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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Book Koh Phi Phi in advance in December?

Question; Book Koh Phi Phi in advance in December?

I'm an experienced traveler so I'm all up for arriving and haggling for a room once on Koh Phi Phi but I know that December is peak season . Should I book accommodation in advance or will I find a room? I don't want to risk a disaster.

Accommodation on Koh Phi Phi
Accommodation on Koh Phi Phi

Answer to; should I Book Koh Phi Phi in advance in December? 

It can be very busy in December so it is best to book to get the kind of accommodation that suits. The best rated accommodation gets booked up first and on an island of simple accommodation quality this can be significant. You can be left with the lesser room quality/ higher price or be forced onto a beach that doesn't suit. Similarly if you want beach front this can get snapped up as early as the previous season but often by July.

1st -to around the 10th December is normally the standard high season and some years the island can be extremely busy, the next year just "full". The last few years it's been 75-95% full.

From 11th December-19th December there is definitely a lull in the number of tourist that come to the island. Many tourists visit Chiang Mai for treking and then head to the beach for Xmas. You could easily pick up a deal in this period. The last few years it's been 60-80% full.

I would recommend you book in peak season 20th December -20th January. The last few years it's been 90-98% full.

BTW. Haggling on the island isn't as free and easy as the mainland so just take it even slower than you are used to for the best results. Read this article on haggling from 24 years working with Koh Phi Phi people.

A typical Koh Phi Phi Guesthouse, PP Coco's
A typical Koh Phi Phi Guesthouse, PP Coco's

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Friday, July 15, 2016

Koh Phi Phi Don or Koh Phi Phi Ley? ...where to stay

A common question runs along the lines: Should I stay on Phi Phi Don or Phi Phi Ley for a night stay. and whats the difference in both places?

Phi Phi Ley
Phi Phi Ley

Answer; to Koh Phi Phi Don v Koh Phi Phi Ley
Basically, there is NO accommodation on Phi Phi Ley. To be clear, Phi Phi Ley is a National Park with no accommodation whatsoever. The only people who stay on the island are the National Park wardens and the local people who guard and farm the caves where the birds for the Phi Phi birds nest soup  are found.

Phi Phi Don Village from Viewpoint
Phi Phi Don Village from Viewpoint

Phi Phi Accommodation

There are an incredible variety of places to stay on Phi Phi Don from elegant 5 star resorts to Phi Phi guesthouses , & dorm rooms, so the choice is very eclectic.
All the action is in the main village which is great if you want a choice of restaurants/ nightlife and the buzz of the village. If you want quiet, look at Long Beach or the remote Laem Tong beach and these locations cater to those who want more exclusivity.

Phi Phi Ley one day tours

To get out to Maya Bay on Phi Phi Ley, try or hook up with travel agents like Siam UK travel and Tours down by the pier. They provide longtail boat, speedboat and converted large fishing boat options for getting out to Phi Phi Ley.

Speedboat Tour from Phi Phi Don
Speedboat Tour from Phi Phi Don

Phuket Phi Phi Ley one day tours.

The PhuketPhiPhi tours get you to the island with the primary task of getting you on Maya Bay. These are wonderful sightseeing trips with some snorkeling.

The tour from Phuket to Phi Phi Ley starts at 6.30-7.00 am from your Phuket Hotel and starts with a transfer to Rassada Pier by 08.30. The ferry takes 1 hour 20 each way.  This is is a great way to see Phuket island and cross the jungle covered Phuket Highlands. It is a long day. Try if you want that option.

One day tour to Phi Phi Ley on the large cruise boat
One day tour to Phi Phi Ley on the large cruise boat

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Travelling Phi Phi in the wet season

I m going to Thailand in June. Im then wanting to fly from Chiang Mai to Krabi. After this Im heading to Phi Phi for 2 nights before going to Koh Phangan, Does anyone knows what ferries are usually like in June. I am aware it is the rainy season? 

The answer to Travelling to Phi Phi in rainy season 
The first part of June is the rainy season and ferries from Phuket are large so the crossing is fine. ferries go through out the year and there should be no problems. Try Sea Angel for the ferry to Phi Phi from Rassada Pier Phuket. Most of these ferries have a pick up service from the Phuket hotel if you ask.

Boat trips go out through out the year,
Boat trips go out through out the year,

Amazing June storm weather-a short afternoon rain cloud

The delight of low season is that it is a lot quieter and only if you are unlucky the weather will be bad all the time. In my experience over 24 years, there will be perfect weather windows followed by showers followed by great weather. After you get there the local divers will know the rhythm of the weather so you can get out to the beaches. 

Typical June weather

Travellers tip in rainy season

One last key point is that all the cliffs are in between you and the prevailing westerly wind so it is always pretty calm in Tonsai Village. It also means that diving & snorkeling tours like the Full Day Speedboat Tour of Phi Phi Island go out every day from Phi Phi so it makes for a very interesting time.
Also rain in Thailand is cold. The temperature can drop 5-8 C in seconds so it is worth thinking about taking a towel or extra shirt to change into
Very good links;

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Monday, July 11, 2016

Where should I stay on Koh Phi Phi and how long is needed?

