We booked a tour to PhiPhi Island by speedboat for 1200THB per person. The normal price listed on the brochere is 2800THB per person. We took a package with Seaway. There are other speedboat packages from other companies too, eg. Andaman Rangers. You can book the package for the next day from any travel agents in Phuket. They all offer different prices, so bargain.
Update 2 June 2008: Lots of people asking me which agent I booked from. If you are at Patong Beach, the entire stretch is full of travel agents, so just ask a few, look for the best prices, do some bargaining, etc. I usually book from the smaller stalls. I am very sure the price I paid for is definitely not the cheapest. Btw, it is usually more expensive to book tours from your hotel.
The tour brings us to a few sights on the big and small Phi Phi Islands, with 2 stops for snorkelling, one stop on Maya Bay for swimming, one stop on Tonsai Bay for lunch, and finally a 1hr stop on Khai Island beach for swimming.
A minibus picked us up from our hotel in Patong beach at 8am. We arrived at Boat Lagoon Marina, where we have some briefing and rented fins for 100THB/pair. Snorkel & lifejackets are provided free. Then it's off to sea on the 23 seater speedboat.
The first stop of the tour is Maya Bay, on Ko Phi Phi Leh. This is where Leonardo DiCaprio shot the movie The Beach. This place has not been the same ever since. Rows of speedboats are parked at the beach, with a small area left for swimmers. This is a picture of me at Maya Bay on the smaller Phi Phi Island.
If you have time for only one day tour, please take this one!! Booked our tour through Phuket-travel.com, comes with the Phuket Discovery Package but we upgraded ours from the tour by Expressboat to the tour by Speedboat and trust me, you will want to, too!! The extra money you'll be paying is well worth the difference of taking this tour by speedboat than by the big expressboat that will get you to the islands twice the amount of time it'll take you to get there when on a speedboat. Plus, i have heard a lot of horror stories of people getting sick on the expressboat but thankfully, I didn't see any of that with our speedboat. Also, I didn't see any of the expressboats dock into the smaller coves so I assume that they can only see from afar what people on the speedboat get to enjoy.
Going to the Boat Lagoon is about 45 minutes, upon getting here, you are greeted and asked to try on flippers for snorkelling. Don't lose this as you will have to pay a fee if you do, same goes for the masks they will give on the boat. After you have your flippers, you are asked to wait in the lobby where free instant tea and instant coffee is served.
At the Boat Lagoon, while everyone else were having their free coffee and tea at the lobby while waiting for the boat, we had an insider tip from one of the people staying there that we could go up to the rooftop and have a great view of the Marina from there so up we went and it was indeed a great spot to take photos of the many boats and yachts docked here. Beautiful on a clear sunny day!
There were about 20 of us on the speedboat. Try to get a seat in the front so you get first view of the destinations plus a healthy dose of seawater splash! We had a fantastic funny guide, Mr. Boi and given fresh fruits and softdrinks the whole time. Got to see Maya Bay (from The Beach), snorkelling near Bamboo Island, a glimpse of Viking Cave, Monkey Beach and Khai Nai.
This was definitely the best trip ever!!
Before I end this series of Phi Phi by speedboat tips, I just have to mention the fact that ew were treated like royalty on our boat. If you are going to book this tour, please look for the tour where Mr. Boi is the guide. We booked our tour through Phuket-travel.com so I don't know what specific tour operator they worked for though. :(
But we had the best time at sea!! And all thanks to the wonderful staff, the captain, Mr. Boi, our guide and the crew who made sure we were all comfortable all the time: offering us fruits and drinks every ten minutes, offering to take our photos, giving us trivia about the palces we visited, entertaining us with jokes, stories and even, dances. :)
Phi Phi Le is the smaller of the Phi Phi islands.
It has quite steep rims.
Under the water it is a wonderful place to snorkel or dive.
I would recommend everyone to snorkel around here. You can almost see as much as if you are diving.
Just two words of warning: use a high sunscrean and wear a T-shirt if you snorkel. People tend to forget the time when doing this (I am no exception and there is no excuse for the sunburn I got)
and second: this more for your environment: do not stand on the corals! It kills them.
On the picture you see the classical water taxi around here. A long boat that is powered by a diesel engine and with a ships propeller on a long stick (you will know what I mean, when you see it)
This is Monkey Beach on Phi Phi Don, where we stopped for half hour for snorkelling. There are fishes here but the corals are brownish and not really colorful. Maybe these are dead corals.
There are many spiky Sea Urchins here, somebody actually stepped on one during this trip, so be careful and wear fins to be safe.
This is stop 4 of tour, snorkelling location 2.
There is supposed to be another snorkelling location at Hin Klang, a beautiful coral reef area, but due to whatever reasons, we won't be going there, a pity.
Last stop of the tour, we stopped at Khai Nok Island beach. You can swim or feed the fishes here. Just remember to bring lots of bread for the fishes. Very soon, you will literally be surrounded by hundreds of fishes. Some of the hungrier fishes will take a nibble at you too, but no damage done, these are not piranhas.
This is a picture of Lifoong feeding the fishes at the beach.
After Khai Island, it's back to Boat Lagoon Marina, and transfer back to hotel on minibus.
