Although only just over ten miles apart Ko Pu and Ko Phi Phi are a study in contrasts. Ko Pu remains largely untouched by tourism while Ko Phi Phi is world famous, in no small way thanks to the Hollywood Blockbuster “The Beach”. On Ko Pu the locals have a saying that if you enjoyed your visit please do NOT tell your friends as they like it the way it is. On Ko Phi Phi while you can still find some quiet anchorages, especially on the east side during our south west season, main stream tourism has most definitely left it’s mark, especially in the main entry point of Tonsai Bay in the south of Phi Phi Don.
Ko Pu 007deg 49.40min N 098deg 56.75min E
Also known as Ko Jum this island is so far largely unaffected by mainstream tourism and retains a very laid back atmosphere. Anchor in no less than 5metres close to the Southern tip of the island where there are several small resorts such as Joy bungalow, Ko Jum Lodge and the more up market Ko Jum beach villas. The beach has some rock outcrops but is easily accessible by dinghy on tides above 1 metre. Beware that there are several large isolated rocks close to the beach along the centre of the island in front of the blue roofed resort and a very large and dangerous rocky reef along the southern half of the island. This anchorage is most definitely not suitable in the south west season.
Ko Mai Phai 007deg 49.00min N 098deg 48.00min E
Anchor on the sand in about 10 metres on the east side of Ko Mai Phai being careful not to drop on the reef which is in good condition and great for snorkelling. There are orange national park mooring buoys on the east side of the island in deep water but you should exercise caution if picking up any of the other mooring buoys as they are often laid in very shallow water. They are useful for tying the dinghy to while you go snorkelling but beware of the sometimes strong currents when swimming. Ashore you will find a daytime only restaurant and a national park ranger station on the northeast corner of the island.
Ko Yung 007deg 49.00min N 098deg 46.50 min E
There is a good reef on the east side of the island of Ko Yung with mooring buoys, again the orange national park moorings are in deep water and the smaller ones should be used with caution. Yung means mosquito in Thai and there are day time biting mosquitoes on the beach.
Hin Klang 007deg 47.50min N 098deg 47.00 min E
Beware of the submerged reef at Hin Klang and take great care to not drop your anchor in coral when anchoring in this area. There is good snorkelling across the entire reef with small mooring buoys on its west side.
Ko Phi Phi Don north east, Laem Thong Beach 007deg 46.80min N 098deg 46.00 E
This small bay, suitable only in the southwest season has good holding in no less than 12 metres well offshore and outside of the bay as there is a large flat rocky reef in front of the beach which can be exposed for up to 200 metres at low tide. Ashore there is a pretty beach with a good coral reef and several resorts ranging from the 5 star Holiday Inn, where you will also find a scuba centre, to middle range resorts and smaller local restaurants. The excellent Zeavola resort and spa at the North end of the beach has a choice of two great restaurants or you might like to indulge in a luxury spa treatment.
Ko Phi Phi Don north west, Lana Bay 007deg 46.50min N 098deg 45.40min E
During the northeast season you can anchor at Lana bay and walk across the island to Laem Tong beach. Anchor well offshore in 12 to 15metres and take your dinghy to the small pier. At the southern end of this anchorage is a horseshoe shaped beach surrounded by hills. It has a powder white sand beach with a very gentle slope, so shallow water interspaced with rocks extends some distance from the beach.
Ko Phi Phi Don north west, Nui Bay 007deg 45.70min N 098deg 45.55min E
Just around the headland to the south west is a small bay and island suitable as a lunchtime stop in the northeast season only for one or two yachts. There is a nice beach with good coral and snorkelling but no restaurants.
Ko Phi Phi Don Loh north east, Ba Gao Bay 007deg 45.70min N 098deg 46.65min E
Anchor a good distance outside the bay in not less 15metres and beware of the large rocky reef in front of the beach, which can be exposed for up to 500 metres at low tide. On the beach is the Phi Phi Island village beach resort and on the headland to the south is the 360 resort. Both have good restaurants.
Ko Phi Phi Don west, Yongkasem beach 007deg 44.75min N 098deg 45.75min E
Yongkasem beach is also known as monkey beach, after the large troupe of wild and unfortunately aggressive monkeys that live here. Beware of the monkeys as every year many tourists are bitten by them. This anchorage is sheltered in all but north west winds. There are no facilities ashore but it is a pretty beach fringed by a coral reef so anchor well offshore in no less than 15 metres. To the east of this beach is Loh da lum bay, which is almost completely filled with a large reef and there are many large coral heads that rise up from over 20 metres. It is not recommended to take the dinghy to Loh da lum beach unless the tide is rising as the beach can dry out for over 400 metres at low tide.
