Phi Phi Island Cruise
The Phi Phi group of islands lies about 50 kilometres Southeast of Phuket. The main island, Phi Phi Don, is the only one with a resident population. The island features two crescent bays back-to-back which almost bisect the island, except for a narrow strip of land.The bays are framed by tall limestone karsts crowned with festooning greenery.
A short boat ride away lays Phi Phi Lei. Only a handful of people are fortunate enough to live on this spectacularly beautiful Island, the national park rangers and the birds nest guards. With its’ hidden lagoon, spectacular snorkeling and diving, awe inspiring caves and cliffs it is rated as one of the Top 10 must see islands in the world.
The beauty of the islands and their proximity to the mainland mean that the area is a popular day-trip destination. The film ‘The Beach’ starring Leonardo di Caprio was filmed here contributing to an increase in the number of visitors. Back on Phi Phi Don there is a deep-water pier on Tonsai Bay which is used by ferries and dive boats.
Sadly, the tourist services have degraded parts of this scenic paradise – primarily on the saddle of land at the island’s heart. In the evening, however, the day tourists depart and the island tempo changes to a more vibrant beat as locals and longer term residents party into the night in the many night spots. If you wish to avoid the ‘maddening crowd’s there are many deserted bays which still offer beauty and seclusion. On your own charter boat you will have no problem finding the right spot.
Archaeological artifacts discovered on Phi Phi indicate that the place has been inhabited since prehistoric times. The name may have derived from the Malay Pokok Api-Api which means Fiery Tree – a species of mangrove found here.
Since the nineteenth century it has been occupied principally by Muslim fishermen. Coconuts were also cultivated. A profitable cottage industry is the harvesting of bird’s nests on Phi Phi Ley, highly esteemed in China. In 1983 Phi Phi was declared a National Park and there are no tarmac roads on the island.
The island group offers a wide array of coral dive sites teeming with marine species of all kinds. There is an elevated viewpoint (over 150 metres) offering breathtaking sea vistas and a quaint local restaurant.
Climbing is a popular pastime for many with climbing shops and tour guides becoming established over the last few years. If you’re really adventurous, one company offers cliff jumping tuition and a film of your spectacular cliff jump. Sunsets are often a stunning mix of pastel light and shade, with Loh Sama Bay being a popular spot to relax in one of the many beach side bars for the spectacular sunset as it can only be seen in the tropics.