phoenix travel blogger diana Elizabeth Thailand phi phi islands blog post

Thailand Phi Phi Islands

guide to Thailand phi phi islands and what to visit girl diana elizabeth blogger travel blogger from Phoenix running into water at Maya baySwimsuit

This is the first of a series of 5 blog posts dedicated to Thailand.

I want to kick off my Thailand posts with my favorite part of the trip – visiting the Phi Phi Islands of Thailand. Have you seen the movie The Beach with Leonard DiCaprio? I saw it on a double date in college – while the movie and double date were meh, I remember loving the movie for the sights! What a dream to see it in person!

To get an idea of where these islands are located in Thailand – see I highlighted Bangkok in blue. We took a short flight to Krabi, then took a ferry boat to the Phi Phi Islands. These things all need to be booked ahead of time – especially the ferry boat since it runs only twice a day so you need to coordinate it with your flights.

map of Thailand phi phi islands to show where they are located and where to stay and go

We stayed on Phi Phi Don, the main island and really the only island you can visit. Full of shopping, taxi boats, hotels, clubs and bars, it’s such a fun scenic place. Phi Phi is pronounced as pee-pee.

thailand diana elizabeth travel blogger in purple dress by the private long tails on Thailand phi phi islandsThailand long tail pretty colors with flowers on phi phi islands Thailand-diana-elizabeth-travel-blogger-phoenix-koh-ko-phi-phi-island-375 sunset image of Thailand phi phi islands orange sky

The sunset was that orange, and it changed colors from orange to purple really quickly.

We found a private taxi boat driver who would drive us for 6 hours for 3000 baat ($100). They typically start at 9 am but we begged to get started earlier and he asked if we could be ready at 6 am. Rachel and I had been in the habit of waking up early with our tour group that it wasn’t a problem for us.

And boy, was it worth it to be the absolute first to reach Maya Bay – the exact location where The Beach was filmed.

Maya Bay

Maya bay in Thailand phi phi islands diana elizabeth blogger wallking along shore linediana elizabeth blogger with friend walking to the beach at Maya bay phi phi islandsdiana elizabeth blogger in Koh phi phi island Maya bay jumping in sand with hands up in the airSwimsuit

Bamboo Beach

Next stop was Bamboo Beach – we went there fairly quickly after more people started arriving at Maya Bay. We do regret leaving as early as we did once we realized Bamboo Beach would be a little underwhelming.

It’s OK though, I just kept collecting seashells. We laid out for a little while just relaxing since we walked quite a way to get from our long tail (low tide so early in the morning) to the beach.

Then, we discovered a little hut with the best fried rice – with fried egg. It was the best fried rice we’ve ever tasted in our lives for under $2! Goodness I love Thailand!

Bamboo beach Thailand Diana Elizabeth along the shore walking in swimsuitKoh phi phi Thailand girl with seashells on her hand at Bamboo Beachseashells in the sand collected from Thailand Bamboo Beach Phi Phi IslandsHand in water covered in henna tattoo and mermaid bracelet floating in water in Thailand phi phi islands
Monkey Beach

Last stop was Monkey Beach – I hadn’t seen a monkey for the first few minutes when I decided to dump the rest of my Coke out and put the can in my trash bag. Apparently the sound of that attracted the monkeys telling them there was food – so suddenly I saw one, then two and then a gang of monkeys start walking towards me.

I panicked because I was told by several people before I left for my trip that the monkeys can be aggressive and if they grab anything from you, to let them have it to avoid any bites. Well, if you saw my video you know what happened on Snapchat! I later heard someone got bit by one and had to go the hospital while another said he let a monkey walk up his arm to his shoulder and took a selfie with his GoPro!

Either way, I wouldn’t chance it – just don’t throw anything at them because a tourist did that (to make them look at the camera) and about three monkeys launched themselves at him screaming with teeth out and they weren’t happy – and I think he will never do that again.

When they came toward me I backed up until a little monkey tried to open my bag and look inside – no not my camera! So I immediately snatched my bag because there was no way I would let him take my bag! He started to walk the bench toward Rachel’s things and he grabbed her water bottle that was sitting there before she could grab it away from him. He ran away, jumped on the swing (the one I’m sitting on here) and opened the top of the bottle with his teeth! It makes me wonder if these swings are for the monkeys and not the tourists!

Diana Elizabeth lifestyle blogger travel sitting on monkey island in Thailand Phi phi islands wood bench swing under a tree monkey on monkey beach in Thailand

Phi Phi Don

We arrived back on the main island by noon! We had a Thai massage (which is out of this world for several reasons – mainly the back cracking and interaction – have you ever had one?). We discovered the other side of the island (we stayed in the main skinny part) and found out the other side was the beach side – with the clubs. Not our thing, but we enjoyed the sunset longer.

diana elizabeth blogger talkking a walk at dusk on Koh phi phi island low tideSwimsuit / Pants

Koh phi phi island sunset low tide Koh phi phi island sunset low tide

We stayed at Phi Phi Banyan Villa, two nights with a garden view for $210 booked through

Phi Phi Banyan Villa on Koh phi phi island Thailand is where we stayed

The next morning we woke up at 5:45 to start hiking to the Phi Phi viewpoint. First, let me tell you it was an awful hike. It was already hot at 6 am and if you’re going to do it, I’m going to give you a piece of advice.

I had entertained the idea of paying a motorcyclist who was already going up the hill 100 batt just so I could jump on. Do this! If anyone is willing to let you ride to the top or as far as they go, pay the man! I was really having a hard time and not happy about it. But you could say once I got to the top I calmed down and then I got myself a Thai Coffee as a reward – there is a gift shop and coffee bar at the top, haha!


