Koh Phi Phi Don @ the Phi Phi Islands, Thailand (4K UHD HDR)The Phi Phi Islands (Thai: หมู่เกาะพีพี, (pronounced ‘Pee Pee’) are an island group in Thailand between the large island of Phuket and the Straits of Malacca coast of Thailand. The islands are administratively part of Krabi Province. Ko Phi Phi Don (Thai: เกาะพีพีดอน; RTGS: ko phiphi don) (ko Thai: เกาะ 'island') is the largest and most populated island of the group, although the beaches of the second largest island, Ko Phi Phi Le (Thai: เกาะพีพีเล; RTGS: ko phiphi le) are visited by many people as well. The rest of the islands in the group, including Bida Nok, Bida Nai, and Bamboo Island (Ko Mai Phai), are not much more than large limestone rocks jutting out of the sea. The islands are reachable by speedboats or long-tail boats most often from Krabi town or from piers in Phuket Province.
Phi Phi Don was initially populated by Muslim fishermen during the late-1940s, and later became a coconut plantation. The resident Thai population of Phi Phi Don remains more than 80 percent Muslim. The current population however—if counting transient workers—is more Buddhist than Muslim. The resident population is between 2,000 and 3,000 people (2013).
The islands came to worldwide prominence when Ko Phi Phi Le was used as a location for the 2000 British-American film The Beach. This attracted criticism, with claims that the film company had damaged the island's environment - the producers supposedly bulldozed beach areas and planted palm trees to make it better resemble descriptions in the book, an accusation the film's makers contest. An increase in tourism was attributed to the film's release, which resulted in increased environmental degradation. Phi Phi Le is home to the Viking Cave, where there is a thriving industry harvesting edible bird's nests.
Ko Phi Phi was devastated by the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004, when nearly all of the island's infrastructure was destroyed.
From archaeological discoveries, it is believed that the area was one of the oldest communities in Thailand, dating back to the prehistoric period. It is believed that this province may have taken its name from Krabi, which means 'sword'. This may come from a legend that an ancient sword was unearthed prior to the city's founding.
The name Phi Phi (pronounced phi-phi) originates from Malay. The original name for the islands was Pulau Api-Api ('the fiery isle'). The name refers to the Pokok Api-Api, or fiery tree (grey mangrove) which is found on the islands.
There are six islands in the group known as Phi Phi. They lie 40 kilometres (25 miles) southeast of Phuket and are part of Hat Nopparat Thara-Ko Phi Phi National Park. The national park covers an area of 242,437 rai (38,790 ha). which is home to an abundance of corals and marine life. There are limestone mountains with cliffs, caves, and long white sandy beaches.
Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Le are the largest and best-known islands. Phi Phi Don is 9.73 square kilometres (3.76 square miles): 8 kilometres (5.0 miles) in length and 3.5 kilometres (2.2 miles) wide. Phi Phi Le is 2 kilometres (1.2 miles). In total, the islands occupy 12.25 square kilometres (4.73 square miles).
There are two administrative villages on Ko Phi Phi under the administration of the Ao Nang sub-district, Mueang Krabi District, Krabi Province. There are nine settlements under these two villages.
The villages are:
Laem Thong (บ้านแหลมตง, Mu 8, between 300-500 people)
Ban Ko Mai Phai (about 20 fishermen live on this island)
Ban Laem Tong
Ao Loh Bakhao
Ko Phi Phi (บ้านเกาะพีพี, Mu 7, between 1,500 - 2,000 people)
Ao Maya (about 10 people, mostly in the ranger station)
Ton Sai, the capital and largest settlement
Hat Noppharat Thara - Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park is influenced by tropical monsoon winds. There are two seasons: the rainy season from May till December and the hot season from January till April. Average temperature ranges between 17–37 °C (63–99 °F). Average rainfall per year is about 2,231 millimetres (87.8 inches), with wettest month being July and the driest February.
Since the re-building of Ko Phi Phi after the 2004 tsunami, paved roads now cover the vast majority of Ton Sai Bay and Loh Dalum Bay. All roads are for pedestrian use only with push carts used to transport goods and bags. The only permitted motor vehicles are reserved for emergency services.Bicycling is the most popular form of transport in Ton Sai.
The nearest airports are at Krabi, Trang, and Phuket. All three have direct road and boat connections.
There are frequent ferry boats to Ko Phi Phi from Phuket, Ko Lanta, and Krabi town starting at 08:30. Last boats from Krabi and Phuket depart at 14:30. In the green season (Jun-Oct), travel to and from Ko Lanta is via Krabi town only.