Phi Phi Island: A hidden gem in turquoise waters

Richa Khare

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Phi Phi Island BeachPhoto by author

Nestled in the green jewelled sea between Phuket and Krabi in Thailand is a hidden gem named Phi Phi Island. Breathtaking exotic beaches, white sands, lush greenery, abundant wildlife, water adventures, happening nightlife, exotic cuisine: You name it and it has all.

I visited this beautiful island in February 2019 with my family of four; me, my husband, and my two daughters. Normally it’s recommended to take a day trip here from either Phuket or Krabi. But we already visited Phi Phi island for a day in November 2015 from Phuket and felt the need to explore more. So, this time we decided to spend two nights here and then proceed to Krabi.

We flew directly to Krabi International Airport from Doha, Qatar where I live presently. From there we had to take a ferry which will take us to the magnificent island. The sea trip is an experience in itself. The scenic beauty and crystal clear waters greet you as you reach Phi Phi Island pier.

Day One

After reaching the pier we started towards our hotel on foot. The whole island consists of narrow lanes and any type of transport other than a bicycle and a wheelbarrow is not possible. Lugging our big suitcases we reached our hotel after a short march of 15 min. After reaching we were told that we can’t check-in before 1 pm although it was only 11 am that time. However, they provided a washroom for us to change. After changing out of our travel clothes(which have to be formal because we are airline staff), we proceeded towards the pristine beach in front of the hotel.

This view greeted us immediately

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The water was so clean at the beach that there was plenty of aquatic life just near the beach and we had to step in the water carefully. The scene looked straight out of a travel guidebook. After enjoying for a while in water we noticed that it was time for us to check in so proceeded towards the hotel to relax a little.

After lunch, we hiked to the highest point of the island from where the whole island surrounded by crystal clear waters and lush vegetation was visible in all its glory.

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We watched the magnificent sunset from here and then started down for the main town. At night this small quaint island transforms into something else. There are many nightclubs and Bistro with loud music. Small and big restaurants peppered throughout the small lanes are beautifully decorated with lights. It's Christmas here all year round. The whole setup gives a feeling of being in happening surroundings. Definitely, this is not for anyone looking for a peaceful night. But we enjoyed this fun-filled environment and spent late hours outside before crawling to our cosy beds in the hotel.

Day Two

In the morning after breakfast, we took a whole day boating tour to various islands located nearby. There are many activities to be done throughout the day like

  1. Island Hopping
  2. Snorkelling in crystal clear waters(both deep and shallow waters)
  3. Monkey watching in their natural habitat in mountains
  4. Beautiful and Exotic Maya Bay
  5. An out of the world experience of watching Glowing Planktons at night

Island Hopping

There are many islands situated at a short distance from each other. These can be explored by boat and all of them have beautiful beaches with clear water and white sand.

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Photo by Author From an Island nearby

A lot of aquatic life is available to explore right at the beach in shallow water. You can have a great time looking at them through your snorkelling glasses or splashing in the waves on the other side of the island.

Snorkelling

There are many points where exotic marine life is on display in their natural habitat of colorful corals. The guides know these places well and take you there. We enjoyed the view in deep waters with our specially designed snorkelling masks which enable breathing through the nose without worrying about water entering the nose.

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Monkey Watching

There are numerous cavities in the steep rocks where abundant wildlife thrives. This comprises mostly monkeys. They are quite friendly and come down near the tourists in the hope of food.

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Maya Bay

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This is by far the most beautiful and picturesque place on the whole island. Sadly, when we visited the island in 2019, the beach on the bay was closed for the tourists to preserve aquatic life. We had to have a look from a distance while on the boat. But we were able to enjoy snorkelling in the clear waters with the bay in the backdrop.

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Glowing Planktons

Saving the best for the last, after the sunset our boat took us to a special place where we could experience something unbelievable. Planktons are very small organisms that glow in the dark by a phenomenon known as Bioluminescence. For the planktons to be visible we had to wait till it was dark and then quite abruptly this view greeted us in the water.

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No this isn’t any artificial light coming from under the sea. It’s because of thousands of glowing planktons. It was such an out of the world experience. We looked mesmerized at the sea for more than half-hour and then started back for the Phi Phi Island as the tour was over.

Last Day

Reluctantly we had to say goodbye to this beautiful place on the third day. We boarded the ferry and proceeded towards Krabi for more adventures.

Food and Shopping

Thailand boasts of some tasty and colorful cuisine. We were not disappointed at all while on the island.

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Whatever food we tried was very tasty and fresh. It was full of colors and variety. Even vegetarian people can find many options here.

Phi Phi Island is a haven for shopping, braiding, and tattoo. Shops full of beautiful clothes and swimsuits litter the lanes where you can find the cheap but good stuff. Bargaining is very rampant here so feel free to haggle a little.

Beautiful and colorful braiding is done at a very low price. There are many tattoo parlors if anyone wants to try and they are quite professional too. My both daughters loved the braiding though and kept them on for more than 15 days after coming back.

Though our trip was a short one, it was memorable. I long to visit the island once again.

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