First-time travellers to Thailand are always looking to hit up at least one of the islands. And usually, they end up on Koh Phi Phi or Ko Phangan. Not only for their proximity to Phuket (which is often where westerners fly into Thailand) but because of their reputations as party islands. And you’re definitely going to want to spend at least 2 days in Koh Phi Phi.
I had originally wanted to head to Ko Lanta because I’d read about its blissful beaches and chilled out vibe. However, the Phi Phi Islands were so much more convenient from Phuket. And I definitely wanted to head to Maya Bay for The Beach filming locations at some point, so it made sense to make Koh Phi Phi my island of choice.
I spent two nights in Koh Phi Phi Don (the largest of the two islands, the other being Koh Phi Phi Leh), which isn’t a huge amount of time. But if you’re also spending just 2 days in Koh Phi Phi, then this itinerary is for you!
Please note: I ain’t no ‘party animal’ (do the kids still say that?). So, if you’re here hoping for booze cruise recommendations and all the best bucket bars, this ain’t the blog post you’re looking for. I do recommend bars, but they’re slightly more subdued than some of the more popular bars on Koh Phi Phi.
2 Days in Koh Phi Phi
Please note: When researching your trip, you might find so many different spellings of the islands, and I couldn’t tell you which one is accurate. ‘Koh’ or ‘Ko’ means ‘island’, so people usually say ‘Koh Phi Phi’ or ‘Phi Phi Islands’ since there are two islands, Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh. Phi Phi Leh is inhabitable, so no hotels are on that island. Also, ‘Phi Phi’ is pronounced pee pee just as ‘Phuket’ is pronounced Poo-ket. Yup, so better get used to saying that now.
Getting to Koh Phi Phi from Phuket
The Phi Phi Islands are right in the middle of the Andaman Sea between Phuket and Krabi, so it’s an excellent go-between island if you want to visit both. Since I just had a return trip to Koh Phi Phi from Phuket, I can only speak about that journey.
Phuket Town is an excellent place to stay a night before getting a ferry to Phi Phi Islands the next day. It’s a fantastic little city and unlike anywhere else in Thailand.
If you can, arrange your taxi to the pier and ferry tickets with your hotel on Phuket. No matter where you’re staying on Phuket, ask your hotel to take care of everything and you’ll feel more relaxed knowing everything’s in hand. I can’t imagine it costs much less to arrange it yourself.
But if you do want to arrange the taxi and ferry separately yourself, the pier you need is the Rassada Pier. Several boat trips are made every day, so if you get to the pier early enough you should be able to buy ferry tickets once you get there. However, do keep in mind that ferries don’t tend to run after 15:30 in the winter, which is peak season. It might be something to do with the tide, but I’m not sure. Initially, I had hoped to get a ferry over to Koh Phi Phi after my plane landed just after 17:00 but that was impossible and I had to rearrange my plans.
I would definitely stay on the safe side and stay in Phuket (or Krabi) before and after my 2 days in Koh Phi Phi.
Accommodation in Koh Phi Phi
When booking your accommodation (which is likely to be a resort), make sure you know whereabouts on the island it is located. Koh Phi Phi is actually pretty big and some resorts are much more secluded than others. I wanted to be able to walk to and from Tonsai Pier (the pier on Koh Phi Phi Don) and the village whenever I wanted, so I choose a resort on the main beach. This turned out to be a very smart idea!
If you did want more secluded, luxurious accommodation, you probably don’t need this itinerary. It’s unlikely you’ll even leave your resort.
I ended up staying at the Phi Phi Bayview Resort, which is made up of little chalets that stretch into the hills. To be perfectly honest, I’m not really a resort person. But, that’s what you’re going to get on a mid-range budget on Koh Phi Phi. But it had a lovely view over the islands, my own porch and it was definitely clean and comfortable enough for 2 days in Koh Phi Phi.
If you want to stay in a hostel, it’s likely you’ll want to be in the action in Phi Phi/Tonsai village. Check out Hostelworld for the best hostels on Koh Phi Phi which is where I book all my hostels stays.
