Thailand Beaches Day 1: Phi Phi Island Excursion

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This post is part of a larger trip report from my 17 day trip to Thailand (Krabi, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Bangkok) and Hong Kong!

  1. Using Miles to Book Flights on American Airlines Home from Hong Kong
  2. Using Miles to Book Flights on Continental to Thailand
  3. Sheraton Krabi Beach Resort Review
  4. Thailand Beaches Day 1: Phi Phi Excursion
  5. Thailand Beaches Day 2 & 4: Railey Beach
  6. Thailand Beaches Day 3: Hong Island
  7. Massages and Dinning in Ao Nang, Krabi
  8. Norther Thailand – First Stop Chiang Mai
  9. Three Day Trek and the Golden Triangle
  10. Spending New Years Eve in Chiang Mai
  11. Wandering Around Chiang Mai
  12. Le Meridien Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai Hotel Review
  13. Aloft Bangkok Hotel Review
  14. Temples, Activities, and Dinning in Bangkok
  15. Renaissance Hong Kong Harbour View Hotel Review
  16. Things to do in Hong Kong
  17. A Day in Macau

For our first full day in the beaches in Thailand we decided to take a day trip to Phi Phi Island and some other islands nearby. It was an organized trip that we booked through the Sheraton Krabi’s excursion desk. The great thing about the tours in Krabi (and actually most of Thailand) is that they will always pick you up at your hotel, which is extremely convenient. All the hotels offer the same tours (as they are run by an outside company) for the same price.

There are a few variations of the island hoping tours but we went for the Phi Phi Island by Speedboat excursion. It is a fun day with lunch included and stops at a total of 8 places. While it was cool to see some of the other uninhabited islands, we really did not get to spend too much time on Phi Phi Island. There was about 25 people on our boat, which was perfect. Some of the other tours we saw while on the water were massive ferry-like boats with 100+ people. I would try to avoid the massive hauling of tourist excursions at all cost.

Our first stop was at Bamboo Island. It was an absolutely beautiful island with crystal clear water. We walked around the island a little bit and did some snorkeling. The scenery was magnificent as you had a clear look out to many other island and rock formations. Since this was our first stop, non of the other tourists had yet shown up – which was great! We also strategically went on this tour on Christmas Eve thinking it will be less packed.

Bamboo Island

The second stop we made was the lagoon in Maya Bay. We all jumped off the boat for some great snorkeling. Some parts were hazier than others, but it was still somewhat decent. I also found that the best was to snorkel was to lie on the life jacket instead of wearing it. For these trips, I highly recommend an underwater camera!

There was a good amount of fish!

This was the view of Maya Bay from the lagoon. You can see how crystal clear the water is. This also shows how packed Maya Bay, aka “The Beach” gets!

Our third stop was actually visiting the famous Maya Bay. This is the island that was used to film Leonardo Dicaprio’s move “The Beach.” After visiting this island, I can absolutely see why this was the island of choice as it is breathtaking. We stopped here for about 45 minutes, which is more than enough. Unfortunately, this has now become a huge tourist spot so it is not a relaxing place to lie on the beach.

Maya Bay with the many boat tours! Also, if you are familiar with the movie, you’ll notice that the lagoon is not fully surrounded by rock formation as is shown in the movie.

We then headed to Phi Phi Island. On the way we saw some Viking Caves. These are places were locals live to collect birds nest for soup. There are many ancient wall carvings inside and outside the cave.

Upon arriving to Phi Phi Island, we had a pretty decent lunch and then had about 2 hours of free time to explore. We walked around the town for a little and then headed right for the beach. This has more of a backpackers feel, however, there are some beautiful hotels throughout the island. There is also a Holiday Inn (where you can use your Priority Club points!) on the more remote side of the island, which others have raved about. The main complaint I’ve heard is that maybe it is too remote and somewhat challenging (and expensive) to get to the more lively town area.

The beaches were beautiful and have a very vibrant feel to it. You could partake in many water activities and there were plenty of people trying to sell you an excursion! I thought it was a fun area and would have liked to spend an entire day on the island – there was plenty to do!

