The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Friday, 13 January 2012

Phuket trip: Phi Phi Island Tour

Continuing on in my photo-journaling of our recent Phuket trip. I bring you the final post on the subject. On our last full day in Phuket, we'd woken up very early to embark on a lengthy ferry journey to the beautiful Phi Phi Islands (these islands received worldwide attention when one of the islands was used as a film location for the 2000 movie The Beach). I'd booked the tour through the same guys that I used for the safari tour, and the itinerary ensured a comfortable day trip to the islands and back (and our 3-year-old son travelled free of charge since his age falls below the age requirement for a child's fare). We were picked up at our hotel and driven to Rassada Pier where we boarded the very crowded Phi Phi Cruiser ferry. Our tour package gave us VIP privileges, meaning that we could sit in relative comfort inside an air-conditioned room, and have some biscuits and drinks during our journey without having to pay extra. The VIP was nice enough, but the seating arrangement was first-come-first-served so there was no guarantee that our group of three could get seats together. In fact, by the time we boarded the ferry, the only available seats were single seats here and there. One family with a young child was kind enough to sacrifice a seat by sitting their child on the lap so that we could be seated close together.

The aircon in the VIP room was quite cold, and we stepped outside a couple of times. The boy pulled a lot of faces for the camera:

Phi Phi Islands are beautiful, with breathtakingly tall limestone cliffs, large caves and long white beaches. We saw Maya Bay, where "The Beach" was filmed (but didn't go in because the ferry was too big), and we went past the Monkey Beach. The following photos are more of what we saw.

This is Pileh Bay, which our ferry was too large to enter:

Viking Cave, where birds' nests are harvested for the thriving bird's nest soup industry:

The boy pulling more faces for the camera:

A panorama of the view as the ferry was approaching Phi Phi Don Island where we docked (click for larger image):

After the ferry docked at Phi Phi Don, we transferred to a snorkel boat that took us to Coral Bay. The VIP group got on to a barge that was moored in Coral Bay while the other group got ready to snorkel. On the barge, we could go down into the hull, where we could experience the Under Sea World Aquarium, which is apparently the "first and only live aquarium". It's a pretty unique concept - we stood on a wooden frame about 2m under the sea surface, and fish were swimming in and out and all around. We were also given some bread to feed the fish. Our boy was terrified and refused to let go of us the whole time we were in the thigh-deep water, but he loved feeding the fish.

The whole room was cast in a greenish blue hue because we were underwater:

We could also watch the fish swimming in the open water while staying dry in this Under Sea World Aquarium:

We also got to swim and snorkel with the fish in the open water. Super fun, but not easy with a non-swimming 3-year-old!

We then got on the snorkel boat which headed back to Phi Phi Do. Lunch was provided, and the food was pretty good, but my dSLR had just taken a fall as we were stepping into the restaurant, and I was too upset and distracted to take any food photos. There was time to explore the island, but we headed straight back for the boat so that the boy could get his nap. It was a fun day, but we spent so much time travelling. The live aquarium alone was worth the small extra we paid to get the VIP package.


  1. You just reminded me to post my Phi Phi island tour.

  2. Glad that my post helped :) Looking forward to reading your Phi Phi experience on your blog..

  3. Hi! You've clicked lovely pictures.. Im actually visiting phuket in the second week of Feb. Im thinking of a full day trip to the phi phi islands.. I'm on a tight budget and just want to know how much did you land up spending for the day trip (excluding shopping ofcourse, haha) Just wanted to know the extra charges for snorkeling.. and other stuff like that.


  4. Hi there Kanchan Parikh,

    Thanks for stopping by. I booked the VIP tour which cost THB2,200/person - snorkelling and all the extra perks I mentioned in the post are included. We were taken care of from when we got picked up in the morning until we got dropped off in the late afternoon, and we didn't need to spend extra money to buy food or drinks (we got biscuits, tea/coffee and fruits as well as lunch during the tour).

    I hope this helps :)

  5. Hello...

    Great post . M planning to go phi phi in February . Can i have name of the Tour agent which organised this tour. Would be great if you also let me know how did you book this tour

    Thanks in Advance.

  6. Hi readtoexplore, the tour company I booked with is called Easy Day Thailand. I booked the tours online at their website, and it was a fairly easy and painless process. I hope this helps :)

  7. Always love the beaches of Thailand though I’ve not been to Phi Phi yet~~..
    thanx for sharing the nice pics :D

  8. Very nice photo & nice trip!!!
    Welcome to take a trip to Phuket with us next time :)

  9. I am glad that the blog owner has chosen a very interesting matter in order to spread huge knowledge among people...I would like to congratulate for this hard work to the blog owner and would like to be part of his blog by submitting comments

  10. Good to know about your phi phi tours island.