Phi Phi Island – Heaven on Earth

In the year 2000 many people were introduced to one of the Worlds most beautiful locations for the very first time through the movie “The Beach” starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Before this date the islands were largely a highlight on a well worn path for backpackers in the region. These days its become a must see for anyone visiting Thailand. Yes it can get busy, but pick your time right, and you’ll discover there is indeed is a heaven on earth, and its name is Phi Phi.
Phi Phi Island


The Phi Phi Islands sit like diamonds on a sea of deep velvet blue between Thailand’s largest island, Phuket, and the Strait of Malacca coast on the mainland. The largest of the six islands, which make up the group, is called Ko Phi Phi Don, and its here where most the local population live, and where the main pier and hotel accommodation are based. However its the second largest island, Ko Phi Phi Leh, which has captivated the World and has the tourists falling in love.

The remaining islands are Bida Nok, Bida Nai, Koh Yung and Koh Phai. The group lie approximately 40kms south-east of Phuket and are part of the Hat Nopparat Thara-Ko Phi Phi National Park. The Park covers an area of 38,790 hectares, and is home to huge abundance of corals and marine life, together with stunning limestone mountains, cliffs, caves and glorious beaches.

Ko Phi Phi Leh – “The Beach”

If Phi Phi Leh is where Heaven meets Earth, then at its centre is Maya Bay, the location for “The Beach”. Every cliché you can imagine (white powder sand, crystal clear water and lush tropical vegetation) come together and the effect is nothing short of breathtaking. The challenge can be the crowds, so picking your time of year to go, and hiring a good tour operator is often the key. The Peak season in and around Christmas may be a little busy for most, but November, February and March (away from school holidays) can work out perfectly.

Away from the Bay itself, another must do on the island is to visit Phi Phi View Point. It’s here you’ll get the vista that is captured on the cover photo of this blog. Located on the east of the island at an altitude of 186m it takes about 30 to 40 minutes to reach the peak.

Another Ko Phi Phi Leh favourite is Viking Cave, situated at the bottom of a limestone cliff on the north-eastern side of the island, it takes about 30 mins by long tail boat from Tonsai Bay (where the main pier is located).

Then of course there is the marine park itself, which has some fantastic areas for snorkelling and World Class dive sites, such as Shark Point, Anemone Reef and King Cruiser Wreck, which are located to the west of Phi Phi, between the islands and Phuket.

Phi Phi Island Thailand

Boat Ride to Phi Phi Island

There are many tour operators who offer services to the islands from Phuket and Krabi, but as you can imagine the quality of these operators varies. Your budget might dictate who you and can and cannot use, but we’d certainly suggest checking out well established review websites like Trip Advisor to get an idea on who offers the best service for a price that best suits you. A good tour operator will make all the difference on a visit to these magnificent islands.

Getting There

The vast majority of Australians will visit the islands from a base in Phuket, and there are regular public ferry boats from Phuket starting at 8.30 am, with last ferry leaving at 2.30pm. (There are also regular ferries from Ko Lanta and Krabi). All ferries arrive at Tongsai Bay on Phi Phi Don and there is a THB 20 fee upon arrival.

The numerous tours available utilise various forms of water craft, from speedboats, long tails and specialist dive boats. Costs vary significantly so it does pay to shop around and do a little research.

Whilst many visitors stay for the day, for those planning a longer visit there is a good range of accommodation available on the main island, from superb 5 star resorts right through to very affordable backpacker style hostels. 


The nearest airports to Phi Phi can be found at Phuket, Krabi and Trang, although Phuket International Airport (HKT) would be the most commonly used by Australians, (especially given direct flights are available from parts of the Australian mainland).

Heaven on Earth

Whilst Phi Phi Island would not be considered a retirement or long stay destination, it really is on the doorstep for anyone based in either Phuket or Krabi, and its easily accessible to anyone within reach of an airport with connections to these locations. So for retirees or long stay visitors a little slice of heaven on earth can be yours whenever it takes your fancy.

If you’d like more information or have any questions, please feel free to call 1800-961-377 or email in**@re**********.au and let the team at Retire to Asia help make your dream lifestyle a reality.

Andrew Leeson RTA
Andrew Leeson
Over 20 years experience helping people live a better life in SE Asia. Having worked in financial services in Asia I understand the challenges when moving to and living in a new country. I have travelled extensively throughout the region and experienced what SE Asia has to offer to retirees.

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