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Ko Phi Phi: Thailand’s Most Dangerous Island


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Fayina Bailey



Welcome to Ko Phi Phi, a stunning archipelago located in the Andaman Sea, southwest of Thailand. Renowned for its breathtaking beauty and crystal-clear waters, Ko Phi Phi has become one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. From pristine white sandy beaches to vibrant coral reefs, this tropical paradise offers a myriad of attractions for travelers seeking a beachside retreat.


Ko Phi Phi consists of six islands, with the main ones being Ko Phi Phi Don and Ko Phi Phi Leh. Ko Phi Phi Don is the larger and more developed island, boasting luxurious resorts, vibrant nightlife, and abundant dining options. On the other hand, Ko Phi Phi Leh is uninhabited and known for its secluded bays and captivating limestone cliffs, including the iconic Maya Bay.


Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or simply looking to unwind in paradise, Ko Phi Phi has something for everyone. Immerse yourself in the tranquil ambiance and let the turquoise waters wash away your worries as you explore the island’s many wonders.


History of Ko Phi Phi

The history of Ko Phi Phi dates back thousands of years. The islands were initially inhabited by sea gypsies, known as Chao Leh, who lived off the abundant resources of the sea. Their nomadic lifestyle allowed them to navigate the Andaman Sea and establish small settlements on the islands.


In the late 1940s, Ko Phi Phi caught the attention of adventurers and explorers who were drawn to its unspoiled beauty. Word spread about the picturesque landscapes and hidden coves, attracting travelers from far and wide.


During the 1970s, Ko Phi Phi began to undergo significant changes as it became a popular destination for backpackers. The island’s untouched charm and laid-back atmosphere fascinated these adventurous travelers, who were seeking an escape from the bustling cities.


However, the tranquility of Ko Phi Phi was shattered on December 26, 2004, when a devastating tsunami struck the region. The tsunami, triggered by an undersea earthquake near Sumatra, wreaked havoc on the islands, causing widespread destruction and the loss of many lives.


Since then, Ko Phi Phi has made a remarkable recovery and has become a symbol of resilience. Efforts were made to rebuild the infrastructure and restore the natural beauty of the islands. Today, Ko Phi Phi stands as a testament to the strength and determination of its people.


With tourism being the main industry on the islands, Ko Phi Phi has continued to thrive and attract visitors from around the world. It has become a popular destination for beach lovers, divers, and adventure enthusiasts who are captivated by its stunning landscapes and vibrant marine life.


As you step foot on Ko Phi Phi, you become a part of its rich history and a witness to its evolution as a world-class tourist destination. The island’s past has shaped its present, and its future holds the promise of more unforgettable experiences for those fortunate enough to visit.


Tourist Attractions on Ko Phi Phi

Ko Phi Phi is renowned for its captivating beauty and offers a plethora of tourist attractions that will leave visitors in awe. From stunning beaches to vibrant underwater ecosystems, here are some top attractions to explore on the islands:

  1. Maya Bay: Located on Ko Phi Phi Leh, Maya Bay gained worldwide fame as the filming location for the movie “The Beach” starring Leonardo DiCaprio. This secluded bay is surrounded by towering cliffs and features a pristine beach, making it a must-visit spot for nature enthusiasts.
  2. Long Beach: Just a short boat ride away from the main village on Ko Phi Phi Don, Long Beach boasts a long stretch of powdery white sand and clear turquoise waters. It’s an ideal spot for sunbathing, swimming, and enjoying spectacular sunsets.
  3. Viewpoint: Hike up to the viewpoint on Ko Phi Phi Don and be rewarded with a breathtaking panoramic vista of the entire archipelago. The hike may be steep, but the mesmerizing views of the islands and the azure sea are well worth the effort.
  4. Bamboo Island: A short boat ride from Ko Phi Phi Don, Bamboo Island offers a tranquil escape from the crowds. With its pristine beaches and vibrant coral reefs, snorkeling or diving around the island is a must to witness the diverse marine life.
  5. Mosquito Island: Despite its name, Mosquito Island is an idyllic spot for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts. Its vibrant coral gardens provide a home to an array of tropical fish, making it a paradise for underwater exploration.

In addition to these iconic attractions, Ko Phi Phi is also known for its lively nightlife scene, with beach bars and restaurants offering a vibrant atmosphere. Whether you’re looking for relaxation, adventure, or entertainment, Ko Phi Phi promises a memorable experience for all.


Natural Hazards on Ko Phi Phi

While Ko Phi Phi may be a tropical paradise, it is important to be aware of the natural hazards that exist on the islands. Understanding these hazards will help ensure a safe and enjoyable visit:

  1. Tsunamis: Ko Phi Phi experienced the devastating effects of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. Although the region now has an early warning system in place, it is crucial to be mindful of the tsunami evacuation routes and familiarize yourself with the emergency procedures in case of an emergency.
  2. Monsoons: The monsoon season in Thailand typically runs from May to October, with heavy rainfall and rough seas. During this time, there may be strong winds and high waves, which can affect boat travel and water activities. It is important to monitor weather conditions and heed any advisories or warnings.
  3. Rockfalls: Due to the dramatic limestone cliffs surrounding the islands, rockfalls can occur, especially during heavy rainfall. Take caution when exploring the cliffs and avoid venturing too close to unstable areas.
  4. Sun Exposure: The tropical sun on Ko Phi Phi can be intense. Protect yourself by wearing sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses, and seek shade during the peak hours of sun exposure. Dehydration is also a concern, so make sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  5. Jellyfish: In certain seasons, jellyfish blooms may occur around Ko Phi Phi. While most jellyfish are harmless, some species can cause painful stings. It is advisable to swim in designated areas and consult local authorities regarding any jellyfish warnings or safety measures.

