Exploring the Phi Phi Islands of Phuket, Thailand

Phuket

Phi Phi Islands

Arriving at Ocean Mania, we begin our Phi Phi Islands and Maya Bay Tour with kkday our guide reviews our itinerary for the day. Fins, clean mouth pieces, and sand socks are available at additional costs. Before boarding the boat, shoes are collected and returned at the end of the tour.

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The photographer of all the colorful ocean life found while snorkeling in the Phi Phi Islands is sitting to our right.
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Long-tail boats are popular for navigating the shallow, narrow bays of Thailand. 

Bamboo Island

After an hour speed boat ride we arrive at the uninhabited white sand beaches of Bamboo Island or Koh Pai. The heart-shaped island is named after the many central growing bamboo trees. 

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A coral reef home to colorful ocean life almost entirely surrounds the white sand beaches. For more adventurous snorkelers, Hin Klang coral reef is located farther off shore between Phi Phi Don and Bamboo Island.

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Phi Phi Don

Phi Phi Don, once a coconut plantation, is inhabited and the largest of the 2 main Phi Phi islands. We arrive for lunch at a small section of beach bordered by a secluded resort and what appear to be homes. 

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Many crabs live among the rocks on the beaches of Phi Phi Don.

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At 1:30pm, we are not the only boat needing assistance leaving the island during low tide. After our boat is towed to deeper waters, we form a single file line behind our guide to avoid stepping on rocks or sea urchins. Bags are piled on our heads in attempts to keep our belongings dry as we carefully walk farther into the ocean towards our boat. 

Monkey Bay

Macaque monkeys are the only inhabitants of Monkey Bay, located on Phi Phi Don. Use caution when visiting the beach, Macaque monkeys are known for their mischievous and occasionally aggressive behavior. Avoid showing teeth (smiling and laughing), or making eye contact. These actions can provoke the Macaques and result in aggressive behavior.

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Viking Cave

Viking Cave, located on Phi Phi Leh, is named after the paintings found on the walls inside the cave and famous for the Swiftlet bird nests collected for bird nest soup, a Chinese delicacy believed to have extreme health benefits, rejuvinate the skin, and assist with digestion. Bird nest soup is one of the most expensive animal made food products in the world. The saliva of the swiftlet, or sea swallow, hardens when exposed to air creating extremley hard nests the size of an egg. The bamboo scaffolding used to retrieve the nests can be seen at the mouth of the cave.

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Pi Ley Bay

Due to the low tide our boat is unable to enter Pi Ley Bay, also known as Pileh Lagoon at Phi Phi Leh, the second largest of the 6 Phi Phi Islands

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The air cools slightly as our boat passes into the shadows of the massive limestone formations of Phi Phi Leh. The sun only reaches the water between 12:00pm – 1:00pm. There are beaches on the western side of the island, but Phi Phi Leh is most popular for snorkeling and swimming. 

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Use extreme caution when snorkeling in the shallow waters to avoid stepping on the many sea urchins living among the ocean floor. 

Khai Nai Island

A 30 minute speed boat ride from Phuket, in the Phang Nga Bay is the lively Khai Nai Island. Bars, shops, and restaurants, and cats line the white sand beaches.

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Phuket Tips

Phuket

  • A multiple day excursion is needed to see the 6 Phi Phi Islands. If we were to retake our trip to Phi Phi Islands, we would book a 2 or 3 day cruise throughout the islands of Southern Thailand. Our 1 day excursion was a great introduction to the islands, but left us wanting more. Traveling from Phuket and between the islands took much longer than expected. Visiting in September, rough waters also added to our travel time.
  • Confirm Maya Bay is open if it’s listed on the tour’s itinerary. Maya Bay, at Phi Phi Leh, is currently closed to tourists in efforts to survey the environmental damage to the coral reefs caused by tourism. The bay is planned to reopen on September 30th. 

September 2018

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Author: The Traveling Gingerbread

My fiancé, Mitch, and I have been traveling together over four years. Living and working full-time in Pittsburgh, PA, we travel as much as our vacation days and finances allow. We cram each adventure with activities, tours, and experiences to maximize our time. Any time we travel, we try to visit to a local brewery and can't walk by an Irish pub without stopping in for a pint of Guinness. 
 In Tokyo, we laughed every time we saw someone talking on their large, animated phone case. We had to buy one. Having an obsolete IPhone 5, the selection was limited. We purchased a gingerbread off a neglected rack in Shinjuku, Tokyo and The Traveling Gingerbread was born. You can purchase your own adorable gingerbread friend here! The Traveling Gingerbread is an entertaining account of our travels, fun facts, and tips we learned along the way.

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