If beauty can be a burden, the, stunning, Ko Phi Phi Don, it is a poisoned chalice. Everyone wants to enjoy this little corner of paradise. People come here to paddle in the azure water and photograph the vessels that undulate with the waves against the limestone cliffs. With its magnificent stretches of golden sand and lush jungle, it is not surprising that Phi Phi Don has become the darling of the Andaman coast. It can now partying all night and look great the next day. But it will not last long at this rate, and less restrictions, Ille short right to an ecological disaster.
Ko Phi Phi Don consists of two islands connected by a narrow isthmus, along which stretch two beautiful beaches, Ao Ton Ao Lo Dalam and Sei. The boats dock at the large concrete pier Ao Ton Sai. A narrow path bordered by a multitude of tour operators, bungalows, restaurants, bars and souvenir shops along the beach Hat Hin Khom to. The maze of alleys that crisscross the center of the isthmus, equally saturated activity is called Tonsai Village (tourist village). Hat Yao (Long Beach) faces south and has some of the most beautiful coral reefs of Ko Phi Phi Don, and the most beautiful beaches suitable for swimming. To the east is the long stretch of peaceful bays Hat Laem Thong and Ao Lo Bakao,which house some superior complex, while the smaller bays Hat and Hat Nam Phak Rantee have a few sets of bungalows simple and discreet.
The short climb to the viewpoint of Ko Phi Phi is a difficult but rewarding trek. The trail starts near Phi Phi Casita and winds up on the side of a craggy peak. Do not hesitate to take a break and drink plenty of water. Once at the top, you will not regret your efforts: the view overlooking the two beaches, karst formations and Ko Phi Phi Leh in the distance. The picture hanging on the old tree is the same for a few hours after the tsunami tragedy which has not finished weighing the inhabitants of the island.
With its crystal clear waters and abundant aquatic life, Ko Phi Phi is a great place for diving. Among the most visited sites include the King Cruiser wreck lying at a depth of 12 m, the reef corals and anemones and clownfish, the top submarine Hin Bida and turtles and pelagic fish, unique karst massifs Ko Bida Nok, surrounded by leopard sharks. Hin Daeng and Hin Muang, about 70 km to the south, are expensive destinations from Ko Phi Phi, better get there from Ko Lanta.
Open Water certificate costs 12 900 B, while a conventional output with 2 dives costs 3,200 B. Dives at Hin Daeng and Hin Muang are 5500 B.
Ko Mai Phai (Bamboo Island), 5 km north of Phi Phi Don, is a favorite spot for snorkeling. One can see small sharks in shallow water. Count between 600 and 2400 B for output snorkeling, depending on the type of boat. There are good snorkelling spots along the east coast of Ko Nok, near Ao Ton Sai and along the east coast of Ko Nai. If you prefer to help yourself, be aware that most hotels rent mask, snorkel and fins 150 to 200 B / day.
Ko Phi Phi has some beautiful limestone cliffs to climb, with spectacular views. The main sites are Ton Sai Tower, at the western end of Ao Ton Sai Hin Taak and on the other side of the bay, a short-long silent boat. Good climbing shops are located on the island, most taking about 1 000/1 500 to 2 000 B half-day, instructor and equipment included.
It is not easy to find accommodation on the ultra-popular island. Expect a shortage of rooms during peak periods. Touts await you in off the boat, which can be an inconvenience, but also make your life easier.
Make sure you close your door locked at night and all your windows when you leave, because it identifies cases of burglary.
Noise pollution on Ko Phi Phi is important, especially on Ao Ton Sai and Ao Dalam, and the situation is not much better on Hat Hin Khom. During our visit, the official closing time (more or less respected) was 2 bars of Ao Dalam and Ton Sai on 1:30, but that did not stop the revelers continue to make noise (including
slamming doors). The quietest units are located on the east coast of Ko Phi Phi.
Ko Phi Phi Leh
Phi Phi Leh, the smaller of the two sister islands, boasts impressive cliffs that rise, clear waters and magnificent coral reefs home to a thriving marine life. Favorite spot for snorkeling, it houses two beautiful lagoons, Pilah on the east coast, and Ao Maya, on the west coast. The latter became famous controversial in 1999 (the crew would have sacked) after having served as backdrop to the film The Beach, Danny Boyle, adapted from the famous novel by Alex Garland. At the northwest tip of the island, the Vikings cave (Tham Phaya Naak) is an important place of harvesting birds’ nests. Collectors climb the bamboo scaffolding to reach the nests. Previously, they pray and offer tobacco, alcohol and incense to the spirits of the cave. It owes its nickname to misleading cave paintings made by Chinese fishermen 400 years ago.
There are no hotels on Phi Phi Leh, and most of the (many) visitors come from Phi Phi Don. Circuits include a half-day snorkeling stops in different spots of the island and a foray to the cave of the Vikings and Ao Maya. Count 800 B in long-tail boat and 2400 B speedboat. Expect to pay 400 B access fees to the National Park dock.
It is possible to camp on Phi Phi Leh, through Camping Maya Bay, which offers intensive stays including kayaking, snorkeling, eating and sleeping bag for a night under the stars.