Ko Phi Phi (หมู่เกาะพีพี) is a small archipelago in Krabi Province, Southern Thailand.

Understand[edit]

Aerial photo of Ko Phi Phi Don

The named islands are:

  • Ko Phi Phi Don. The largest and only populated island.
  • Ko Phi Phi Leh. A smaller island to the south, popularised when parts of the movie The Beach were filmed there. Uninhabited apart from birds nest harvesters and a few Maya Bay wardens. Expect plenty of tourists during daylight hours, especially in Maya Bay, also known as "the beach".
  • Bida Nok and Bida Nai. Two small adjacent limestone karst formations to the south of Phi Phi Leh, with near-vertical cliff walls rising from the sea.
  • Ko Mai Phai (Bamboo Island). A small low-lying islet to the north of Phi Phi Don with several good beaches.
  • Ko Yung (north of Ko Phi Phi Don). The island has a stone beach in the east and small sandy beaches at the foot of the hills. It is teeming with colourful coral reefs.

Most of the development of Phi Phi Don is in or around Ton Sai Village, which is on the low, sandy isthmus that joins the two hilly spurs that comprise the rest of the island. There are also other, quieter resorts on Long Beach, Laem (Cape) Thong, and at other less accessible areas of the island.

Ko Phi Phi was devastated by the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004, when the island's entire infrastructure was nearly wiped out. Redevelopment was, however, swift, and building regulations in place to limit the height of new buildings to preserve the island's stunning views.

While very laid back, many of the local islanders are Muslim. You will lose considerable respect if you walk around town in your skimpies (this applies to Buddhist areas of Thailand too!). While many thoughtless tourists do parade down Main Street in their Speedos or thong bikinis, to avoid offending your hosts, it's best just to throw on a pair of shorts or a sarong. Similarly, going topless on the beach, while grudgingly tolerated by most locals, is also best avoided.

Climate[edit]

Weather in the region is tropical. There are only two seasons: the hot season from Jan-Apr, and the rainy season from May-Dec. Temperatures during the year average 25°C to 32°C (77°F to 89.6°F) and the yearly rainfall averages 2569 mm. Unlike in, say, Europe, the rain in this region comes down heavily over short periods.

History[edit]

From archaeological evidence, it is believed that the area was one of the oldest communities in Thailand, dating back to the prehistoric period. It is believed that this province may have taken its name after the meaning of "Krabi", which means "sword". This may have arisen from a legend that an ancient sword was unearthed prior to the city’s founding.

The name Phi Phi (pronounced "pee pee") originates from Malay, the original name for the islands were "Pulao Pi ah Pi". The name refers to the mangrove wood found here.

Geography[edit]

Ko Phi Phi is considered to be one of the most naturally beautiful islands in the world (in fact, there are six islands in Phi Phi). They lie 50 km southeast of Phuket and are part of Had Nopparattara-Ko Phi Phi National Park which is home to an abundance of corals and amazing marine life. There are limestone mountains with cliffs, caves and long white sandy beaches. The national park covers a total area of 242,437 rai (about 39,000 hectares; 97,000 acres).

Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Le are the largest and most well-known islands. The islands are surrounded by the Andaman Sea.

There are two villages on Ko Phi Phi under the administration of Ao Nang sub-district, Muang district, Krabi Province.