Immortalised onscreen as the idyllic location where part of the movie 'The Beach' was filmed, Phi Phi Island (Ko Phi Phi) was all but destroyed during the 2004 tsunami. Thankfully swift recovery efforts and massive rebuilding mean this utopian destination has bounced back quickly.
Your journey to paradise begins on the ferry ride over while you sun yourself on the deck during the crossing. With crescent bays, white sandy beaches and dense jungle, Ko Phi Phi is considered one of the most beautiful islands in the world.
Equal distance from Krabi on the mainland of Thailand, and the islands of Ko Phuket and Ko Lanta, Phi Phi is actually a national park and a small archipelago of six islands, although the most visited are the dumbbell-shaped Ko Phi Phi Don and Ko Phi Phi Le. Phi Phi Le is mostly uninhabited but Ao Maya (Maya Bay) is where 'The Beach' was filmed and a must-see spot.
Phi Phi Don is the largest island with most of the activity and accommodation centred around Ao Ton Sai (Ton Sai Bay). While it lacks the tourism infrastructure found on other Thai islands, Ko Phi Phi still packs them in for its laidback backpacker vibe.
With such idyllic surrounds, activities on the island centre around its stunning natural attributes. Walk up to the viewpoint for a spectacular view of the island. Monkey Beach is another popular drawcard with simian friends to share the sand with.
Divers and snorkellers are spoilt for choice with many coral reefs, wrecks and underground caves to explore and view the colourful marine life. There are several beautiful beaches to relax on or swim around, or hire a kayak for a leisurely look around the sandy bays. At night, popular pre-tsunami bars such as Apache Bar and Hippies are back in business with those ubiquituous fireshows and pumping dance tunes.
To travel to Ko Phi Phi, ferries leave from Phuket and Krabi daily. Tickets are available on the dock or online from THB450 to THB1,000 depending on the quality of the craft.