Phi Phi is one of the loveliest island groups to be found anywhere, and has become famous for the spectacular vertical cliffs rising from clear seas, the beautiful lagoons enclosed by rock walls, and for the tropical beauty of its beaches.
The Phi Phi Islands lie approximately 18 miles south of Krabi. The largest and most developed is Phi Phi Don. If you plan to spend several days here, Ton Sai Bay is the most convenient for shopping or transport back to Phuket, Krabi or neighbouring islands.
As a sailing destination, it makes a fine day's jaunt from Phuket, with island exploring, snorkeling and fishing to add to the attractions.
Koh Phi Phi Leh
Maya Bay — the location for the 1998 blockbuster cult film “The Beach” — is a spectacularly scenic lagoon. Surrounded by soaring limestone cliffs, it harbours three sandy beaches, the biggest on the south island.
From a yachting point of view, however, it is only worth being there in late afternoon or early morning, due to the many tourist boats. It is advisable to return to the more secure anchorage in Ton Sai Bay for the night. Still, if you wish to spend the night there in the northeast season, moorings are available in the mouth of the bay.
Do not anchor on the coral bank, which has suffered considerable anchor damage in recent years. A large part of the bay is shallow coral, and hundreds of visitors come on day trips to snorkel and see the sights. The reef fish will arrive in shoals when you drop anchor.
The Viking Cave is worth a look, but anchoring here is difficult due to the depth. Yachts wishing to drop people off to explore the cave should, in either season, hold off, delivering visitors by dinghy to the small jetty at the entrance. A better bet still is to hire a longtail boat from Tonsai Bay. This is also the preferred means of getting to the spectacular Hong Pileh on the east side, which is inaccessible by yacht.
Day moorings can also be found in Loh Samah Bay with a rock island nestling in the middle of a coral garden on the southern tip of the island.
South Phi Phi Don
Ton Sai Bay is secure in both seasons. The yacht anchorage is at the head of the bay, on the west side, avoiding the regular longtail boat and ferry traffic heading for the jetty on the east side of the bay. Do not attempt to approach the jetty if you value your topsides.
Entering the bay, it's wise to keep to the west since the water is deep and the coral clearly visible. The drying rock shown on the Admiralty and Thai charts as lying just to the east of the southwest headland forming the bay does not exist. It is now a shallow patch approximately 4 metres deep at extreme low tide, which offers no danger to vessels of normal draft.
The best anchorage is on sand in about 10 metres, close enough to the fringing reef to be able to swim from the boat.
The village and hotels on the island are mostly concentrated on the narrow sand isthmus connecting the two lobes of Phi Phi Don, extending along the northeastern side of the bay for well over a kilometre. Almost anything the visiting yachtie might need is there.
Said to be one of the three most beautiful islands in the world, Phi Phi Don is not as idyllic as it once was. The recent commercial development and the huge numbers of day trippers tend to make the island a little crowded between the hours of 10 am and 3 pm. Still, it is a very pleasant place to spend a few days with a boat.
Dive schools operate from the beach, and there are lots of opportunities for excursions in longtail boats to the most spectacular hongs and inlets, which are found on both islands. Ton Sai bay is where you will find nightlife ashore.