Best beaches to stay in Koh Phi Phi Don
Tonsai Bay and Village
Tonsai Bay is the busy arrival and departure hub of Koh Phi Phi Don set on a bay facing east over the turquoise Andaman Sea. The 2km long bay encompasses Tonsai West and Tonsai East, backed by the popular Tonsai Village. The infrastructure is aimed mainly towards backpackers with an unabating array of beach shacks, bars, budget and mid-range places to stay and many restaurants to choose from that serve local and international cuisine. The only mode of transport on the island is by foot, by bicycle or longtail boat, both of which can be organised in Tonsai village.
Tonsai Village is a hive of activity. A frenetic jumbled network of narrow lanes flanked by shops selling all manner of jewellery, sarongs and clothes, restaurants, guesthouses, travel agencies and so on. As it is the main ferry port, it is often extremely busy in the mornings as visitors arrive and depart, as well as use it to leave on boat excursions. By nightfall it is a bustling area with people heading out to try out the many restaurants and bars.
Fanning out east and west from the port are the beaches Tonsai East and Tonsai West. These two beaches provide endless opportunities to go on mini excursions by longtail or to do yachting, snorkelling or kayaking. Tonsai East has non-stop beach life with many restaurants and a lively nightlife where you can dance until dawn, while Tonsai West is much quieter with only a handful of resorts and bars, meaning you can unwind in peace, yet still dip your toe in the action should you wish to.
Loh Dalum has shallow blue-green waters and a powdery swathe of sand that are almost entirely closed off by dramatic limestone crags, making it one of the island’s most beautiful places to stay. It is barely 150 metres up the coast from Tonsai Bay and Village and offers equal measures of carefree sunbathing and leisure activities such as snorkelling, diving and kayaking during the day, as well as a wealth of restaurants, bars and clubs when the sun goes down. The beach is lined with simple shacks and inviting restaurants, all competing for the attention of tourists with local and international cuisine. At night an animated party scene strikes up.
Life’s a beach on Laem Thong. Situated towards the northwest tip of the island, it is endearingly only accessible by boat and feels a million miles away from the busy areas of Tonsai Bay and Loh Dalum. Its long pearly white beach is gently lapped by crystalline water and fringed by lightly swaying coconut palms making it one of the most picturesque places to stay on the island. It is perfect for spending a few chilled out days and nights surrounded by truly spectacular scenery.
In front of the beach you can see the tiny islands of Bamboo Island, Mosquito Island and Hin Klang floating like precious jewels in the glimmering azure water. These islands are the top three places to go snorkelling and explore vibrant coral habitats. There are a range of activities available for tourists including water sports, kayaking, snorkelling and diving. Back on dry land you can play volleyball and try your hand at Thai cooking. As the beach faces westward prepare to be dazzled by sensational sunsets, which can be admired from one of the laid-back bars and restaurants.
Resting along the southwest of Phi Phi Island, Long Beach is only separated from Tonsai Bay by rocky jungle path. Although it is within walking distance of Tonsai Bay, it is still far enough away to remain a much quieter and easy going place to stay. You can also access Tonsai via Longboat, a five-minute ride around the bay.
It features some of the island’s best diving and snorkelling where you can discover colourful reefs and a remarkable variety of marine life including black tip reef sharks. Additionally, it is only a short walk from the captivating and remote coves of Ao Poh and Loh Moodee Beach.
As the sun starts to dip, head to one of the beachfront bars for sunset cocktails against an astonishing fiery red backdrop. There are also a number of good restaurants positioned along the sand serving mouth-wateringly fresh seafood and Thai cuisine.