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Koh Phi Phi

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Koh Phi Phi photo copyright Suzanne Nam
Koh Phi Phi, a small island a couple of hours by boat from Phuket, is an island lover's dream. Clear water, majestic cliffs and soft sand make Koh Phi Phi a picture-perfect paradise. The only downside? Thousands of others already know about it and it's in danger of being overrun by boats, guest houses and tourists. Still, if you're not bothered by crowds or overdevelopment, you might find it the most beautiful place on earth.

What to Expect:

Koh Phi Phi was hard hit during the 2004 Tsunami but has bounced back in full force. The group of islands, comprised of Koh Phi Phi Don (where the accommodations are) and Koh Phi Phi Ley, plus a smattering of other small islands, is one of the most beautiful places in Thailand but can be very crowded. It's traditionally be a back-packer destination, although Koh Phi Phi is increasingly going upscale as there are more and more luxury resorts every year.

Where to Stay:

There's no shortage of accommodations on Koh Phi Phi as parts of the island, especially around Ton Sai, are covered with guest houses. Some are very basic affairs with ceiling fans and no hot water. There are also upscale resorts on the island, especially around Laem Thong Beach. Check out this list of Top Phi Phi Hotels but keep in mind that because Phi Phi is so popular, accommodations are sometimes disappointing.

What to Do:

The islands surrounding Koh Phi Phi (including Koh Phi Phi Ley) offer fantastic hiking, snorkeling and swimming opportunities. Visitors can take advantage of the numerous day trips that leave from Ton Sai every morning, or venture out in a chartered longtail boat on their own. There are also many scuba diving schools on the island.

Getting to Koh Phi Phi:

By boat from Phuket: Boats leave the Rasada Pier in Phuket three times a day. The ride usually takes about 90 minutes.

By boat from Krabi: Boats leave the Chao Fa Pier or Klong Jilad Pier two to three times per day, depending on the season, and take about 90 minutes. During high season, there are sometimes ferries from Ao Nang to Koh Phi Phi.

Check with your hotel or a travel agent for specific schedules, as they change often.

Most ferries arrive in Ton Sai. If you're heading somewhere else on the island, take a longtail boat to your final destination.

Getting Around Koh Phi Phi:

If you're staying around Ton Sai, the area that connects the two strips of land that form the island, you can walk anywhere in the area.

Longtail boats are available for charter to take you from one beach to another on the island. They also make trips to neighboring islands for snorkeling, diving or other excursions.

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