The Phi Phi islands lie near the mouth of Phang Nga bay at about an equal distance from Phuket and Krabi towns. Although technically part of a national park, the islands have been developed almost as long as Phuket. There are two main islands in the group. Only the largest, Phi Phi Don, hosts tourists. The smaller island, Phi Phi Lay (or Phi Phi Le), is spectacular in its own right, and frequently visited on day trips from the larger island.
Phi Phi was renowned for the clearness of its water and the beauty of its corals. Unfortunately, it suffered somewhat from over development. The December 2004 tsunami wreaked havoc on the many poorly constructed cheap bungalows and small hotels that crowded the low-lying sand bar that separates Loh Dalum and Tonsai bays. Some hoped that, after the disaster, any rebuilding would be done with a little more planning and control, but all hopes for that soon went out the window and development picked up pretty much where it left off.
A classic long-tailed boat on Loh Dalum Bay of Phi Phi Island.
Despite the haphazard development and the crowds, Phi Phi does still have its charms. Loh Dalum Bay, with it's long curving sandy beach and warm shallow waters definitely invites you to get your feet wet, and the sheer rock walls definitely lend drama to the scene.
Phi Phi definitely still attracts big crowds of 20-something budget travelers, with lots of low cost accommodations on offer. However, there are a few more exclusive resorts around the island, generally away from the Tonsai / Loh Dalum Bays area.
There is not much to see and do on the island that doesn't involve the water, but there is a big variety of water-related activities, which include visits to other islands, snorkeling and scuba diving.