Ko Phi Phi Don east, Relax resort 007deg 45.25min N 098deg 47.15min E
As the name suggests this is a quiet relaxing resort and there is a good restaurant and bar right on the beach. Anchor in no less than 15metres well offshore of the reef that extends over 200 metres from the beach in places and makes getting a shore difficult on tides below 1.5 metres. There is a gap in the reef starting from the red buoy on the edge of the reef and running at a slight angle to the beach towards the north. There is good snorkelling on the reef but beware of longtail boats that pass close to the outer edge of the reef. A good spot for a quiet lunch stop but it must only be used as an overnight anchorage in the southwest season. About half a mile south is another beach with a few basic restaurants and bars ashore and fire dancing shows in the evenings. To the south is a long bay with a wide beach. This is a great place for a quiet stop and a walk on the beach but there are signs posted at the back of the beach asking that visitors do not enter the local Muslim village so please respect their privacy.
Ko Phi Phi Don south, Ton Sai Bay 007deg 43.80min N 098deg 46.40min E
This wide bay is protected in both seasons with large reefs on both sides of the bay, especially the east side, which rise rapidly from over 20 metres to less than 2 metres, so pay close attention to your chart plotter and depth sounder and enter the bay on the west side only. There are several large rocks off the south east tip of Phi Phi Don around Hin Phae and along the whole length of the large reef on the eastern side of the bay. It is better to favour the west side of the anchorage to avoid the water traffic heading for the pier and never swim more than a couple of metres from the yacht as speed boats enter and leave the bay at very high speed. There is a small bay just inside the southern tip of Ton Sai, which is generally quieter but is only suitable as a lunchtime stop and stay clear of the 4 yellow buoys that mark an underwater Tsunami memorial. For an overnight stop anchor to the south of the numerous moorings in 10 to 13 metres taking care to give sufficient swinging space to any of the moorings, some of which are slightly submerged and considered “private” by the local boats so it is best not to use them under any circumstances. Also take care to avoid the reef on the west side of the bay which rises vertically from 15 metres to almost dry out at low water. When going ashore it is best to land the dinghy on the beach to the west of the large concrete jetty as the east side dries out. The “village” at Tonsai is actually a mix of a several large 5 star hotels and hundreds of small bars, restaurants and shops all along the shore and back through the narrow side streets with more on the north beach. For Scuba diving trips there are numerous dive shops in the main street of the village. There are several small basic supermarkets and fresh vegetables available from street stalls in the morning.
Ko Phi Phi Le, Maya Bay 007deg 40.75min N 098deg 45.85min E
Known as Ko Phi Phi Le this island is marked as Ko Phraya Nak on Thai chart 308. Maya bay on the west coast is a beautiful circular lagoon made famous by the movie “The Beach”. It is strongly advised not to enter Maya bay during the Southwest season unless it is very calm. The bay has spectacular limestone cliffs surrounding lovely white sandy beaches, however due to its popularity as a tourist destination it is advisable to visit early in the morning or later in the afternoon. The fish in this bay are very tame and will eat out your hand so fishing is strictly banned. There is a large shallow reef across the southern half of the bay so you must stay close to the north side where there are mooring buoys which can be used by yachts but only with extreme caution as there are numerous coral heads. The coral has been damaged due to inconsiderate use of anchors so you must use a mooring buoy, strictly no anchoring. If a mooring is not available you must anchor the yacht outside the entrance to the bay in no less than 20 metres. If you go ashore to the beach standard national park fees apply. It is possible to stay in Maya bay overnight but make every effort to ensure the mooring buoy you have chosen is secure. On the Southeast tip of Phi Phi Le you will see a small island with a channel behind suitable for snorkelling although it can get busy. There is a rope ladder of sorts and path that leads to the back of Maya bay.
In the middle of the east side of Phi Phi Le you will see Hong Pileh. This beautiful lagoon has a very shallow entrance channel on the east side and at the back of the hong the water is much deeper and great for a swim. To the North of Hong Pileh is Viking cave. This is a site for collecting swallow nests to make birds nest soup. The collectors actually live in the cave and in recent years have not allowed visitors to enter the cave. There are no restaurants on Phi Phi Le.
Hin Mu Sang 007deg 48.00min N 098deg 37.60min E
Ten miles west north west of Phi Phi on the way to Phuket is an isolated danger mark on a small rock named Hin Mu Sang and locally known as shark point. Half a mile north is the submerged rock known as Anemone reef and a mile east lies the wreck of the King Cruiser. This 85 metre car ferry was in service as a passenger ferry between Phuket and Ko Phi Phi when it hit Anemone reef and sank on the 4th of May 1997. All three are now protected dive sites and to avoid damaging the coral it is strictly prohibited to anchor near any of these sites.