Koh Phi Phi Lee is the smaller of the two islands collectively known as Phi Phi Islands. Koh Phi Phi Lee runs north to south. If you were able to walk from the northernmost to southernmost end you’d go about 3.5 kilometers. At its widest point, the island is just 600 to 900 meters wide. The island has almost 12 km. of coastline and just 1.5 Sq. km of land area.
To the east is Ko Lanta Island in Trang Province 25 km. away. Go north 33 km. and you’ll be at Ao Nang Beach in Krabi Province. And about 40 km. to the west is Phuket Island. To reach the Phi Phi Islands from Phuket, the best way to go about it if the water is calm is to take the ferry boat from Rassada Pier to Koh Phi Phi Don and get a smaller boat from there to tour you around Koh Phi Phi Lee. Travel time by ferry is two to three hours. Driving from Phuket to Krabi and a boat to Phi Phi will take about five hours in total.
Ko Phi Phi Lee is strictly a tourist island to explore fantastic landscapes. The scenery is as intense as it is gorgeous. A famous film, “The Beach” with Leonardo Dicaprio, was shot at Maya Bay on Phi Phi Lee, and as a result it has become a must-see island for millions of people every year. Around the island, jagged limestone mountains dominate the landscape. It is completely inhospitable anywhere on the island except the few white sand beaches. There are no roads and nobody lives on this island. Thailand declared the entire Phi Phi islands and the surrounding waters a national park (Hat Noppharat Thara – Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park).
As a result of its stunning natural beauty, Ko Phi Phi Lee is always crowded. The Google Earth image shows over one-hundred boats in Maya and Pileh Bays. That isn’t likely to change, it is just too beautiful to ignore; even though the crowds are intense, it is still a must-see while staying in Phuket. Though not recommended in rough seas, or for beginners, you can rent a kayak near Tonsai Pier on Phi Phi Don and paddle the 2 km. over the ocean to Phi Phi Lee. It will take one to two hours each way, but it’s a unique way to see the island.
Ko Phi Phi Lee’s sister island, Ko Phi Phi Don is just 2 km. north and is a much bigger island with plenty of accommodations, restaurants, paths, beaches and things to do. Tourists visiting Ko Phi Phi Lee for the most part come by boat from Phi Phi Don.
There are a few things you won’t want to miss on the island. Maya Bay, for one. If you arrive really early – before 7 am., you can beat most of the crowds and get some decent photos and video of the place. If you see anything, make it Maya Bay. Pileh Lagoon and Loh Samah Bay are also worth a stop if you have the time. Probably the best way to see the island is by kayak, as mentioned above.
Here are some beaches we suggest you see before you leave the island: Nui Beach, Loh Lana Bay, Phak Nam Bay, Tohko Beach and Ao Por Beach. Besides the large beaches you’re likely to see anyway, make a special effort to see some of these lovely spots to make your vacation the best it can be.
Getting to Koh Phi Phi Lee Island from Phuket:
The best way to get to Phi Phi Lee from the island of Phuket is to come over the Andaman Sea, as long as the sea is calm. During the months of May to October the waters around Thailand are rough and it is usually advisable to take the highways where possible. By ferry, the trip will take you between two to three hours, depending on the boat. On the roads, you’ll go from Phuket to Krabi Province and then take a ferry for two hours from Noppharat Thara Beach Pier to Phi Phi.