It is essential to stay informed and take necessary precautions when visiting Ko Phi Phi. Pay attention to safety guidelines from local authorities and seek advice from experienced guides or tour operators. By being aware of these natural hazards, you can better enjoy your time on the island while minimizing potential risks.


Wildlife and Marine Life on Ko Phi Phi

Ko Phi Phi is not only a paradise for beach lovers but also a haven for wildlife and marine life enthusiasts. The island’s diverse ecosystem offers a fascinating array of flora and fauna both on land and underwater. Here are some of the remarkable wildlife and marine life encounters you can experience on Ko Phi Phi:


1. Coral Reefs: The waters surrounding Ko Phi Phi are teeming with vibrant coral reefs, making it a dream destination for snorkelers and scuba divers. Explore the underwater world and marvel at the breathtaking beauty of the coral formations, which provide a habitat for a vast array of marine creatures.


2. Tropical Fish: The diversity of marine life in the waters of Ko Phi Phi is astounding. You’ll encounter an array of colorful tropical fish, including parrotfish, angelfish, clownfish, and many more. Snorkeling or diving in the crystal-clear waters allows you to observe these magnificent creatures up close.


3. Sea Turtles: Ko Phi Phi is fortunate to be a nesting site for green and hawksbill sea turtles. If you’re lucky, you may spot these graceful creatures while snorkeling or diving. Please remember to keep a respectful distance and not disturb their natural behavior.


4. Monitor Lizards: On land, you may encounter monitor lizards roaming around the island. These impressive reptiles can grow up to two meters long and are a sight to behold. Remember to observe them from a safe distance and not to feed or touch them.


5. Birdwatching: Ko Phi Phi is home to a variety of bird species, including white-bellied sea eagles, hornbills, and kingfishers. Bring your binoculars and indulge in the pleasure of birdwatching in the lush forests and along the coastline.


The wildlife and marine life on Ko Phi Phi are part of its fragile ecosystem. It is important to treat these creatures and their habitats with respect and practice responsible tourism. Do not litter, avoid stepping on coral reefs, and follow all guidelines for interacting with the wildlife to ensure their well-being and the preservation of this unique environment.


Safety Tips for Visiting Ko Phi Phi

While Ko Phi Phi is a beautiful destination, it is essential to prioritize safety during your visit. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience:

  1. Stay Hydrated: The tropical climate of Ko Phi Phi can be hot and humid. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, especially if you are engaging in outdoor activities or spending time in the sun.
  2. Be Mindful of the Sun: The sun in Thailand can be intense. Apply sunscreen regularly, wear a hat and sunglasses to protect yourself from harmful UV rays, and seek shade during the peak hours of sun exposure.
  3. Swim in Designated Areas: While the beaches on Ko Phi Phi are beautiful, it is advisable to swim in designated areas where there are lifeguards present. Be cautious of strong currents and changing tide conditions.
  4. Respect Wildlife and Marine Life: Ko Phi Phi is home to a variety of wildlife and marine creatures. Maintain a respectful distance and avoid touching or feeding them. Refrain from removing anything from the environment, such as shells or coral fragments.
  5. Follow Water Safety Precautions: If you plan to partake in water activities such as snorkeling or diving, ensure that you are with a reputable operator who prioritizes safety. Wear appropriate safety gear and listen to the instructions given by your guide.
  6. Stay Informed About Tsunami Safety: Familiarize yourself with the tsunami evacuation routes and emergency procedures. Pay attention to any warning systems or advisories in place. If you are unsure, seek guidance from local authorities or your accommodation provider.
  7. Protect Your Valuables: Keep your personal belongings secure and avoid carrying large sums of cash or expensive jewelry. Use hotel safes or lockers to store valuable items.
  8. Respect Local Customs and Laws: Familiarize yourself with local customs and traditions to ensure that you are respectful towards the local population. Abide by the laws of Thailand and be aware of cultural sensitivities.

By following these safety tips and exercising caution, you can have a safe and enjoyable visit to Ko Phi Phi. Remember to be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts. Embrace the beauty of the island while prioritizing your well-being and the preservation of its natural environment.



Ko Phi Phi is a true gem of Thailand, offering unparalleled natural beauty and a rich cultural experience. From its stunning beaches and vibrant coral reefs to its diverse wildlife and marine life, the islands of Ko Phi Phi have something to offer every traveler.


While visiting Ko Phi Phi, it is important to respect and protect the environment, as well as prioritize your safety. Be mindful of the natural hazards that exist, such as tsunamis and monsoons, and follow the necessary precautions and guidelines to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.


Take the time to explore the top tourist attractions, including the iconic Maya Bay, Long Beach, and the breathtaking viewpoints. Immerse yourself in the crystal-clear waters and discover the vibrant underwater ecosystems that make the island a haven for snorkelers and divers.


Appreciate the rich history of Ko Phi Phi and the resilience of its people, who have overcome challenges and rebuilt after the devastating tsunami in 2004. Embrace the warm hospitality and immerse yourself in the local customs and traditions of this enchanting island.


As you leave Ko Phi Phi, carry with you memories of white sandy beaches, colorful marine life, and the unique charm of this tropical paradise. Remember to tread lightly and leave only footprints, preserving the natural beauty for generations to come.


Whether you seek relaxation, adventure, or an escape from the everyday hustle and bustle, Ko Phi Phi promises to deliver an unforgettable experience. So pack your bags, embrace the spirit of adventure, and embark on a journey to discover the wonders of Ko Phi Phi.