Then we caught our ferry boat back to Krabi and came to this view. By the way, this strappy lightly padded bra I’m wearing under my dress from Macy’s, it cost me $3. I should have bought 5. Thailand, I love your sights and your shopping prices.

Diana elizabeth travel blogger silhouette peace sign Thailand phi phi islands in background

Photographs taken with a Sony NEX-5R and Canon G7 X.

Thailand post series:

  1. Thailand Phi Phi Islands
  2. Floating Market + Temples in Bangkok
  3. Jungle Rafting in River Kwai
  4. Thailand Eats
  5. Historic Ruins in Ayutthaya

Diana Elizabeth is an author, photographer, and obsessive thrift shopper. You can typically find her in the garden wrist deep in dirt, at a local estate sale or planning her next epic party. She continues to blog weekly.


  • Island Phi Phi

    I love everything in this place. I am so fascinated with it. I hope I can come back again and see the beauty of it once again!

  • Serena Joy

    wow, this is absolutely amazing, it really makes me put Koh Phi Phi as my top destination for next year! I have a friend who recently went diving there, she absolutely loved Phi Ley Wall, said the whole area both above and under water was the experience of a lifetime ( I so want to get there myself and explore everything!!!!

  • Lisa Anstead

    Loved reading about your trip t Phi Phi Islands. I’m heading there tomorrow and hoping its not too crowded.

    • Diana Elizabeth

      Hi Lisa, I hope you had a wonderful time! If you ever want less crowds just go really early! Most are sleeping in :)

  • Jen

    Wow great read! And the monkeys! it reminds me of my holiday there not so long ago having a similar experience on the monkey beach, whilst great fun to see the monkeys it is safe to say we left without our lunch!! luckily we found there was a small kiosk on Maya Bay which was our next stop, what a life saver.. Which tour did you take while there, i choose to book online at i went a whole day trip with speedboat, bonus was there was only 12 people on board, i guess thats one of the perks of visiting during the rainy season haha.

  • Kelly

    Hopefully I can wake up early enough like you to get to Maya Bay without the crowds. Beautiful pictures!

  • Dean

    Hi, any tour guide to recommend? How much did you pay in total? Thanksss

  • Stephanie

    Beautiful pictures! I can’t wait to visit next year. My family was born and grew up in Thailand prior to moving to the US. You should’ve visit Chang Rai. I heard it’s a beautiful place. I never been there but I am excited to see my culture and try authentic Thai food!!

    • Diana Elizabeth

      Hi Stephanie, thank you! We stayed south this trip – so much to see and explore, hopefully I can go back once more. I’m sure you’ll enjoy yourself when you go, and the food :)

  • Carissa

    These pictures are SO good. I love the shells and the jumping picture (of course) and THAT VIEW. Wow! These pictures definitely make me want to visit these same places. I have to admit, though, that I laughed like a 8 year old boy when I read that Phi Phi is pronounced like pee-pee.

  • Nicklas Winger

    It’s a must! I guess people call it “India light”. Personal driver is kind of normal there, and not expensive at all. We went to see everything from beaches, to riding trains _high_ up in the mountains through tea plantations (That’s an amazing experience btw), jeep safari, living inland at super cool hotels and seeing old temples.

    If you drop me an e-mail at winger.nicklas[at], I’ll send you the itinerary for you to take a look at. Mentions all the hotels and things we did for the week.

    Also, I’m posting some shots from that trip on my FB-page these days, do drop by to take a look :) (

    Maldives was nothing short of breathtaking (Stayed here: Pretty expensive, but we had a butler..totally worth it. Haha! Posting some shots from there as well! It’s actually exactly the way it looks in pictures – stunning, and with a really intense heat :)
    Took a boat from the airport to the city on our way home, while waiting for the plane to Dubai. Also a must see. Costs like $2 for a ticket with the boat, and we had a guy following us around for a couple of hours :)

  • Nicklas Winger

    Hah, cool! Really glad you liked it. Seemed like you were up _really_ bright and early :)
    I’ve never been to Japan or Australia / NZ. Spain, I’d recommend for the food and wine alone! :D Depends wether or not you want to visit an island or the main land, but Palma is a must for a few days. That, combined with a trip to Barcelona should be a nice one.

    Japan is next on my list – If I were to choose between that and Australia / NZ – Japan would be the one.

    Lastly, allthough none of your options, you need to consider Sri Lanka if you haven’t been there :) Just went there for a week driving around the country with a personal driver followed by two weeks to the Maldives for my honeymoon in november – it was awesome :)

    • Diana Elizabeth

      Sri Lanka! I would have never put that on my list but now I’m going to look into it. I want a personal driver, I want one here in the US too, I don’t like to drive. You went to the Maldives?! One of my wedding couples went there, looks heavenly. We’ll see what deals pop up, I just want to go everywhere :)

  • Nicklas Winger

    Fantastic! I want to go back – now!

    • Diana Elizabeth

      Nicklas I thought of you while I was there!! The long-tail boat advice was right on! Question, I have 3 places on my next international trip list – Japan, Spain and Australia/New Zealand. Any input? Which have you been to?

  • Carmen

    Beautiful sights! Omg that image of you on the mountain top is amazing! I had to laugh about those monkeys, though! Looks like you had lots of fun in Thailand! ;)

    • Diana Elizabeth

      Thanks Carmen! I am glad you weren’t there with me while I hiked up the mountain, you may have ditched me as a friend. :) But yes that view sure was worth it! Oh the monkeys scared me so bad, I decided the water was safer. :)


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