The Phi Phi Islands are located 740 km south of Bangkok between the large island of Phuket and the Straits of Malacca in Thailand's Andaman Sea.
The islands are officially part of Krabi Province, and you can access Phi Phi easily from either Phuket or Krabi. Phi Phi Don is the only island in the group and is where the accommodation is. It's a small island and easy to navigate on foot, by boat or by bicycle.
In this article, we will detail your options for transportation so that you know how to get in and around the Phi Phi islands.
Get to Phi Phi Island by Boat — the Only Way
Getting to Phi Phi Island is pretty straightforward. The distance from the islands is around 46km from Phuket and around the same distance from Krabi.
To get to Phi Phi, you have two options; taking a ferry or a speedboat. The ferry is the most popular choice by far for tourists to reach the Phi Phi islands.
A ferry ride takes two hours from Phuket and around 90 minutes from Krabi. To get good seats in the high season, we advise you to arrive well in advance. In low season, arriving half an hour before departure is usually fine.
Ferry to Phi Phi
Ferries are the most comfortable and safest option. Tourists use the top deck of the ferry as a sundeck, which is perfect for those looking to top up their tans.
The lower floor has air-conditioned rooms and a small shop selling food, snacks, and cold beers and soft drinks. You could spend a little more on a VIP ticket, which gets you a more comfortable air-conditioned spot on the middle-deck.
The ferries can get extremely crowded during high season, which is something to consider when making your choice.
Speedboat to Phi Phi
A speedboat transfer is the second option for getting to Phi Phi. You have the choice of taking a private or scheduled boat, and both take under an hour.
The speedboat is more expensive than the ferry, but you do save a lot of time as the journey only takes around 45 minutes to an hour.
If you are travelling in a large group, splitting the cost of a private speedboat can represent excellent value. With a private boat, you can also get dropped straight to your chosen hotel, which will save you even more time.
Getting to Phi Phi Island from Thailand's Main Cities
It is easy to travel to Koh Phi Phi from most of Thailand's cities. Here, we will give you the most up to date transportation information for visiting Koh Phi Phi from the main tourist destinations in Thailand.
If you run into any trouble arranging flights or any other form of transportation, our travel experts are on hand to assist you with your booking.
Bangkok to Phi Phi Island
If you are travelling from Bangkok, you need to get to one of the piers mentioned above - either at Phuket or Krabi to catch the ferry or speedboat to Phi Phi.
There are no trains to Phuket or Krabi, and a bus or minivan from Bangkok takes around 12 hours to reach either city. With that being said, the recommended way to get to Phuket or Krabi is to fly.
After arriving at the airport, you can take a taxi or a local bus to get to the ferry terminal. There are dozens of flights daily from both Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang airports in Bangkok to both Phuket and Krabi.
With so much competition between airlines, you can usually get an excellent deal on a flight to either city from Bangkok.
Phuket to Phi Phi Island
The main departure/arrival port in Phuket is called Rassada, located near Phuket Town, at the far south of the island. It is a 90-minute journey by private transfer or taxi from the airport in Phuket and Krabi.
Another option in the local buses or minivan from outside Phuket airport, but these options can take a lot longer and are not always the most comfortable way to travel. Our top choice would be a private transfer with one of our professional English speaking guides. >>How to Get to Phi Phi Island from Phuket?
Krabi to Phi Phi Island
Although Phi Phi falls under the Krabi administration, there's not much difference in distance between Phi Phi and Krabi compared with Phi Phi and Phuket.
Departing from Krabi does save time, however, as the ferry port in Krabi is closer to the airport than the ferry terminal in Phuket is. Krabi's main ferry pier is at Klong Jilad, which is situated just south of Krabi Town.
The journey from Krabi airport to the dock takes around half an hour by private transfer or taxi, making these options the fastest and most convenient. Travel by bus is cheaper but can take up to an hour and a half depending on the number of stops they make along the way.
Further reading: How to Get in and around Krabi.
Koh Samui to Phi Phi Island
Given the fact that The Phi Phi islands are located in the Andaman Sea, on the opposite coast from the Gulf of Thailand, a combined trip is required.
There are a couple of options for you depending on your situation. Flying is the quickest and most comfortable, but if you don't want to fly, you can take a minivan or private transfer and boat combination to get to the island. Let's go through your options:
Flying to Koh Phi Phi: Bangkok Airways are the only airline that flies directly between Koh Samui and Phuket/Krabi, and this is by far the most convenient way of reaching Phi Phi. Thai Airways also runs daily flights, but they require a transfer in Bangkok, which at least doubles the journey time.
Overland Travel And Boat Combo From Koh Samui, you will need to take the ferry to Don Sak Pier in Surat Thani. From here you can either take a minivan, taxi or private transfer with an English speaking guide:
Private transfer (recommended): The benefit of this method is that it's comfortable, reliable, and you can stop whenever you want to use the bathroom or get refreshments.
Taxis (less recommended): Taxis are a good option. They are easy to find at Surat Thani Airport airport and a reliable choice for getting to Krabi. The only downside is that the airport is the only place you can legally get a taxi, so prices will be much higher than in other parts of Thailand. There are no meter taxis from Surat Thani Airport, so you can expect to pay in the region of 3000 - 4000 baht for the journey.
Minivan (not recommended): Although there is a minibus option to provide a cheap transfer from the airport to town, they are not always the safest or most comfortable way to travel. We only recommend using a minivan if you are on a tight budget. You can combine any of the above options with a ferry or speedboat ride, depending on your personal preference.
Chiang Mai to Phi Phi Island
From Chiang Mia to Krabi is too far a journey to do by bus or minivan, it's just not practical as it would take you a whole day of travel. The best option is to take a direct flight from Chiang Mai to Phuket or Krabi and use one of the recommended options above to reach the ferry terminal.
How to Get around Phi Phi Island
One of the best ways to get around Phi Phi is to rent a traditional longtail boat with a driver. The cost is around 3000 baht, and you can comfortably fit up to 8 people on the boat.
Not only can you explore different parts of the island, but you'll get the chance to visit places like Bamboo Island, Monkey Bay, Mosquito Island, and Maya Bay, with excellent snorkelling opportunities along the way.
There are also longtail 'taxi' boats that will take you anywhere on the island for a fee. However, if you plan on making a few trips, and you are in a group, private boat rental can actually end up being the cheaper option.
Although Phi Phi Don is a large-ish island, the inhabited parts are not. Walking is a great way to see a lot of the island. You can stroll around the main town to do some shopping and grab a bite to eat and at one of the many restaurants and bars in the town.
From there, you can head to the island's remote east coast beaches or perhaps take a hike up to the magnificent viewpoint. A walk around the whole island should take a maximum of 2 hours.
One of the most popular (and cheapest) ways to get around Koh Phi Phi is on a kayak. Most of the resorts on the island are happy to organise a trip for you, and a kayak costs around 500 baht a day for a single person kayak and 700 Baht per day for a double.
You can also hire them for 200 baht an hour if you prefer to take a short trip. It's a great way to explore the island at your own pace, and you get the opportunity to get into all the little nooks and crannies like small caves that the boats can't get to.
Bicycles are not very common on Phi Phi Island, but they can be found. You can hire bikes at a few of the hotels and resorts in the main town. You are limited to where you can ride in Phi Phi as there aren't a lot of suitable roads on the island, but cycling can be a great way of getting from your hotel to the town and main beach at Tonsai Bay.
Why not let us take the hassle out of your next holiday and help you plan your trip to Phi Phi. We can put together your dream trip, giving you a tailor-made itinerary to suit your interests. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions. We're here to help.