Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

Yes, The Beach is a major reason why travellers flock to Phi Phi (allegedly the inspiration for the cult book by Alex Garland), but the islands are much more than a film-tourism attraction and diving hotspot. Consisting of road-less Phi Phi Don (the main, inhabited island) and Phi Phi Leh (a nature park devoid of human settlement), both of the obscenely laid-back islands reveal clear turquoise-emerald waters paired with limestone cliffs, resplendent reefs and bleach-white beaches. Although Koh Phi Phi was ravaged by the 2004 tsunami, the islands are now back in business, with greater eco-friendly awareness and modified building regulations. There are few destinations this stunning that are so affordable.

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When to go

Save your Phi Phi pilgrimage for the hot period between December and April. The tropical monsoon climate brings a risk of battling winds and rains from May to November.

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Getting there

  • Planes

    If you don’t mind spending a morsel more for the sake of efficiency | the jet-setting way of reaching Koh Phi Phi is via seaplane. Destination Air Shuttle (www.destinationair.com) makes the 12-minute trip from Phuket’s airport – as well as other popular Andaman coast destinations – to Phi Phi Don.
  • Boats

    Flying aside, the only way of getting to Koh Phi Phi is by ferry from Krabi (either Krabi Town or Ao Nang), Phuket (Phuket Town) and Koh Lanta (www.phi-phi.com/ferry). Boats arrive twice daily, and frequency increases during high season. Be warned, though, the last ferry leaves before 3pm, so you'll need to spend a night in Krabi if you're plain arrives later.
  • Taxis

    Phi Phi has dirt tracks, not tarmac, so there isn’t any official form of motorised transport. However, long-tail taxi-boats ply between the various beaches and facilitate nifty island-hopping.