Region Visit: The Beaches of Ko Phi Phi Don Archipelago, Andaman Sea, Thailand

Any traveller to Phuket Thailand should make the time and effort to get themselves through a tour of the Ko Phi Phi Don Archipelago. This region is a little bit further from Khao Lak, than it is from other resort hotels in Phuket, but worth the journey nonetheless. The seas are green, the beaches among the most spectacular in the world, and the scenery of the lime stone rocks are memorable. Despite some crowding and rough seas that can potentially occur, with the right tour and guide combination, you can experience this area and have a great day out of it.


This post is one chapter in our Around the World in Star Alliance First Class via China, Thailand and Spain. This trip was booked using Air Canada Aeroplan miles. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Region Visit: The Beaches of Ko Phi Phi Archipelago, Andaman Sea, Thailand


“A trip to the Ko Phi Phi Archipelago is not to be missed when passing through this corner of the world. The islands and beaches are unlike many other areas and are unforgettable”

Booking and Getting there:

We booked a day trip to the Phi Phi Islands, booked through the resort for about $100 USD. It was the standard tourist tour – bus to the Marina in Phuket, tour of Phi Phi Lei, a visit to Leonardo De Caprio’s “The Beach”, buffet lunch, a snorkel, a visit to Monkey Bay, and a visit to a semi private island where overpriced drinks are served amid backdrops of fabulous scenery. 

I presume that many Thailand traveler have had the opportunity to visit this part of the world, so I won’t describe the whole experience in great detail. I’m including this part of the trip as it’s the sights are a must do if you’re in this part of the world, even if the journey to get there is a little rough and challenging. By rough, I do mean that the seas can be rough. We took Gravol Ginger (non drowsy) and it saved us. A poor family on the boat did not take any medication and they described their tour experience as “the worst family experience ever” due to the sea sickness involved. 

The tour operator that Le Meridien used for this tour was unfortunately not as nice as the tour operator that was used at the JW Marriott Phuket. The JW Marriott used “Andaman Leisure Tours” and they were fantastic. I’d highly recommend them if you get the opportunity to use them. Our operator had hired some younger guides that made the experience feel as though you were on an extreme tour with artificial attempts to excite the travellers that a bumpy bobbing speed boat was indeed an awesome experience. A little Whitesnake rock music to go along with it highlighted just how extreme this adventure was.

On the Water:

The day started with a transit over to the Ko Phi Phi Don archipelago islands. The islands are a major tourist attraction of this part of Thailand.

We initially headed out for a quick snorkel to set the tone for the day. The best part was seeing the canyons and the blue green water surrounded by the bliss of nature (along with a few other tour boats for good measure).

The spot that they chose for snorkling was, unfortunately, a high traffic area off the pier at Phi Phi Island. As a result, the visibility was not as good as it was on our last tour. A lot of sand was churned up by passing boats. The corals were also quite churned up and pretty lifeless. We still got in some great fishes, and there were many more fish than our visit to Dahab, in Egypt last May. 

Landing on Maya Bay in Ko Phi Phi Don:

Our tour today took us to Maya Bay near Ko Phi Phi Lee. The Beach at Maya Bay was made famous in the Hollywood movie “The Beach”. It’s a pretty spectacular spot, almost too spectacular since the destination has been closed indefinitely thanks to over tourism.

We landed on Ko Phi Phi Lee. In addition to Hollywood movies, it’s also quite famous for many selfies and an overall great sandy beach setting. You can’t deny that this part of the world is easy on the camera lens. Even though part of the day was cloudy, we had a nice day re-visiting this touristed corner of the globe. 

Maya Beach in the off season

 We headed over from here to a sandy beach outside of the marine conservancy park for some over priced drinks and a beach chair. The weather started to turn a little sour for us after the great morning but it’s still a great corner of the world.

Sunny Andaman Beaches
Cocktails under Clouds

Overall:

Despite distances involved to get here, it’s still a beautiful part of the world. We were pretty exhausted, sand drenched and sun kissed by the time we made it back to Khao Lak at around 8 PM that night. Regardless, we’d probably go again if we were by this corner of earth. Perhaps a quieter long tail boat would be better next time.


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