Phi Phi (pronounced PP) Island is a group of islands (Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Ley) off the south east coast of Phuket. They became a very popular tourist destination after the filming of “The Beach” in 2000 with Leonardo DiCaprio. We went on a tour of the islands that included a round trip transfer from our hotel, snacks, snorkeling and lunch. We rode on a speedboat enabling us to get close to many viewpoints and docking off the coast of the islands. I took a picture of the brochure to show you our route.

The trip from the hotel to the Marina took about an hour. During this trip, we went up and over the mountain and were able to see some of the inland parts of the island. After getting underway, the first part of the trip was very bumpy and rough. We were excited for our first stop! Our first stop on the tour was off the coast of Phi Phi Don where we were able to snorkel of the coast for about 45 minutes. The water was very clear and refreshing! Here are few pictures I captured using our underwater camera.

After snorkeling, we made a quick sightseeing stop at Monkey Beach. We were not permitted to leave the boat to see the monkeys. Instead we could capture a few photos of them from the boat.

A short trip on the boat took us to Phi Phi Don where we enjoyed a buffet lunch. After lunch we had a little time to walk along the beach and through the town. It was a quiet island community.

After lunch we were back on the boat and rode past viking cave. It is located on the eastern side of Phi Phi Ley. The cave is not open to tourist in order to protect the wall paintings of elephants and various boats. The paintings are suspected to have been painted by sea gypsies or pirates seeking shelter in the cave from passing storms. Also, inside the caves are swift nests. Swifts are a bird similar to a swallow. The bamboo scaffolding outside the cave is used to access the nests. Simultaneously, there are a lot of platforms and alters used for meditation prior to entering the caves. The birds and caves are protected and formal permission must be obtained prior to entering.

Our next stop was Pileh Lagoon. Here we were able to enter a narrow and very shallow lagoon. It was breathtaking.

As we rode toward Maya Baya, we passed huge islands /rocks. Our guide told us this was “ground zero” of the 2004 tsunami. This was one of the first islands hit by the wave. You can see the erosion from the wave.

Next we anchored in Maya Bay. When you see pictures of Thailand beaches, it is highly probable you are seeing a picture taken in Maya Bay. It is majestic. There were as I have mentioned, lots of tourist. We still enjoyed walking the beach, taking pictures and swimming in the water.

Our final stop was Khai Nok Island. Here we were able to have a snack on the beach and a delicious adult beverage. I opted for a piƱa colada in a freshly opened coconut. Dave enjoyed a chilled Chang. (Chang became our favorite Thai beer during our visit.)

I do have to share one sad observation from our trip. Ecotourism has a price. Khai Nok Island was covered in freshly crushed coral. This picture captures the number of boats and tourists. I count at least 10 boats in this picture and it was only one area where they were docking. That represents a 250-300 people in one day stopping at the same. This island receives boats all day long.

And this picture shows the broken coral.

The experience was amazing. It was also a good reminder to keep our eyes open to everything and make kinder decisions. It was because of this, we decided not to do an elephant trekking tour or even the elephant bathing. We couldn’t bring ourselves to support an ecotourism company that exploits animals.

After our stop on Khai Nok Island, we were back on the boat and heading back to the marina. We went up and over the mountain and back to Patong Beach. What an amazing day!