Day 1 (half day): Ferry to Koh Phi Phi Don & relaxing on the beach
You’ll probably be taking a taxi to Rassada Pier and a ferry to Koh Phi Phi around midday, and the ferry from Phuket to Koh Phi Phi Don takes about two hours. I recommend you hit up a 7/11 convenience store in Phuket to get water and food so you can eat on the ferry over.
Please note: To help keep the island clean, Koh Phi Phi now asks every tourist to give 50THB (£1.20) upon their arrival. Since I’m sure tourists do make a lot of mess and it’s only a super small amount, I wasn’t bothered. Just something to note so you can have it on you when you get depart the ferry.
Once you are on Koh Phi Phi, look out for a guy holding a sign with your hotel/resort name on the pier. I assumed I’d be walking along the beach to our hotel, so it was a nice surprise that a longboat was waiting for the resort guests. Grab your bag as quickly as possible and look out for the sign! This seemed to be the case for all the resorts on the island.
Personally, I’d spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing. Maybe you want to head down to the beach, or swim in your resort pool before dinner or go exploring, but there won’t be much daylight left.
Book an Excursion for the Next Day
Before it gets too late, make sure to ask your resort’s front desk to book an excursion for the next day. I wouldn’t bother booking one at a desk in the village, nor would I book one online beforehand because all the tours will be almost identical. And if you book at your hotel, you’ll be picked up at your hotel. My resort had a separate excursion-booking desk that closed around 20:00. There is so much to see around Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh that is only accessible by boat, so it’s quite likely you’ll be booking an excursion.
Some couples like to hire their own private longboat as they aren’t too expensive, but I’m just not comfortable having that much attention from one guide. Plus, I wanted to meet other travellers. I chose half-day trip via speedboat (more expensive than longboat) around both islands. I was so exhausted after the half day and I really feel like I couldn’t have experienced much more. And I’m so pleased I chose a speedboat excursion rather than a longboat as you can visit more places and there’s more space to move around.
For a half day trip, it was 1,200THB (£28.87) per person which included snorkelling gear, fruit, soft drinks, water and visiting at least five different places around the islands. For reference, the longboat excursion was 700THB (£16.88) so quite a bit cheaper than a speedboat tour. However, you would not fit in nearly the same amount of activities.
Dinner – Pa-Noi Thai Food
After you’re done settling in and you’ve booked your excursion for the next day, walk along the beach to Phi Phi Village. This is the main hub of the island where the ferries dock. No one expects anything fancy on Koh Phi Phi, but if you want to sample some street food style Thai food, head to Pa-Noi Thai Food. They have a huge selection of Thai dishes as well as fruit smoothies.
From there, head to a couple of bars in Tonsai to experience a taste of the Koh Phi Phi backpacker life.
Top tip: If you think you might be getting on a boat at any point during your 2 days in Koh Phi Phi, wear flipflops or be prepared to take your shoes off. I didn’t even think about this, but boats don’t/can’t always dock right up on the sand so you will have to walk into the sea before climbing on. Don’t wear long trousers either, shorts only!
- Walk around Phi Phi village – Lots of shops and stalls are still open into the night so you can check them out as you walk around the village.
- Reggae Bar – One of the few bars in Thailand with a Muay Thai boxing ring in the middle, Reggae Bar serves a fight along with the usual cocktail buckets.
- Hippies Bar & Restaurant – On your way back to your resort, stop off at Hippie’s Bar and Restaurant for a more relaxed, but still backpacker, crowd right on the beach.
Day 2: Phi Phi Don & Leh Islands Excursions, Phi Phi Village
Breakfast: You only have two mornings with this 2 days in Koh Phi Phi itinerary. The first is before your excursion which is an early start and the other is a fairly early start as you’ll be hopping on your ferry back to Phuket or Krabi at midday. There isn’t going to be a lot of time to grab breakfast.
I would recommend just getting breakfast at your resort, it’s going to be cheaper and you’ll probably have more choice. The breakfast buffet on offer at Phi Phi Bayview Resort was well-stocked and offered lots of choices.
The morning will be all about your excursion! I was picked up at my hotel at around 9:15 for a 9:30-13:30 excursion. And you’d be surprised how much can be fit into that time.
We firstly went to Monkey Beach, then snorkelled in Maya Bay (read more about what it’s like visiting Maya Bay since the beach closure here). Next up was snorkelling at Shark Point to see the blacktip reef sharks, then sailed around Viking Cave before stopping off on Loh Lana Bay.
