The Phi Phi Islands are located in Thailand
, between the larger island of Phuket and the mainland. They are politically part of Krabi province, most of which is on the mainland.
Phi Phi Don
Ko Phi Phi Don ("ko" meaning "island" in the Thai language) is the largest island of the group, and is the only island with permanent inhabitants, although the beaches of the second largest island, Ko Phi Phi Lee (or "Ko Phi Phi Leh"), are visited by many people as well. There are no accommodation facilities on this island, but it is just a short boat ride from Ko Phi Phi Don. The rest of the islands in the group, including Bida Nok, Bida Noi, and Bamboo Island, are not much more than large limestone rocks jutting out of the sea.
Phi Phi Don
Phi Phi Don was initially populated by Muslim fishermen during the late 1940s, and later became a coconut plantation. The Thai population of Phi Phi Don remains more than 80 present Muslim.
Phi Phi History
"The cliffs are the reason we chose Phi Phi Le because in the story, the beach
that the characters are living on is surrounded by the high sea cliffs from the sea. So, it's a secret. It's like a big secret, swimming pool and beach in private and this is the attraction for the characters. That's why we have to use Phi Phi Le." - Andrew Macdonald, producer of "The Beach"
Phi Phi is situated in Krabi Province in southern Thailand
The two islands that make up this group (Phi Phi Don aPhi Phi Donnd Phi Phi Le) are about 40 kilometres south-west of Krabi City. The islands are about equidistant from Krabi and Phuket (to the north-west). The islands are famed for their spectacular landscapes. Rock climbers are attracted by the breathtaking cliffs, with tall sheer walls of limestone. Nature lovers, meanwhile, find a haven in the islands' transparent seas and corel beds, which are home to a wide range of sea life.
The two sections of Phi Phi Don
the larger of the two islands, are linked by a 1 k.m. isthmus of sand. Here stands the island's original Muslim fishing village, Ban Ton Sai, now enveloped by an ever-expanding belt of bungalows, cafes and hotels. A pEntrance to Viking Caveleasant one-hour coastal walk from Ban Ton Sai leads to Hat Yao (long beach), with tantalising white sands, vibrant offshore marine life and unhindered views to the soaring flanks of Phi Phi Le, 4 kilometres away. It is also worth climbing the steep trails on Phi Phi Don's two massifs, which afford wonderful vistas over the island. Superb coral beds at Hin Pae off Hat Yao provide some of the best snorkelling in Thailand. To the north is Ban Laem Tong. This village's sea gypsy population still survives on fish caught in the isolated coves of nearby Laem Tong.
Phi Phi Don
In contrast to phi Phi Don, Phi Phi Le remains uninhabited and unspoilt. Boats from Phi Phi Don bring visitors on day trips to see the paintings in Viking Cave (see picture). Another feature of the cave are the nests of edible swiftlet nests which are used in bird nest soup. Agile collectors climb rickety bamboo scaffolding to reach the nests, which are so valuable that the caves are protected by armed guards. In a bid to halt the illegal trade of the nests, staying overnight on the island is prohibited. There is excellent snorkelling at the coral reefs of ao Maya, a bay in the southwest corner of the island.