Resort Hotels Network
independent travel resource

Phi Phi Islands, Krabi, Thailand

The name is derived from Malay, and the original was Pulao Pi Ah Pi, where in pulao is the Malay word for island, and Pi, pronounced with only a half p sound, was very close in pronunciation to the English word be; the ah was eventually dropped, so the name was said something like Bi Bi. Later the p was pronounced with a stronger aspiration and the name became the Pi Pi we know today (the h with which it usually spelled is confusing and superfluous). The name refers to the mangrove wood found there. Six Islands are in the group; Phi Phi Don, Phi Phi Ley, Biddan Nok, Biddan Nai, Yung, and Pai; total area is about 35 square kilometers. They were incorporated into the national park in 1983.

Yung Island

Lies to the north of Phi Phi Don. There is a rocky beach on the east side, and a smaller stand of sand in a fold of the hill. Many beautiful and various corals are found there.

Phi Island

Lies also to the north of Phi Phi Don, not far from Koh Yung. Sandy beaches are on the north and east sides of the Island. Broad coral reefs stretch away into the south.

Phi Phi Don Island

Covers a total area of 28 square kilometers: 8 kilometers in length and 3.5 at its broadest point. At the north end is Cape Laem Tohng where there is a Chao Ley, or sea gypsy village. These sea gypsies emigrated from Koh Lipeh in Tarutao National Park, near the border with Malaysia. Diving at Laem Tohng is excellent, as it is also at Hua Rah Ket to the extreme south. There are long beaches with rocks scattered about Two curving bays are especially beautiful: Ton Sai and Loh Dalam. This is also where accommodations and tourist services are found.

Phi Phi Ley Island

Is 6.6 square kilometers in total area: 3 kilometers in length and 1 at its broadest point. The Island is entirely limestone and steep cliffs rising from the sea very nearly ring it. Surrounding waters average about 20 meters in depth, reaching 34 meters at the deepest point off the Island's southern tip. Phi Phi Lay has several beautiful bays: Pileh, Maya, and Loh Samah; Ao Pileh is very nearly enclosed by the limestone walls of the Island's cliffs, so that the water appears almost to be an inland sea. On Phi Phi Ley's northeast is the famous Viking Cave; this was renamed by H.M. Rama IX when he visited it in 1972, Tahm Pya Nak, from the shape of a particular boulder, which resembles in shape the head of the great serpent of Buddhist legend, the Naga. It is a place much revered by the local people who come there to collect the swift's nests used to make Bird's Nest Soup, a Chinese delicacy. On the eastern and southern walls of the cave are colored drawings dating from historic times. There are of various boat: European, Arab, and Chinese sailing ships; barques, motorboats and stream ships. It is theorized that these pirates who paused in their travels from west to east, sheltering in the cave to escape the monsoon winds, transfer cargo, or make repairs. Travel to the Phi Phi Island, Tour operators in both Phuket and Krabi provide transport and tour packages to this popular destination. Regular boat service is available from Krabi Passenger Port.