There are many walking streets with a bunch of food vendor, tour shops, hotel booking services, etc. You will also find that many people rent bikes to get around the island.

Fine, white sand and crystal clear water in Phi Phi Island

On our way back from Phi Phi island to the main land, we made one final stop at another snorkeling spot. We snorkeled off the boat and through these cave like formations, which was really cool. We also saw some interesting color fish.

Overall, it was a great day and we really enjoyed our tour and guide. The only negative complaint is that we would have liked to spend more time in Phi Phi Island – but I guess that will be for next time! There are many ferries that leave from Krabi straight to Phi Phi so that is always an option as well. Ferries, however, leave relatively early from Phi Phi due to high seas, so its tough to get a full day there. The best way to get a real feel of Phi Phi would be to stay over at least a night.

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10 years ago

For those interested in a Phi Phi trip (not the exact one talked about here) Groupon Thailand has one for about $29 US, deal expires tomorrow, use by Oct. 31. I’ve seen this before, so it may pop up again.

10 years ago
Reply to  Mars

@Mars – Thanks for sharing!!

10 years ago

Great report so far! Exactly what I need right now since I am planning a trip to Thailand soon. Would you consider spending a night or 2 on the Island to relax at the beaches or would you rather reccomend staying in a resort in Krabi?

10 years ago
Reply to  Dennis

@Dennis – It really depends on the person. The beauty of Krabi is that it was a central point to go somewhere different every day, however, the islands were amazing. It also depends on how many days you have,

10 years ago

I happen to be on extended holiday in Thailand right now (south of Pattaya) and have been following your blog. I noticed your prices for some of the goods you were procuring, and not to nitpick but those hotels are ripping you off. This is the land of smiles and cheap everything, and while I don’t expect a Hyatt or a Hilton to offer Thai rates on breakfast, 30-60TBH should do the trick as opposed to their 600.

I love your blog, just thought from one traveler to another, I should say something.

Also, there is a phosphor-luminescence snorkeling trip you can take where you end up swimming with the (essentially) light-up plankton in Maya Beach, just as they did in the movie. They serve dinner on board, it’s a nice afternoon tour as opposed to early morning and it runs about $25. I HIGHLY recommend it. It was my favorite memory from Phi Phi Don.

Safe travels, enjoy your trip.

10 years ago
Reply to  Kyle

@Kyle – An extended vacation sounds AMAZING! The American chain hotels are ridiculously overpriced. I did not eat at the hotel for this sole reason and found great cheap restaurants outside of the resorts.

Million Mile Secrets
10 years ago

We might have been in Thailand around the same time! We never got to visit Bamboo Island because of the weather, but it sounds very nice.

10 years ago

@MMS – I think we were!

10 years ago

@Kyle I think Mrs Deals mention that most of her breakfast were at 7/11 outside the Sheraton. Also, when were there we thought about the tour you mentioned but we didn’t want to take a chance. At the time, the sky was clear in the morning but bad weather all around by late afternoon. We might have to try the afternoon tour that you suggested when we go back to Krabi again.

Here is a cheap idea for breakfast in Krabi. Across from Ao Nang Starbucks about 50 yards up the road, there’s a few local coffee shop/food stalls next to each other. Four of us spends about 3 dollars on breakfast including — 2 cups of coffee per person plus 2 plates of Fried Chinese dough (pronounced Yow char kueh in Chinese and Pa-Tong-Go in Thai).


[…] Thailand Beaches Day 1: Phi Phi Excursion […]


[…] Thailand Beaches Day 1: Phi Phi Excursion […]

Chloe Woodliff
Chloe Woodliff
7 years ago

PP island is so near to Phuket. If you go to Phuket, I would recommend Phuket Fantasea. I had an amazing experience, highly recommend! A plenty of entertainment inside the park. Show with dinner and surroundings were great. Every element in the show was so professional and perfect. Dinner buffet was first class. I had the best family time, thank you.


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