Are Phi Phi Islands worth visiting? Find out if you should put Koh Phi Phi on your Thailand bucket list.
Phi Phi island is the most famous island in Thailand.
We all remember it as the gorgeous, pristine beach that Leonardo DiCaprio discovers in “The Beach”.
Since the movie was released in 2000, The Beach – also known as Maya Bay – has been a popular place for tourists along the Andaman Sea coast.
So, as you can imagine, the beach is not so pristine and hidden as in the movie. The question is – are Phi Phi Islands worth visiting?
Let’s take a look as I go over the pros and cons.
Are Phi Phi Islands worth visiting?
In a hurry? Then let’s get to the point:
Phi Phi is worth visiting IF and only if you keep your expectations real.
I visited because I wanted to see the filming location of The Beach. And although it was not the pristine island paradise I thought, I’m still happy I went.
BUT if you’re looking for a beautiful, clear-water beach in Thailand – and not neccesarily The Beach – I would recommend another Thai island that hasn’t been ruined by tourism.
Where are the Phi Phi Islands?
The Phi Phi Islands are located in Thailand, between the larger island of Phuket and the western Strait of Malacca coast of the mainland.
Phi Phi Islands map:
Best time to visit Koh Phi Phi
The best time to visit Koh Phi Phi is from November to April. It’s the dry season with temperatures ranging between 23-30°C (73-86°F).
You can expect clear skies, calm seas, and great visibility for diving. Just remember, it’s a popular time, so book your stay and activities in advance!
Pros and cons of visiting Koh Phi Phi
To make it easier, I’ve created an overview of the pros and cons of visiting Koh Phi Phi.
I’ll go over each point below.
|✅ Picture-perfect beaches
|❌ It’s overcrowded
|✅ Great nightlife
|❌ It’s ruined
|✅ Amazing snorkeling and diving
|❌ It’s pricey
|✅ Scenic hikes
|❌ It’s not like “The Beach”
|✅ Great day trip options
|❌ Trash issues
Should you visit Phi Phi Islands?
Below, I’ve listed the pros of visiting Phi Phi Islands so you can decide for yourself. Let’s take a look.
Ko Phi Phi’s got some beautiful nature scenes with its cliffs and beaches – there’s no denying that.
Although the corals are no longer in the best shape, you can still snorkel with fish and sharks off the beach. Plus, the water is incredibly clear.
Phi Phi’s got a lively party scene.
When night hits, the bars and beach parties, especially at Loh Dalum Bay, kick in.
It’s a place where you can catch some sun, then enjoy a cold beer with some good music when the stars come out.
Aside from the fire show, there are simple games like skipping rope and musical chairs.
The beach has whiskey buckets, free shots, and loud music. Bars are close together, making it easy to mingle and dance on the sand.
Amazing snorkeling and diving
Snorkeling and diving in Phi Phi is excellent, especially at Bamboo Island and Monkey Beach.
The clear waters let you see corals and fish up close. For a bit of thrill, Shark Point is where you might spot some reef sharks.
Hiking in Phi Phi is also greatt with Viewpoint 2 being the highlight. It’s a steep climb but the panoramic view of the island and its bays is worth it!
Another trail leads to Viewpoint 3 for a higher vista. Start early to avoid the heat and the crowds.
Read next: 23 non-touristy things to do in Bangkok
Great day trip options
One of the great things about Phi Phi is that you can take day trips to nearby islands like Bamboo Island for quiet beaches, and Maya Bay for its famed scenery from “The Beach” movie.
Once you’re at Phi Phi, it’s easy to reach Maya Bay. It’s about 30 minutes away, and you can either book a tour there or book in advance.
Our trip included an hour of snorkeling around the island, and we brought our own gear so the price was only a few baht more.
Book your trip – Bamboo and Maya Bay with Lunch By Speedboat
Are Phi Phi Islands worth visiting?
So, we’ve established that Phi Phi is a wonderful island, but it’s no hidden gem. What does that mean for Phi Phi Islands as a destination?
Let’s take a look.
Phi Phi’s overrun with tourists. It’s got trash problems, damaged spots and crowds everywhere.
The calm feel is lost with all the boat traffic and loud parties. It’s not the same peaceful island it used to be.
Read next: 20 great reasons to visit Phuket now
Phi Phi Island is pricey
Of all the places I’ve stayed in Thailand, Phi Phi was by far the most expensive. We stayed in a ramshackle bungalow for 500 Baht with a sink that suddenly self-detonated and nearly smashed my feet during morning tooth brushing.
And, our neighbour suddenly ran out screaming one afternoon after he’d found a tarantula in the bathroom.
So bottom line, if you go there you should be aware of the quality and prices. And consider booking in advance, especially during high season.
It’s not like “The Beach”
As you can imagine, you’re not the only one who’ve seen The Beach and want to experience that pristine beach with squeaky white sand and turquoise water.
In fact, dozens upon dozens of boats arrive every day with crowds of people pushing each other, trying to get that perfect photo.
It’s difficult to get a real sense of the place and even more so to take a picture without three Russians with an attitude in it.
Maya Bay has a crowd and the corals are more or less destroyed by the many boats that sail through the bay every day. But it doesn’t change the fact that it is a beautiful beach.
Phi Phi’s got a big trash problem. Tourists leave litter on the beaches and it ends up in the ocean, too.
Even with clean-ups, the island just can’t keep up with the daily waste. It’s messing up both the look and the environment there.
Now to the point: Is Ko Phi Phi worth it?
It is one of the most picturesque beaches I’ve been to, but it’s still far from the best.
Personally, I prefer beaches with few guests and where the vibe is chilled. Thailand has so many gorgeous beaches (like Koh Lipe, Koh Tao or Koh Lanta) and their corals are not completely destroyed by longtail boats.
If you’re in the area, Maya Bay is worth a visit, but don’t fool yourself thinking you’ll find an untouched paradise. Have that in mind when you go, and I’m sure you’ll appreciate the beauty of Phi Phi just as much as I did.
FAQ – Are Phi Phi Islands worth visiting?
Is Phi Phi Island Tour worth it?
Yes, a Phi Phi Island tour is a go for the amazing views and fun water adventures.
How many days do you need to see Phi Phi Island?
A quick 2 to 3-day jaunt is perfect to hit the hot spots and soak up some sun on Phi Phi. It’s a nice slice of island life without the rush.
Is it worth staying in Phi Phi Don?
Yes! Staying in Phi Phi Don lets you soak up the island vibe and enjoy the beaches without the rush of a day trip.
It’s got a mix of chill spots and lively bars, so there’s something for everyone.
Why is Phi Phi Island so popular?
Phi Phi Island shot to fame due to its picturesque beaches and being a backdrop for the movie ‘The Beach.’ It’s popular for snorkeling, diving, and its vibrant nightlife.
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