Diving and relaxing around Ko Phi Phi

The wow factor for nature - does it show nature at its best? Doesn't need to be the wilder-beast migration or diving with hundreds of hammerheads. Rather make you pause as you realise just how awesome the natural world can be
How much does this experience showcase some of the better and finer things that us humans can offer? Sure, it can be ancient ruins and renaissance churches, but it can also be festivals or soaking up some of the great modern cities of the world
Fun factor/activity
Very simple - was it fun? This is usually linked in with doing some kind of activity - i mean, walking along some cliffs is nice, but paragliding from them, now that is fun. Its a vastly underrated factor in a truly great experience
Avoid the crowds
Big tour groups and being surrounded by loud fellow tourists can sap the life out of even the greatest of travel experiences. This score is to reflect just how much you can avoid this. But. . . The score also takes into account if the crowds actually add to the experience, such as with a party town or a bustling food market
World famous
How world famous is the experience?
How hard is it to have a similar experience in other places round the world?
Overall Score
The highest score of nature or culture, + fun factor, + avoid the crowds, + the highest score of world famous or unique. Then turned into a score out of 100. More details at the bottom of the page
70 *What the scores mean and where do they come from
Length of time
3-4 days
Rough cost
Obviously people have different tastes, so this will depend on those tastes, but this is a rough idea of price of the whole experience based on 2 people able to split the accommodation costs and excluding travel there and back
$ 500
Time of year visited
Primary Tags
Click on any of the tags to see all travel experiences with the same tag
How this travel experience ranks compared to all the other experiences on this site
123rd/372 This travel experience's ranking compared to all the other experiences on this site
Top 40% SUMMARY RATING: Superb


I remember when returning from my first long trip around South East Asia, that the place that most stuck in my mind as meeting the expectations of island paradise was Ko Phi Phi.  It had white sand beaches, stunning jungle interiors, coral reefs just off the beach and tall jagged karst hills jutting out throughout.  In the middle of all that you had the wonderful Thai people and Thai food,  the ease of travelling, plenty of options nearby for world-class diving and, of course, THAT world-famous beach


That experience is still there to be had, but you just need to plan it a bit more to avoid what, unfortunately, has become a bit of a mess in various parts of the town as the development has been allowed to run riot.  The effect is that large parts of the islands won’t give you that island paradise vibe and, also unfortunately, THAT famous beach is often closed to allow it to recover from what has been years of damage


(I decided, frustratingly, to lose most of my photos from my trip, so this is a very short travel entry)


So, my key tips for giving yourself the best chance of that paradise vibe:

  • Aim for the east coast or Hat Yao area.  It’ll take you longer to get there by speed boat, but once you’re there it’ll be worth it and, to be honest if you’ve chosen the right place, you’ll probably want to stay there and just enjoy for a few days
  • Make sure to still take one of the day trips to Ko Phi Leh (Ko Phi Phi Don and Koh Phi Phi Lei are the 2 islands that make up Ko Phi Phi).  Whilst THAT beach may be closed, the island itself is still beautiful and untouched by development
  • Hike the 30mins up to the Phi Phi viewpoint as it will give you unbeatable views around the island and a chance to go for a bit of an explore
  • Give yourself a day or two for scuba diving.  There are beautiful reefs nearby and the chance for whale sharks in February and March
  • Include Koh Phi Phi as the centre part of a trip between Phuket and Krabi – Phuket for its beaches and sophisticated restaurants, hotels and partying / lash; Krabi for the kayaking by the impossibly steep karst towers on the beach.  Boats run super regularly from both spots and only take 1.5-2 hours

Experiences nearby

The below map shows experiences nearby with a colour that reflect the Overall Score of those experiences

Score Detail

Background - how many times have you asked someone what a travel experience was like and the response was "amazing" or "awesome"?  That response is nice to know, but it makes it hard to differentiate that experience compared to others.  That is exactly what these scores are trying to do - differentiate the experience by giving a score out of 10 based on 6 categories and then giving an overall experience score

This overall experience score is calculated by:  take the highest of the "Culture" or "Nature" score (1-10) + "Fun factor" (1-10) + "Avoiding the crowds" (1-10) + highest of the "Unique" or "World Famous score" (1-10).  Then convert into a score out of 100

Extra detail - the logic being that I find all of the 6 individual scores important, but I don't want to mark an experience down just because it doesn't cover both "Culture" and "Nature", or because it isn't both "World Famous" and "Unique".  Take the examples of Safari in The Serengeti and walking through Rome - they both appeal at opposite ends of the nature / culture spectrum, and you can have a fantastic time without needing to appeal to both sides.  So, their overall scores aren't penalized for their lack of one or the other, and I've done the same for "World Famous" vs "Unique".  But . . . I do think that the "Fun factor" of an experience is important, irrelevant of other factors, and so is "Avoiding the Crowds" (or where there are crowds that add to the experience).  So, both of these scores are standalone