The Phi Phi islands used to be a insider tip - this sure has changed since the movie "the Beach" which was made there.
It is still a wonderful place on this earth, but now maybe a little too touristy. Many people come here.
On the picture you can see "the Beach" -and also how many boats are lying there....
the place is still great for snorkeling and diving.
Phi Phi Don is the bigger of the two PhiPhi islands and actually it is like two islands connected by a very small coral-bridge with palms and beaches on both sides.
I think there still is something left of the magic of this place and it is worth a trip and at least one nights stay.
This trip is worth a visit because you will see the crystal clear water with lot of fish and white sandy beach which is soft like powder. Patong beach have lot of travel agent which offers really competitive prices, you will need to survey which agent give the best price and services.
My package price is BHT1100 after much bargaining which include rental of life jacket, snorkel equipment, entrance to marine park, fruits and drinks and lunch. You will need to bring some cash to rent the fins to protect from the sharp corals. My first stop is at Khai Nok island, really beautiful and charming. Water is not that clear near the beach side but gets better when go further from the beach side. Not much fish and dead corals. There are chairs and umbrella for you to seat and shelter but chargeble of BHT100. Not worth it because you will stay there for less than 1 hour. There are stalls selling souvenirs and clothes. My second stop was at Monkey Bay which you can feed the monkey, don't get too near cause some of them are agressive. Do not bring your belongings there cause these monkeys will grab your things and run into the jungle according to the tour guide. My 3rd stop is at Phi Phi Don island to have a buffet lunch, we stop here for 1 1/2 hours which let us have plenty of time at the beach. My 4th stop is at Loh Samah bay, here you can see some nice corals and fishes, water is really true blue colour, what a beauty. My 5th stop is at Viking Cave which is for sightseeing only. Here is the place Thai people risk their life to get bird nest. Well my last stop is at Maya bay which is Phi Phi island famous National Park. The beach is really clean and if you are lucky you can see baby shark here. My tour operator bring us some fruits to eat while we sun bathing at the beach, what an experience. There is a toilet inside the park for you to freshen up. When you reach the port you will see your pictures taken by the camera man, you have options to buy or not to if you find your pictures is not ok.
In between Maya Bay and Monkey Beach, we were taken to this beautiful cove where all the speedboat tours were lined up, too. I think this was because this, too, was a major shooting spot for the film, The Beach. Mr. Boi, our guide, said that most of the scenic shots from the movie were shot in this cove alone. And it was pretty understandable too. It was just a small cove but it was packed with so much beauty. By now, you'd think you'd be sick of seeing limestone formations but surprisingly, you just never get bored with such beauty. The amazing limestone rock formations, lush greens mixed with the bluest, clearest waters plus the occasional local longtail boat is quite a sight. :) It's one of those places that make you feel so small and nature so grand. Be sure you have your video cameras and cameras ready for this small cove as you just go in, speedboat makes a turn and in a moment, youre out of the cove.
Also caught a glimpse of the Viking Cave where locals harvest birds' nests.
This is Tonsai Bay on the big Phi Phi Island, Phi Phi Don. We stopped here for 1 hr for lunch at a Thai restaurant.
This is third stop of the tour. We had a brief stop outside the Viking cave for a distant look at the cave, but that doesn't really count I guess.
Phuket Master Team Travel run day tours to Phi Phi and other islands. They are the same company that we hired the speedboat through and we highly recommend their professionalism and level of service.
I thought I would include an intinerary for anyone interested in taking an excursion;
7.30-8.00 Get picked up and transferred to Boat Lagoon
9.00 Leave Boat Lagoon
9.50 Arrive at Camel Rock for some great scenery
10.00 Arrive at Phi Phi Le - snorkel and explore Maya Bay. Discover Loh Samah and Pileh Lagoon. Visit Viking Cave and Wang Long. More snorkelling or feed the monkeys at Monkey Beach
12.00 Lunch is served at a beachside restaurant. Time to relax or explore
2.00 Snorkelling and exploring at Hin Klang
3.00 Relax on the beach at Khai Nai Island
4.30 Depart the island to return to Boat Lagoon
Included with the excursion;
Roundtrip transfer in a/c minibus
Softdrinks and fresh fruits served onboard
Lunch - seafood or vegetarian
Snorkel, mask, fins, life jacket,
National Park admission fee
English speaking guide
You will need to bring your own beach towel, remember your sunscreen!
Price is 2,800 baht per adult, 1,400 baht per child
There are two islands, Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Lei. The larger inhabited Phi Phi Don until recently attracted hundreds of visitors to stay on its lovely shores. Phi Phi Lei was made famous thanks to the Leo DiCaprio flick "The Beach". When the islands are in your sight, you could tell why they chose the island as the location for the movie. The waters are absolutely clear.
Unfortunately, I took the tour on the cruiser so I couldn't get close to the infamous beach on Phi Phi Lei. Next time, I should take the smaller & faster (and pricier) speed boat tours so I can get on the beach and snorkel in the lagoon. Nevertheless, the tour included lunch on Phi Phi Don where you can also wander around, buy some souvenirs and chill with a mug of Chang beer. It's a good place for pictures and people are always friendly