Koh Phi Phi is at the top of many travelers’ bucket lists, which should come as no surprise! Everything from it’s rugged limestone cliffs, bright aquamarine waters, and abundant wildlife are all jaw-droppingly beautiful and probably unlike anything you’ve ever seen in your life ?
Another great thing about Koh Phi Phi is its small size, making all its must-see sights and activities accessible in just one day. If you follow this guide, you’ll even be able to conquer it all in just a half day, and for a super reasonable price too! Keep reading and you’ll even find some exclusive secrets and tips that a majority of the other tourists and organized tours don’t know about…
Stop 1: Find Yourself a Personal Boat Driver for 4 hours
That’s not a typo, all you need is 4 hours and you won’t even feel rushed! Not only is the amount of time perfect for your upcoming 4 stops of the day, it’s also half the price of paying for a full day. Plan on hiring a driver at 1 PM in order to avoid the morning/early afternoon crowds!
The price for my boyfriend and I was 1,600 Thai Baht/~46 USD, so only $23 each and even cheaper if there’s more people in your group! Something to keep in mind though- this was the set price given to us from our resort, which was about 35 minutes away from Koh Phi Phi Lee (the island you’ll be visiting). That being said, bargain for cheaper if your starting port is the main dock of Koh Phi Phi Don (where all the Phi Phi hotels/hostels are located + the ferry dock) since it’s MUCH closer.
Tip: Hiring a private longtail boat driver is MUCH better than paying for an organized tour. Not only do you get a more private experience, you have the freedom to choose your own itinerary! Plus, many of the organized tours all show up at the same locations, at the same times, meaning you’ll spend your day constantly surrounded by crowds of tourists.
Stop 2: The Famous Maya Bay
Maya Bay is probably the most famous location in Koh Phi Phi, due to it’s notoriety from “The Beach” starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Plus, it’s INSANELY beautiful- the color of the water + the towering cliffs are so stunning, you have to keep blinking to believe your eyes!!
Make sure to take a swim in the crystal waters and float around in the water caves under the humongous cliffs!
Tip: There’s an added fee to visit Maya Bay of 200 Baht per person (prices may change though depending on the season). This fee isn’t very regulated, since you have to walk up to the booth to pay yourself, which was a bit far from the shore. I’m not suggesting that people don’t pay the fee, just noting that it’s unclear how required it is…I payed anyway, in hopes that it goes to keeping the bay clean and pristine!
Stop 3: Snorkeling in Loh Samah Bay
This bay is home to some of the best snorkeling in all of Thailand due to its massive schools of colorful fish! The water in this bay too is extra clear, meaning incredible views of the underwater seascape and fishies! ?
Prepare to spend the most time at this stop and don’t forget your snorkel mask!
Tip: Bring some crackers or watermelon so you can feed the fish! After releasing it into the water, you’ll be surround by hundreds of them!! It’s such a crazy sight to witness them all swimming around your head ?
Stop 4: Floating in Pileh Lagoon
Pileh Lagoon is a massive pool of deep aquamarine water, completely surrounded by a humongous limestone mountains. The color of the water here is bound to blow your mind!
Make a stop here even if it’s just to take in the sights or do some front flips off the boat, like a lot of the other tourists that visit this stop.
Tip: If you like, take some beers with you on your trip, throw on a life jacket, and drink away while floating in the lagoon! I saw a bunch of other groups doing this and was very envious ?
Stop 5: Feeding Wild Monkeys on Monkey Beach
Where else in the world can you feed wild monkeys, while knee-deep in the ocean?! This experience was truly incredible and probably one of the funniest things you’ll witness in your life? The monkeys here are very used to being fed by humans and are not afraid to come take some crackers right out of your hand!
Make sure you remain in the water while feeding them to ensure your safety. There are countless horror stories about people getting attacked by threatened monkeys on land and having to go to the hospital for rabies shots after. Also, opt for crackers instead of water bottles when feeding them- all the empty water bottles end up polluting the shore/water.
Tip: Instead of going to the biggest & most popular “Monkey Beach” ask your driver to take you to the smaller cove right before it instead. My boyfriend and I were the only ones in the cove feeding the monkeys (whom our guide said were much less aggressive) and it made the experience even more memorable [and much safer]!!
I hope you enjoyed my 24 hour guide to Koh Phi Phi! Let me know in the comments below if there’s any other must-see spots to add to my list ?