Phi Phi Ley Island Hopping

My amazing Thai-stralian travel companion, Apple, and I decided to book a full day snorkel trip to a few of the surrounding islands in Phi Phi Ley, Thailand. When visiting the main Koh Phi Phi island, you’ll literally find hundreds of tour companies offering the same trip.

Don’t go with the first company!

Shop around and see who offers you the best price. Most companies will be willing to lower their price if you know the “going” tour rates. There’s need to book in advance or online, simply hit the street vendors and shop around for one that seems legit.

Phi Phi Ley

Apple and I got into our bikinis, packed a day bag, and headed to the beach to board our Thai longboat for a full day of snorkel adventures! The longboat was full of tourists from all over the world.

We made a few friends with a few of our boat-mates while on the trip: Sevi, from Munich, Emma, from London, and Katy, from Leeds.

Phi Phi Ley

Me and Apple getting our snorkel on

Our first stop was Bamboo Island. This island felt practically deserted with only a few boats worth of tourists in sight. It was paradise! We spent about an hour there, had a light lunch and soaked up the sun. Apple and I did a bit of exploring on the Island enjoying our beautiful surroundings of crystal clear water and white powdery sand beaches.

Bamboo Island

Bamboo Island

We slowly walked back to the longboat and soon realized our guide was struggling to start the engine! The Thai solution? Fit three longboat loads of people onto two.

Let’s just say it made for an interesting and, to be quite honest, soaking wet trip across to the next island!

Thai Longboat

We were all hiding behind whatever objects we could find- life vests, our bags, our friends… anything to keep the cold water from spraying us down and having the wind chill us!

Our next stop was at Pi Ley Bay. The dramatic fjord-like bay has steep cliffs that hide an inlet, only accessible at high tide. The water was so clear and shallow all we had to do was hop off the boat and we were surrounded by a beautiful reef full of tropical fish.

Phi Phi Ley

Massive cliffs and awesome caves

We made another short stop at Loh Samah and passed the 2 small rocky outcrop islands of Bida Nok and Bida Noi. We popped into the water frequently to explore life unda da sea! I swam with all kinds of fish, including the beautiful angel fish, and even saw a sea cucumber- such weird little sea creatures!

Angel Fish

Swimming with angel fish

We rounded the cliffs to the jewel of the Phi Phi Ley collection, Maya Bay. Maya Bay is famous for the movie The Beach starring Leonardo Di Caprio. I had never actually seen the movie but, apparently there’s a bit of Hollywood magic added to the film to make the bay appear like a closed in lagoon.

After a short ride, we joined a bunch of other tourist-filled longboats and were then told to “jump in!” The boat had to stop about 100 meters out from a narrow opening in a cliff where we would have to swim in order to get to the beach.

We found a net at the cliff opening that we had to climb up to get to a staircase to walk to the actual beach. The tide was so strong I actually got pushed up against the reef… battle wounds to prove it!

Maya Bay Net

The crazy net we had to climb to get to Maya bay

It’s hard to describe, but it felt like we were on a mission to discover a hidden treasure. After a bit of a walk, we finally arrived at the beach.

It was all worth it.

Despite the increased amount of tourism the film brought to Maya Bay, it was an absolutely stunning beach- baby powder sand and crystal clear water. Plus, the bay opens to the Andaman Sea in a glorious vista.

Maya Bay

Maya Bay

After rolling around in the sand and letting ourselves get carried out by the ocean current, we made our journey back to the boat.

We left Maya Bay just in time to watch the sunset as we crossed the open ocean heading back to the main dock. Again, I’m a huge sucker for sunsets. It was beautiful watching the shaded figures of longboats pass in front of the sun setting far off across the ocean.

Phi Phi Ley Sunset

The breathtaking view at sunset

It was an amazing day full of ocean adventures. We later found out that there are different types of boats you can take out for similar tours, so if a rickety old low-sitting Thai longboat with a high likelihood of breakdown isn’t your style, there are bigger luxury boats that will be sure to tickle your fancy.

And, always remember, don’t drink and dive!

Funny sign in Thailand

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Kiersten Rich
Kiersten Rich is the bikini-obsessed author of award-winning solo female travel and lifestyle blog, The Blonde Abroad, featuring travel tips, fashion, food, festivals and photography from around the world.