The Phi Phi Islands are administratively part of Krabi province and located between the large island of Phuket and the western Andaman Sea coast of mainland Thailand. From archaeological discoveries, it is believed that the area was one of the oldest communities in Thailand dating back to the prehistoric period. The name Phi Phi originates from Malay, the original name for the islands were Pulau Api-Api.The name refers to the mangrove wood found there. They were incorporated into the national park in 1983.
Our guide (Lady Gaga) with some of the naughty lads on the speedboat.
There are six islands in the group known as Phi Phi and are part of Hadnopparattara-Koh Phi Phi National Park which is home to an abundance of corals and marine life. There are limestone mountains with cliffs, caves and long white sandy beaches. The national park covers a total area of 242,437 Rai. Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Ley are the largest and most well-known islands.
Koh Phi Phi Ley is the second largest island of the archipelago. The island consists of a ring of steep limestone hills surrounding 2 shallow bays, the Maya Bay and Loh Samah. Maya Bay on is popular for diving, and has become even more popular after the 2000 movie The Beach was filmed there.
To the uninitiated, Phi Phi’s snorkelling is like being on a fantasy planet. Maya Bay has exceptionally clear water, although you can only enter by boat from November to April. Stunning coral and fish are seen by thousands who arrive on various daytrips, so yes it’s very busy.
Up until 2005 camping was allowed here, but indiscriminate rubbish and damage to the island caused the National Park authorities to ban camping on the island. While we were exploring the beach, we stubled on this signboard. I couldn’t help but take a photo of it - Prohibit abandon the garbage, disobey punished fine 500-1000 baht???
Tham Pya Nak (Viking Cave) on Phi Phi Ley has an entrance at sea level and is entered by boat from the sea in kayaks. The name Tham Pya Nak was given to the cave by H.M. Rama IX when he visited the cave in 1972. He named it because of the shape of a particular boulder, which resembles the head of the great serpent of Buddhist legend, the Naga. Painted on the walls are ancient color paintings resembling Viking boats hence the name Viking Cave. The cave is also revered by the local people who come here to collect the swift’s nests, used to make Bird’s Nest Soup, a Chinese delicacy.
Yong Gasem Bay is popularly also known as Monkey Beach, because a herd of Macaques come regularly out of the surrounding cliffs to visit the beach. The monkeys are not frightened by tourists and let themselves readily be fed with fruit. But to note: these animals are not tame; do not taunt them with offerings or get too close to them. Macaques can be aggressive, they have strong teeth and their bite can be serious.
Ko Phi Phi Don is the largest of the Phi Phi Islands, in Thailand. It is the only island in the group with permanent inhabitants. Like the other islands in the group, Ko Phi Phi Don is a non-volcanic island largely made of limestone. It is almost separated into two islands, but a strand of flat land connects them. On this strand lies the largest town on the island, as well as most of the resorts. We stopped here for lunch and a quick walkabout.
Images of Phi Phi island are not complete without some views of the Phi Phi village itself. A curious mix of cheek by jowl ramshackle tin houses, modern dive shops, clothes shops narrow streets this is a true Asian Bazaar for the tourist.
This post is one of an 5 part entry of our January 2011 trip to Thailand.
See all the places we visited on this trip below: