Scenes from Koh Phi Phi

beach in koh phi phi

Koh Phi Phi: The ultimate Thai island!

I wasn’t expecting to like Koh Phi Phi. In fact, I wasn’t even planning to go there.

I’d read hundreds of articles in the past describing how it’s overrun with obnoxious tourists. That it’s dirty, smelly and polluted; that it’s extremely expensive for Thailand. It didn’t sound particularly appealing. 

But when Dave and I screwed up with our boat schedule when trying to get from Phuket to Koh Lanta and realised we couldn’t get there directly, we found ourselves reluctantly heading to Phi Phi for the day.

To my surprise, I found myself falling in love with the island within the first few minutes of arriving. Yes, there were parts that were dirty and smelly but I found these to be concentrated in one small area of the island and easily avoidable. And the tourists? It was surprisingly easy to escape the crowds too.

We stayed just a five minute walk from the main backpacker area in Tee Guesthouse and for 750 baht a night we had a private fan room, a hot shower, a dodgy toilet and a decent wifi connection.

We liked Koh Phi Phi so much that we ended up ditching our original plan of spending a few weeks working on Koh Lanta and headed back to Phi Phi instead.

It was definitely the right decision.

Phi Phi was a surprisingly easy place to work from – the area we were staying in was so quiet and peaceful that we didn’t feel like we were on a crazy party island at all. We spent our mornings working, our afternoons on the beach and our evenings drinking strawberry daiquiris out of a fishbowl. For the first few days, anyway.

These are some of my favourite photos from my time on Phi Phi:

My love affair with the island began on the ferry ride over there. We spent two hours gliding past tiny islands with striking limestone cliffs and uninhabited beaches. Even the larger islands were gorgeous.

islands by koh phi phi

One of my favourite spots on Koh Phi Phi is the Viewpoint. It took me over 30 minutes to struggle up the 300 metre climb to the top but it was SO worth it when I was rewarded with views like these. Just make sure you bring plenty of water with you!

views from the phi phi viewpoint

koh phi phi viewpoint

I loved the beaches on Phi Phi. They were so much cleaner than I had been expecting although I still kept my mouth closed while I was in the water!

This was Tonsai Beach. At low tide the water was ridiculously shallow and you could easily walk a couple of hundred metres out into the ocean and still only be waist-deep in water.

beach in koh phi phi

Which I did almost everyday.

beach in koh phi phi

To give you some idea of just how shallow the water was – when I took this picture I was up to my knees in water. My knees! It’s definitely not the best beach for swimming!

beach in koh phi phi

I only discovered this part of Tonsai Beach on my final day in Phi Phi, which is a shame because it was absolutely stunning!

It was much quieter than the main strip we’d been hanging out on and although you still had to swim amongst smelly longtails and boats, the amazing scenery more than made up for it. I spent hours floating on my back in the sea staring up at the soaring limestone cliffs and thinking about how I really didn’t want to leave…

beach in koh phi phi

On the other side of the island you can find Loh Dalum beach, a beach that is gorgeous at high tide and kind of horrible at low tide.

I found it to be a lot more crowded than the other beaches, with hostels, restaurants and bars lining the beachfront. However, without the port that Tonsai Beach has, the water felt a lot less polluted…

beach on koh phi phi

My two weeks on Koh Phi Phi were incredibly relaxing and enjoyable but more importantly, I managed to get a hell of a lot of work done. By the end of it though? I was exhausted and I desperately needed a break.

I had been working far too hard.

Once more, Dave and I found our plans changing and we decided that in order to remain sane, we needed spend our final week in the islands going off the grid.

We were heading to a Thai island paradise with no internet and I planned on doing an awful lot of napping…



  1. June 26, 2012

    I think it’s amazing! It could be overrated, but it’s still amazing!It looks like a paradise. Would love to visit Thailand one day, especially Koh Phi Phi island.

    • July 1, 2012

      Yep, it was pretty awesome! :)

  2. Chris
    June 26, 2012

    I’ve just left Phi Phi and can’t wait to get back there in a month…it’s a stunning place to relax :)

    • July 1, 2012

      I know, it’s so much more relaxing than the party island image it portrays :D

  3. Kieu ~ GQ trippin
    June 26, 2012

    Ahh I miss Phi Phi. Gerard’s jealous you took a better picture of the view at the peak! LOL. We had a cloudy day I think.

    • July 1, 2012

      Well of course. I am the better person LOL :D

  4. Jen
    June 26, 2012

    this looks so beautiful! xx

    • July 1, 2012

      Doesn’t it?! Ah, I miss it so much!

  5. June 26, 2012

    Great photos and I was like you to, I didn’t think I’d like it that much but once I got there I loved it. I only got a day there as I was on a tour and really trying to just see Maya Bay but I wish I had been able to spend about 3 days on the island. Now I have an excuse to go back! ;)

    • July 1, 2012

      Definitely! :) I’m glad I decided to go with my gut instinct and head back for a second time!

  6. Katie
    June 26, 2012

    Hmmm… I hadn’t been planning on visiting Koh Phi Phi because of similar things I had read about it, but those pictures sure make it look beautiful! I might have to make a stop there after all :)

    • July 1, 2012

      It’s much nicer than people say it is!

  7. A Montrealer Abroad
    June 26, 2012

    I could understand why one would want to settle there for a few weeks despite not having planned on it!

    • July 1, 2012

      It was a great place to have as a base for a while :)

  8. June 26, 2012

    I day-tripped to Koh Phi PHi too, and I actually enjoyed the island. I didn’t end up hiking to the viewpoint – but it was fun walking along the beaches. It wasn’t as bad as its reputation made it out to be. But I find reputations come from those who stay only where everyone else does too.

    • July 1, 2012

      Yep, definitely! I loved it even more when I got away from the main backpacker area.

  9. Elle
    June 26, 2012

    Koh Phi Phi looks like heaven! I can’t wait to head over to Asia.

    • July 1, 2012

      You’ll love it, Elle! :)

  10. Jaime
    June 26, 2012

    OMG… I MUST GO HERE!!! This looks afuckingmazing. Great shots (as usual).

    • July 1, 2012

      Yes, you must! When are you getting to Thailand?! ;)

  11. Amanda @ Farsickness
    June 27, 2012

    I had no real desire to go to Phi Phi, but after seeing these photos I might, like you, give it a try!

    • July 1, 2012

      I really recommend it, Amanda! :)

  12. June 27, 2012

    i wish i was there… on that white sand… drinking strawberry daiquiris out of a fishbowl :)
    great pics!

  13. Diane
    June 27, 2012

    Looks beautiful! Hope to get there one day! Thx for sharing

  14. June 27, 2012

    It’s always the unexpected journeys that end up being the best!

  15. June 27, 2012

    Oh, oh, Phi Phi, gorgeous little girl with a mean attitude.

    Hate her with all my guts. Glad i dumped her. :)

  16. Micamyx|Senyorita
    June 27, 2012

    Love the pictures! Will consider a trip to Koh Phi Phi soon :D

  17. jade
    June 27, 2012

    Beautiful! I’d love to visit someday!

  18. Waegook Tom
    June 28, 2012

    These photos are totes gorgeous, Lauren. Not really read that many positive posts on Ko Phi Phi before, so it’s nice to know that the whole island is by no means a tourist hell-hole!

  19. Toni
    July 1, 2012

    Ouch. Now I really do regret not going to Phi Phi for the exact same reasons that almost stopped you – dammit :s

  20. December 12, 2012

    I’ve almost always read bad things about Phi Phi so this is a pleasant surprise. Colour me confused.

  21. Gabry-elle
    May 24, 2013

    I will be in ko phi phi with a friend in two days, i wonder if you can tell me where you stayed while you were there? And also how expensive it was. We are looking for a nice place to stay at least for a week so I guess you will have nice informations for us haha. Thank you so much !

    • May 24, 2013

      Hi Gabry-elle, did you read my post? ;-) I mentioned in the first few sentences where I stayed and the price! I stayed at Tee Guesthouse and it was 750 baht.

  22. Ans
    May 26, 2013

    Thanks for your review. I’m planning to go to Phi Phi for a long stay and I need to be Internet-working in the mornings, since I work in an online language school with videoconference classes. Do you think I would have any problem with that? Is wifi good enough over there? You are the only person who wrote about this issue, so I would really appreciate it if you could give me some info. Many thanks!:)

    • May 26, 2013

      Hi Ans,

      There’s decent internet on Phi Phi but it was terrible at Tee Guesthouse, where I stayed. I’d check out online reviews to try and find somewhere that has fast internet but unfortunately none of the places I’ve stayed have had it!

      • Ana
        May 26, 2013

        Hi Lauren,

        thanks for your quick reply. Your comment is very helpful. I’ll check out online reviews too just to make sure before I get there.

  23. July 2, 2015

    Thanks Lauren for sharing this amazing adventure :)

    Absolutely loved your post and I have to say ever since the movie, I’m hooked to Koh-Phi-Phi

    I have yet to discover it for myself
    but thanks to your post and images
    I could almost feel the hot sand between my toes :)

    I recently did a blog post of my own about The Beach and Thailand
    and if you like you check it out, but be warned.. might get hooked to my weird sense of humor :)

    You can check out my post here:

    Thanks again for inspiring me,

    Love and light,

  24. Viajar a Tailandia
    November 20, 2015

    Amazing pictures. No wonder you fell in love with this island, you seem to have had a great time! And it’s nice to read your thoughts on it. Cheers from Spain and keep the good work with your blog.

    • November 21, 2015

      Thank you! It was a great trip :-)

  25. February 13, 2017

    I love Thailand, the islands, the people, the foods, …., fantastic!

    • February 15, 2017

      Agreed! Although I’m still working on falling in love with Thai food :-)

  26. April 29, 2018

    hi nice post. I visited Koh Phi Phi in 2016. And I will always remember this island for its blue water, white sand beaches :)

  27. November 12, 2019

    i will be in ko phi phi with a friend in two days, i wonder if you can tell me where you stayed while you were there? And also how expensive it was. We are looking for a nice place to stay at least for a week so I guess you will have nice informations for us haha. Thank you so much !