Thailand’s Phuket Island is certainly a popular holiday destination that has a lot to offer: sea, beaches, spa, food, shopping…etc.
One of the top activities for tourists is no doubt the Phi Phi Islands boat tour. I myself went onto one recently, right before Maya Bay closes to tourists for four months (1 June 2018 until 31 September). In this blogpost, I’ll review the day trip that I went to, and tell you more about what to expect, what to be aware of before you join boat tours like this.
We opted for a speedboat tour (booked online via KKDay) that covers most of the famous islands of Phi Phi which (should) includes:
- Mosquito Bay
- Bamboo Island
- Phi Phi Don Island
- Monkey Bay
- Viking cave
- Pileh Cove
- Loh Samah
- Maya Bay
What really happened was that the tour operator adjusted the tours accordingly based on the low/high tides of the day, so we ended skipping mosquito bay. Safety first though, as long as we didn’t skip the main islands we were happy.
It was pretty convenient as the tour operator sent a driver to pick us up from our hotel, and because we were a group of 6-7 people, there were no extra stops on our way. Once we got to the pier, the tour operator took us to the lounge where some light breakfast were served. After waiting for 30 mins, there was an induction to explain what would happen, what to be aware of etc. Then we were taken to the boats which fit about 20 tourists in total.
Beware: the whole speedboat ride to the islands was extremely bumpy, so for pregnant women and anyone with spinal problems, or kids, please consider other tours with ferry options rather than speed boats. The trip out from Phuket to the first island stop and the trip back to Phuket both take around 1.5 hours each.
The tour costed about USD75 based on where our hotel is located: the further away it is, the more expensive and the earlier the pick up time it will be…ours was at 7.30am, eek! The cost covered tour guides (two on our boat), crew (two on our boat), unlimited water and soft drinks onboard, lunch, snorkeling equipment (excluding the fins which you could pay to hire them at the pier), fresh fruits at the last stop.
What to wear and bring
Wear your most comfortable flip flips which you wouldn’t mind for them to get dirty. From the boat to the shore at each island, you will have to walk in the water for a bit and most of them times you need to dodge the rocks in the sand as well. Bring a towel with you so that you can dry yourself easily after the snorkel/ swim, and bring your sunscreen because you certainly need to top it up onto your body throughout the trip! Lastly, an extra set of dry clothing definitely helps especially on your way back to the hotel after the trip finishes. 🙂
This beach was very well preserved and it was very beautiful. The sand was soft and the shades of the sea water at the beach was out of this world! Would have loved to spend more time on this beach however we only had an hour. If we come back again to Phuket I will spend the whole day here for sure! (Or somewhere like Koh Racha Yai)
We snorkeled for a bit in the sea here, and also chilled out on the beach before we had to leave for the next island.
Phi Phi Don
This was where we had our simple Thai buffet lunch, I wasn’t expecting too much to begin and also the food was actually not bad. The restaurant was pretty basic and crowded, the island was also quite polluted so we were glad we didn’t have to stay too long here. Although I was pleased that the toilet at the restaurant was very clean.
Monkey Bay and the caves
This was where the iconic Bond Island-like natural landscapes started to emerge. Although the bay was not a stop for us to get off, we did get close enough to see the monkeys in the bay, and drove near the viking caves. The tour guides were explaining the formation to us through the entire time, and we were given enough time to take photos and admire our surroundings.
Loh Samah Bay
This stop was very close to the Monkey Bay and we were given safety jackets and goggles to go snorkeling again! We were given plenty of time here, the water was pretty deep although there were plenty variety of fish and coral reefs. Even though there were other boats in the area offloading tourists for snorkeling, I didn’t feel like it was too crowded or unsafe at all.
Maya Bay! The famous island which was made famous by the film “The Beach”…. The island, although very crowded, was preserved very well, clean, and beautiful. We took a walk to the other side of the island to Pileh Lagoon, the cliff formation was simply magnificent. We were given a lot of time on this island, however, as the beach was so crowded and the bay area was full of speedboats, I wasn’t really interested in swimming in the water at all. It was a such shame…!
Overall, it was an action-packed day with a lot of different sights, so if this is your first time to the Phi Phi Islands, or if you prefer variety and wouldn’t want to stay on one beach for the whole day, I will definitely recommend this tour. I didn’t mind the time limit from one place to another, as each place was interesting and different. But if you love snorkeling or even scuba diving, there might be quieter islands which you could choose to go from Phuket, such as Koh Racha Yai. Lastly, for the price we paid, I think it was pretty worth it since we only had a small group on our boat, comparing to 30+ people in some other tours, our boat was also quite new so it felt safe. Some other boat tours I found online could be more than USD100 so I think the one offered by KKday was very good value for money.
The whole day of sightseeing, speedboating, swimming and snorkeling was exhausting though, so I was really glad when we were back in our hotel and made it on time to our hot tub to see the sunset 🙂
Special thanks to Isaac Lo (@bakenlondon) for letting me post some of his photos 😛