I'm travelling to Thailand in December for three weeks with my partner.
I'm looking for advice on how long to stay in Phi Phi for and what the best area to stay in would be as Google is giving me some very conflicting information.
Time wise, we can spend anywhere from 1-5 nights here but I'd rather not stay longer than needed as I'd rather dedicate more time to Phuket.
We would like to be near the bars and nightlife if possible.
Any recommendations would be great on time/areas!

Answer to; Where should I stay on Koh Phi Phi

If you want the nightlife I would recommend 2 locations. Tonsai village has most of the islands accommodations and the best nightlife (nightlife around Reggae Bar / Dojo in the main village early evening and the moves over  to Loh Dalum Beach 200m away, still in the main village)

The other location is Long beach which is 10 minutes longtail boat away or a 40 minute walk along the shore. Longtails run all night but at a premium after 12pm.

I work for PP Cocos in the main vilalge just under the mountains , 4 minutes from the nightlife beach so obviously big that guesthouse up.. LOL.

Useful links

Phi Phi Island cheap accommodation

Dramatic scenery at Tonsai Village the main village of Koh Phi Phi
Dramatic scenery at Tonsai Village the main village of Koh Phi Phi

Viewpoint picture of Tonsai Village the main village of Koh Phi Phi
Viewpoint picture of Tonsai Village the main village of Koh Phi Phi
Long Beach 10 min from the main pier
Long Beach 10 min from the main pier

Answer to: how long is needed on Koh Phi Phi?

How long is a piece of string? If you like water sports and nightlife you can get into a fun mix of party and then do an afternoon sunset adventure. Many people find the fact that they can walk every where is charming and addictive. The number of times I have heard, ' I just came for a few days and I am still coming hear after all these years'. I did the same 24 years ago!

I think you have got to stay 4 days to do the island justice. I would do a dive, snorkel with the sharks, a booze cruise, and kayak. I would want to visit Maya Bay, Bamboo Island and Viewpoint. The list goes on.

Check out these useful links.

Best of Phi Phi Island

Shark watch snorkeling on Long Beach, Koh Phi Phi
Shark watch snorkeling on Long Beach, Koh Phi Phi

Longtail with Phi Phi Ley in the background
Longtail with Phi Phi Ley in the background

Bamboo island

Cliff jumping
Maya Bay

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Ferry to Phuket - Koh Phi Phi- Is this enough time to catch my flight?

I'm trying to coordinate my return from Koh Phi Phi to Bangkok, via Phuket.
If my ferry arrives at Rassada Pier at 4:00 pm, will I have time to catch my 7:05 pm flight out of Phuket Airport? Bangkok Airways says we need to arrive at the airport 1.5 hours before the flight, making the timing a bit tight.
Will our timing be ok? Or should we choose the ferry that arrives to Rassada Pier at 11:00 am?

Answer to: Is this enough time to catch my flight?
A taxi/minibus transfer from the Rassada pier at 4pm for a 7pm flight from Phuket Airport is easily arranged and should be no problems in timing. The taxi/minibus drivers usually skirt Phuket town traffic round the back of Khao Yang and get up to the airport in just over an hour at that time in the day.
If you go from Phi Phi to Krabi, the ferry takes the same time but the trip from the pier to Krabi Airport is 40 minutes. There are less daily flights from Krabi Airport to Bangkok (5 a day) than from Phuket airport  (5 a day) to Bangkok.

Useful Links. 

Airport Transfer from Phuket Phi Phi

Rassada Pier Phuket

Sea Angel ferry bound for Rassada Pier from Phi Phi
Sea Angel ferry bound for Rassada Pier from Phi Phi

Picking up mini buses at Rassada Pier
Picking up mini buses at Rassada Pier

Krabi Jirad Pier
Krabi Jirad Pier

On the way to Krabi
On the way to Krabi

Friday, July 1, 2016

Maya Bay, Koh Phi Phi.

What can you say, Maya Bay touches the heart and imagination of so many with it's beauty and sheer drama. Voted in the Top 10 world beaches, Maya Bay leaves lasting memories on all who visit. For those who have never been, just one image puts it straight on the bucket list.

Maya Bay Video

There are so many videos of Maya Bay as it is the place to capture on movie format. This one I have chosen just starts sensationally with drone shots to die for. Thank you Koh Phi Phi Islands, Thailand in 4K Drone, Music Video Remixed. Enjoy..

When to go to Maya Bay.

Because of its geology and geography you can get to Maya Bay on most days of the year... Even in the monsoon months, if the waves are coming in too large at the entrance, there is a walk through from Loh Samah, an inlet on the other side of the cliffs. This, in itself is a classic walk through virgin jungle for 180 metres and well worth doing, even if you arrive at the main beach.

Weather in Maya Bay

Koh Phi Phi weather can be found here and the real time rain radar can be useful. This will tell you all the best times to visit during the year.

The Beach.

Maya Bay was put in the world's attention when Leonardo Di Caprio shot his Movie "The Beach" here in 2000. The movie, about a wayward backpacker, in search of the ultimate travel experience. It wasn't a huge success but the garden of Eden imagery immediately shot Koh Phi Phi into the headlines. Some Leonardo groupies turn up to see where the movie was shot, but most people are just drawn by its sheer beauty.

