The Phi Phi islands, a set of two exceptionally beautiful islands, are perhaps Thailand’s most popular. The smaller of the two, Ko Phi Phi Leh, gained worldwide notoriety in 2000 when the Leonardo DiCaprio movie, The Beach, was filmed at Maya Bay. Shots of the perfectly tropical beaches, dramatic cliffs and the azure sea catapulted the islands to the top of many a bucket list. It hasn’t lost its appeal in the years since and although the islands have responded to the surge of visitors with an excess of tourist amenities, the islands’ unmistakable natural beauty remains.
While some go to Phi Phi in search of the vibrant nightlife and party beaches, particularly around the symmetrical bays of Ao Ton Sai and Ao Loh Dalum, there are still blissfully secluded areas like Loh Mee Dee beach in the east and Laem Tong in the north. The long, sandy bays of Hat Laem Thong and Ao Lo Bakao host some of the best accommodation. But however captivating the beaches are, sun lovers should haul themselves off the sand for an afternoon and go on the 30-minute climb to the Phi Phi Viewpoint to get an great view of the islands from above.
Little Ko Phi Phi Leh doesn’t just have the famous Maya Beach going for it. This uninhabited island boasts other natural assets that will have you maxing out your iCloud storage. The Pileh Lagoon is a shallow expanse of warm, crystal clear water that’s ideal for some leisurely snorkeling. And the impressive Viking Cave can be accessed by longboat and has mysterious cave paintings adorning its walls.
Nearby Bamboo Island is a well-known snorkeling spot for a few hours away from base. This sandy island is ringed with coral and brightly colored tropical fish live in the waters around here. But beach bums will simply love the quiet white sand and that bright turquoise sea and be happy to just soak up the view and the vibe.
WHY WE LOVE IT…