A paradise in the andaman, famed as among the most beautiful tropical islands of the world, Phi Phi islands have become one of the most popular tourist attractions of Thailand. The islands, together with the nearby Noppharatthara Beach, were recently established as a national park with a total area of 390 sq km.
As most visitors to Phi Phi Islands come form Phuket some 40 km away, many of them think that the islands are part of Phuket. In fact, both Nopharatthara Beach and Phi Phi belong to Krabi province, although the distance from Krabi to Phi Phi is about the same as that between Phuket and Phi Phi.
The islands and the coastal hills are mostly composed of limestone and are an extension of the limestone mountain range in Phang-nga province. Some of the charecteristics and islands are their steep cliffs, large caves and dwarf trees growing out of the crevices in the rocks, like those in Phang-nga Bay.
At least 23 species of birds have been recorded in the park area. They are about the same kinds as found on other islands in the Andaman Sea, including frigate birds, sea eagles, fly catchers, magpie robins, swallows, sterlings and various species of gulls and pigeons.
What are of much greater interest to ordinary tourists are the colourful coral and exotic fishes of many different colours and shapes. Large fishes such as blue marlin are occasionally caught. But they usually come and go with the southwest monsoon and so are not easily encountered in the area.
The island group is composed of two rocky, tree-covered islets - Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Le. The former, the larger of the two which lies in the north, is well known for its fine beaches and coral formations around the island and is provided with an assortment of accommodation facilities along Ton Sai Bay and Lodalam Bay and at the northern end of the island.
Abouth 2 km to the south is Phi Phi Le. Contrary to Phi Phi Don, this islet is uninhabited, not only because it is banned, but also because there is no beach around it. The island descends abruptly into the sea on all sides. Its main point of interest is a large cave abouth 3.2 sq km in size known as Viking Cave. It is so called because one of the numerous drawings on the walls resembles a viking ship. The cave has a ceiling about 10 to 15 metres high which contains many ledges inhabited by thousands of swallows. A demonstration of bird's nest collection is a regular feature of a guided tour of the islands. The sea around the island is deep and the southern part is full of coral formations and so is a favourite diving spot.
With its emerald crystal sea, secluded beaches, wooded cliffed mountains, colourful coral reefs and undersea life, Phi Phi is a paradise in the Andaman. Visitors to Phuket should not miss it if the schedule is not too tight.
How to get there
Phi Phi Islands can be reached by boat from either Phuket or Krabi about the same distance (2.30 hrs). Daily boat trips are arranged even in monsoon months uless a storm is imminent. Consult your travel agency for more details.