As I said, we were given soft drinks, water and fruit as well as all the snorkelling equipment we needed. Obviously, the excursion is a super touristy thing to do, but this was my favourite part of my 2 days in Koh Phi Phi.
Lunch – The Mango Garden
After you dock in Tonsai Pier, head straight to The Mango Garden in Phi Phi village for lunch. You’ll no doubt be starving and it’s much better time-wise to head into the village and eat straightaway rather than go back to your hotel, have a shower and be absolutely famished with no restaurants nearby.
The Mango Garden is more of a breakfast place, but it’s open all day and who doesn’t love breakfast food?! Plus, it’s one of the nicest restaurants on Koh Phi Phi so you can’t miss that.
After you finish lunch and head back to your resort to shower after your excursion, it might be quite late in the day. You may one to head back into town to find a Thai massage bar (there are lots dotted around) or maybe even get inked! All of the normal touristy/backpacker activities will be available during your 2 days in Koh Phi Phi!
Please note: When you get back to your resort, that might be a good time to inquire about ferries back to Phuket/Krabi. At Phi Phi Bayview Resort, tickets can be bought from the excursion desk. If, for some reason, your hotel doesn’t sell ferry tickets, when you head back into Phi Phi village later you are definitely going to pass dozens of ticket stalls. Single ferry tickets to Phuket are roughly 350THB (£8.44) per person if I remember correctly.
Dinner – Sunflower Beach Bar
Just slightly out of Phi Phi village is Sunflower Beach Bar. It’s a more secluded bar (but still has party vibes) on the north side of the island. It’s got beach shack vibes and you can grab dinner and a drink here before moving on to somewhere else. If you manage to get here early enough (before 17:30) you might be in for a pretty sweet sunset.
- Sunflower Beach Bar – If I were you, I’d stay at Sunflower Beach Bar until you’re ready to walk back to your resort. There’s a fire show on the beach every night that’s supposed to be pretty good. All the other bars nearby are like mental, EDM, crazy party vibes kind of bars.
- 7/11 Open 24 Hours – On the edge of Phi Phi village just as you walk back to your hotel, there’s a 7/11 convenience store open 24 hours a day. It might be a good idea to stock up on lunch food and snacks to eat on the ferry on your way back to Phuket/Krabi.
Day 3 (half day): Ferry back to Phuket/Krabi
After you eat your breakfast, that’s pretty much it! Like I said earlier in the post, ferries leave early and hotel check-out can be as early as 12:00. If you booked through your hotel, a longboat will pick you up just as it dropped you off two days before to take you to the pier.
Hopefully, you’ll have some food with you as it is a two-hour journey back to Phuket.
Spending longer than 2 Days in Koh Phi Phi?
- Hike to Phi Phi Viewpoint – Head towards Reggae Bar in Tonsai and you’ll start to see signs towards Phi Phi viewpoint, which is a small hill in the middle of the west side of the island. You’ll be able to overlook everything from up there. I’d hike as early as possible and get to the top in time for sunrise. It’s only a brisk 20 minutes/leisurely 30-minute walk to the top.
- Check out the other beaches – If you’re a beach bum and want to check out all the best-secluded beaches on your 2 days in Koh Phi Phi, then start with Nui beach. It’s a small sandy cove near Loh Lana Bay. Also worth checking out are Lo Dalam beach, Wang Long Bay and Laem Tong Bay.
You might have guessed by the lacklustre way I talk about Koh Phi Phi that I’m not sure I liked it. Granted, 2 days in Koh Phi Phi isn’t a lot and I’m sure if I spent longer there I would have really enjoyed walks through the rainforest. And of course, I loved visiting The Beach in Maya Bay on Koh Phi Phi Leh.
However, Koh Phi Phi is a party island. There are really secluded resorts, but you have no choice but to stay there for the duration of your stay. Definitely spend 2 days in Koh Phi Phi if other islands are too far away to justify you visiting them. Just keep in mind it’s probably not the best island in Thailand you could choose to visit.
And that’s my 2 Days in Koh Phi Phi guide! Have you visited the Phi Phi Islands? Let me know in the comments below!