The Phi Phi islands are a group of tropical havens in the Andaman sea, set between Phuket and Krabi. Phi Phi Don is the only inhabited island, but it is rather nice to take a long tail boat and do a day trip around the nearby Phi Phi Leh.

Sunrise level: epic

When choosing accommodation on Phi Phi, keep in mind that Tonsai Bay and the bay directly on the other side is like Phuket, or like Gili Trawangan in Bali: scuba schools, bars advertising cheap drink buckets, pizza and burger joints, scruffy hostels and massage parlours fight for your money - and don't forget the constant boat selling from every direction. Needless to say, Tonsai was not my choice for a home base.

Seagypsy bbq on the beach

Breakfast on the beach at sunrise

We stayed in the north part of Phi Phi, in Lalum Thong beach with only a few resorts and a sea gypsy village in between. At first, it seemed very boring and resort-y, but since we spent our only full day chartering a longtail boat and going from one gorgeous point to another and snorkelling in between, the calm and quiet environment for sleep were more than welcomed.

Damdi, our personal seagypsy captain

We agreed with Damdi, a sea gypsy who lives in his boat, to leave at 6 am to see the sunrise, then continue to Maya Bay (the famous and very much overcrowded bay seen in ages old movie with young Leo, The Beach), go snorkeling, see other interesting and way better places than Maya Bay, have some time kayaking, and return in the afternoon. We were on the sea for almost 8 hours, and agreed on a price of 2500TBH (about 100AUD or 64EUR) for the whole boat.


If you ever go to Phi Phi, on off-season you can enjoy some solitude, cheaper prices, and more space when snorkeling. Skip Maya Bay, rent a longtail boat with few people for a day as opposed to taking a tour, and stay elsewhere than Tonsai Bay, unless you want the party party and backpacker feeling.

Dramatic sunset after a storm