nightlife though, is considerably less relaxed, and you’ll find beach bars and restaurants buzzing with activity from sundown.
A visit to the Phi Phi archipelago isn’t complete without a trip to Bamboo Island. The tiny island is only 700 metres long, but is entirely surrounded by a perfect band of white sand beach that separates the dense bamboo tree forest from the ocean. Just beyond the beach, you’ll find an immaculate coral reef system that offers stunning diving and snorkelling opportunities. The beach is entirely free of infrastructure, except for one rustic beach bar, where you can enjoy drinks and snacks, while you relish in the perfect calm and seclusion of this tiny paradise.
Apart from the tantalising sunbathing and relaxing opportunities, the Phi Phi Islands offer a host of activities to get the blood flowing. The whole archipelago is famous for its diving and snorkelling, and offers so much more than just warm, clear water. You’ll be treated to swimming with lazy turtles, moray eels, rays, ghost pipe fish, scorpion fish, beautiful leopard sharks, huge schools of brightly-coloured reef fish, and of course, an array of soft and hard corals, with their resident anemones and nudibranchs. If you’re not a diver, the Phi Phi islands are a great place to get certified, with perfect conditions almost year-round and very affordable packages.
If you prefer to keep your head above the water though, there’s a lot to do, including rock climbing. The bleached limestone cliffs offer amazing climbing opportunities, for beginners, experts and everyone in between. If that’s a little adventurous for your taste, you can enjoy sailing, cruising or kayaking on the tranquil water, do some shopping at the markets, or join one of the fun Thai cooking classes so you can recreate the amazing tastes of Thailand back home.
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