Leaving Phuket and heading to Koh Phi Phi Don our trip in Southern Thailand immediately got better. The views en route were stunning as me and Emily caught our first glimpses of Koh Phi Phi Lee and Maya Bay with unclouded tropical blue skies and turquoise sea. Real paradise and clearly a worthy setting for the film that really put the area on the map, The Beach. Throw in a killer first sunset once we arrived and some hidden gem food options (try the markets and avoid the Tonsai Pier area for real food that isn’t 5x the price) and any misgivings for Koh Phi Phi Don being a beautiful location with a soulless tourist town were soon forgotten.
Beautiful sunsets are all part of island life
You can’t travel to the Phi Phi Islands and not do an island tour. So up we got, early on our first morning to catch the first tour of the day and avoid the hungover party going crowd. Speedboating fully guided around the various islands was an amazing experience, and one of the best things we did this whole trip. The beauty of Maya Bay was unbelievable, even if you cannot get onto the beach these days due to conservation efforts with the coral reef. At least our photos had no tourists!
Approaching the beautiful Maya Bay – no shark attacks on this trip
The wildlife on the tour was unforgettable. From snorkelling with tropical fish and sharks, seeing sea cucumbers, reef herons and monitor lizards on the stunning white sand and Maldivesesque sea of Bamboo Island to hanging out with Crab Eating Macaques on Monkey Beach. The tour had such a diverse array of life, exactly as you would expect in tropical paradise. With the power of the speedboat behind you, accessing all these habitats is oh so easy.
Bamboo Island – the Maldives of Thailand
Between chilling on pristine beaches, admiring the views and doing your best David Attenborough impression the tour also gives you the opportunity to just piss around in the sea. Various azure blue lagoons offer crystal clear depths to jump into from the boat. With 2 meals included (breakfast and lunch), snacks and all our drinks for the day we really could not recommend “The Only Morning Trip” enough. What a day!
No point being my size if you don’t bomb at every opportunity, is there?
The only way to follow up a day spent bombing around different islands in a speed boat is a few days spent doing next to nothing, just chilling and soaking up the beach vibes. Reading our kindles and going for a swim whenever we felt like it, it is fair to say we took full advantage of island life. Sometimes just doing nothing really is the best!
Quite possibly the best reading location on earth
When we weren’t just doing nothing we did make sure we explored the island in full. One of the benefits to low season travel is the amazing discounts you can get on, well everything really! Food, massages, or in our case, kayaks. 2 people, all in, £6. Bargain. And the perfect way to find a secluded bay to watch a sunset completely on your own. Kayaking back in the dark towards the glowing town was an experience in a class of its own. Worth every penny.
Kayaking into a sunset, note Emily doing all the work while I’m on my phone!
We rounded off our time in Phi Phi with a hike to the highest of the iconic viewpoints so we could take in the full beauty of the island. Paradise on a panoramic scale. I’m not really one for beach resorts, and while there were parts of Phi Phi I didn’t like, there was an undeniable charm to the island chain. Emily and I were both sad to leave.
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Island views from Viewpoint 3, not too shabby!