View point at Maya Bay
View point at Maya Bay

How to get to Maya Bay?

Phi Phi Ley is a remote island about 2km from Phi Phi Don. No formal accommodation can be found on the island. The only people who stay there are Marine Park wardens and seasonal farmers who scale the cliffs in search of the Bird's Nest for the Chinese Bird's Soup.

The 2 main ways to get to Maya Bay are from Phuket on a day tour or from Koh Phi Phi by staying overnight. The tours from Phuket offer PhuketPhiPhi big ferry- cruiser snorkel tours and Maya Bay speedboat tours.

Tours from Phi Phi Don can be very varied. Longtail boat trips can be organised by travel businesses on the island or private hire down by the pier. The classic Maya Bay -Phi Phi full day tour  is highly memorable.

Nearest Accommodation.

The nearest accommodation is on Phi Phi Don at budget guesthouses like Coco's in the main village all the way up to the 5 star Zeavola Resort on Laem Tong Beach.

One of the cute hideaway beaches at Maya Bay.
One of the cute hideaway beaches at Maya Bay.
This little beach is just as you arrive at Maya Bay from the ocean entrance and is on the right hand side. As with all Maya Bay, access is best at high tide. The sand at the high tide point is insanely pretty and light, the views and atmosphere truly wonderful.

Snorkeling in Maya Bay

The shallow snorkel reef is about 180 meters from the main Maya Bay beach. Mostly boats anchor off the small National Park buoys which are an easy 40 meter swim to the reef edge. You don't need to go up to the reef as the the whole bay is a coral field where you can  view a wonderful array of species of Andaman Sea reef life.

Some of the best snorkeling can be done along the great walls on the northern edge of the entrance but these coral walls plunge deeply down to 20 meters depth and can be inaccessible especially in low season, May to October end.

Maya Bay Snorkeling
Maya Bay Snorkeling
Maya Bay snorkel
Maya Bay snorkel tours
The main types of boats used for snorkeling on this reef are the longtail, speedboat and big boat. The traditional longtail boat is a small wooden craft with a long prop-shaft and is a great way to tour the reefs on Phi Phi Ley. Small groups of snorkelers can get into places that the bigger boats cannot. They can be difficult to get into and out of but are a lot of fun.

Speedboat tours of Phi Phi nearly always stop at Maya Bay reef for a time to snorkel. Often these boats do time on "The Beach" and out on the reef so you get a decent amount of time in the bay. Tours as referred to above with full day trips like the  Maya Bay speedboat tours from Phuket or the more local  Maya Bay -Phi Phi full day tour.

The big boat tours are another unique way of enjoying the magnificent Maya Bay. These are old fishing boats converted into day trip boats. Around 30 people hang out together and visit the bay as a group. This can be great fun but large groups can scare away the larger marine life.

Further useful series of links for snorkeling around Maya Bay can be found here:

Snorkeling off the beach of Phi Phi

Diving in Maya Bay

Maya Bay Diving is iconic and one of my favourite dive locations on Koh Phi Phi. From the dramatic scenery above the waterline you plunge below to a world of huge cliff walls, boulders the size of trucks and small houses. Huge fan corals can grow between the more protected rocks but a yearly monsoonal surge ensures that any that grow in exposed areas get swept away.

Maya Bay Diving
Maya Bay Diving

As you pass through ravines and hidden corners it is common to surprise larger marine life such as turtles and grouper. As you head further west out to the entrance of Maya Bay the water is deeper at around 15-20 meters.

Maya Bay reef
Maya Bay reef

The wall diving is extensive on both sides of the entrance to Maya Bay with every indentation and promontory a place for shoals of juvenile to hide.

Maya Bay is also popular with dive boats as a lunch stop. The National Park marine buoys are an easy pick up and make grand setting for a fried rice in-between dives.

Shoals of trevally hunting the walls outside Maya Bay
Shoals of trevally hunting the walls outside Maya Bay

Dive boat getting out to Maya Bay
Dive boat getting out to Maya Bay
Good tip: Stay on Phi Phi if you wish to dive the islands. 
There are many dive companies on Koh Phi Phi Don at Tonsai Village and at Long beach and Laem Tong beaches. They have every facility, PADI and SSSI, Open Water to Instructor courses and many type of dive boat from longtail, through to converted fishing boat to bespoke dive boat.

The advantage of staying on Koh Phi Phi is that diving starts just 15 minutes from the island where as the Phuket or Krabi dive tours need 45 min bus transfers and 2 hour dive boat transfers to the same site.

More useful links.

Article list Koh Phi Phi Diving - Scuba diving and dive sites

Phi Phi Dive Sites Maya Bay

tags:  maya bay, mayabay, phiphi, #phiphi, #mayabay, Ferry, Speedboat, Tours, Koh Phi Phi Sea,The Beach, #thebeach, Leonardo Di Caprio, #LeonardoDiCaprio, Maya Bay Video, #MayaBayVideo, PhuketPhiPhi, #PhuketPhiPhi 


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