Six islands make up the Phi Phi archipelago. They sit in the Andaman Sea 48kms east of Phuket and 42kms south of Krabi with Koh Phi Phi Don and Koh Phi Phi Lee being the two largest. A true tropical paradise of hill hills with jutting cliffs, pristine white beaches and an emerald sea hiding banks of coral and colourful marine life
As recently ago as 1945, The Phi Phi Islands were uninhabited, only occasionally visited by Sea Gypsies. The first settlers arrived in 1950 from Koh Yai, north of Phi Phi Island, in Phang Nga Bay. Later settlers from Koh Lanta and Krabi provinces joined them. 99% of the inhabitants of Koh Phi Phi Don are Muslim. The call to prayer from the islands one mosque can be heard in the village both in the morning and in the evening. There is always a high attendance as the islanders are devoted to their faith.
Koh Phi Phi Don
The largest and the only inhabited of the six islands cover a total of 28 square kilometers. The island is 8 kms long and 3.5 kms across at the widest point. At the northern most part of the island, Cape Laem Tong is home to Chao Ley or a sea gipsy village. This community migrated from Koh Lipeh in Tarutao National Park close to the Malay boarder. Some of the islands best diving can be found in Laem Tong also at Hua Rah Ket on the most southern part of the island. Around the island are long beaches with a few rocks scattered about. The back-to-back curving bays of Ton Sai and Loh Dalam are particularly beautiful.
Koh Phi Phi Le
The second largest in the archipelago covers an area of 6.6 square kilometers, 3kms long and 1 km across at the widest point. The entire island is made of limestone with steep cliffs encircled by crystal clear water. Its average depth is 20 metres but it is at its deepest, 34 meters off the island's southern tip. Although uninhabited the island does have some beautiful bays. Pileh Beach is almost encircled by the limestone wall of the islands cliffs. On the northern point of the island is the famous.
Viking Cave, a name they were given by His Majesty King Rama IX after his visit in 1972. At Tam Pya Nak there is a large boulder that resembles the shape of the giant serpent from Buddhist legend, the Naga. On the eastern and southern walls of the cave are historical images of elephant and European, Arab and Chinese sailing boats. There is a theory that pirates took shelter from the monsoon in the caves and used them transfer their cargo or make repairs.
The Province of Phuket and Krabi have a largest Chinese community, descendants of the tin miners and rubber plantation owners that gave the area its original prosperity. They will come to the island to collect the nests of the migratory Fork tail Swift, the raw ingredient for the Chinese delicacy Bird's Nest Soup. The birds descend on Phi Phi Le during January to April and will build the nests held together by no more than their saliva. They stay for just two weeks before continuing their journey.
Its name in English is Bamboo Island that lies to the north of Phi Phi Don, close to Koh Yung. To the north and east of the island are beautiful sandy beaches. To the south stretches a broad coral reef
Again to the north of Phi Phi Don. On the eastern side a rocky beach and a smaller strand of sand in the fold of the hill. A great and beautiful selection of coral can be found here.
Despite the islands rugged terrain a number of the islanders support themselves from cashew nut farming. The plantations can clearly be seen from the path leading to the viewpoint. Likewise coconut farming, the milk from the coconut the key ingredient of the island's delicious curries.
But fishing still remains the most important industry. Local men pride take pride in their skills as boatmen. The best of them being full time captains on the dive and fishing boats.
With their love of the sea all the boats captains are Muslim. They also control the boat industry in the poorer islands to the east.
The children attend the islands one primary school close to Bay view Resort. After the age of 12 they have to go and stay with relatives in Krabi to complete their education.