Rock climbing. Mountain biking. Kayaking. Sight seeing. These are a few activities you can do when you are in Krabi, Thailand. In fact, there is something for everyone regardless of age and gender. Despite being on the mainland of Thailand, one of the famous and must-do activities in Krabi is to go for island hopping. After all, Krabi is a coastal province of Thailand.
With more than dozens of islands around the Andaman Sea, there are various types of island hopping (also known as island touring) services available for tourists to choose from. But having said that, not all of those islands are readily available for tourist to step their feet on because most of them are still uninhabited.
The most notable and common tours are The Four Islands, Hong Islands and The Phi Phi Islands. Not all of them visit the same islands as some tends to overlap one another. And hence, it’s up to tourist’s choice to choose which island they are interested in with some offering different activities such as rock climbing and/or snorkelling.
There are two modes of transportation for said tours; longtail or speedboat. Price may vary from one another so as the service providers. Therefore, it’s best for you look around for good deals as some tour agents tend to offer high rates.
These islands tours are usually considered as full day tour that could last up to 8 hours. It normally starts in the morning around 8AM and ends in late afternoon around 4PM. Included in the package, tour agents will pick its customers from their respective hotels before proceeding to nearby docking station for boarding (the boats).
You are advised to bring along a towel and sun block lotions as you will be sun bathing and sea dipping most of the time. It’s best to leave your personal belongings such as mobilephone, passport, and wallet in the hotel room to reduce risk being submerged into the sea.
That said, bring some small change (cash) along for emergency use or if you want to purchase something in Ko Phi Phi Don. The ride can be bumpy especially if you are on a speedboat and while on idle in the middle of the sea, those who are prone to seasick might not enjoy that much. Unlimited soft drinks and mineral waters are provided throughout the tour while fresh fruits will be served towards the end of the tour.
As I mentioned early, different tour will stop at different islands. The photos shown in this post were taken during The Phi Phi Islands tour. I couldn’t confirm whether every tour agent uses the same route but the one that I was on bypassed quite a few islands along the way for sight seeing.
Islands such as Chicken Island, Monkey Island and Viking Cave are viewed from a far for photo taking session while Bamboo Island, Maya Island and Ko Phi Phi Don (island) are the ones that island hoppers stop over for a certain period of time to enjoy thoroughly.
The sight of white sandy beaches, the touch of crystal clear sea water and the feel of cool breeze, which are commonly found on these unspoiled islands, are a perfect combination to conjure a feeling of being in paradise. With given ample amount of time, one gets to sun bathing, snorkelling in crystal clear water, or laze under the shade of a tree at the beach side and let the sea breeze and sounds of pounding waves soak you into relaxation mode.
Besides that, island hoppers will be given a chance to snorkel in the middle of the sea. It’s a great experience for snorkelers as they get to view at the beautiful corals found few feet beneath the surface as well as to fool around with the tiny colourful fishes.
Upon entering Pileh Lagoon, if that’s if your tour agent brings you there, all one needs to do is sit back, relax and enjoy the breathtaking view of the rock formations surrounding the lagoon with crystal clear water beneath it.
Various stories of histories of the islands are told through the tour. For example, I was told that before The Beach movie was out on the silver screen, Maya beach was relatively quiet with very little tourists knew about it.
But in the year 2000 when the movie was shown, the little quiet island has changed into full blown hot spot with herds of tourists poured in daily to check it out. But little did they know that 20% of the movie was shot in the island itself while the rest was shot somewhere else.
With a fee (I think), campers can actually stay in the national park on the (Maya) island for a night or so as there are tents set up readily available for them to use.
Ko Phi Phi Don
Or the story of sailors and captains of yester-decades took shelter inside of Viking Cave during treacherous weather and now, it became the main area for harvesting bird nests where Singapore is their main importer for such exquisite delicacies.
Ko Phi Phi Don is the final stop of the tour whereby lunch is served in one of those concrete huts. For the uninitiated, Ko Phi Phi Don is the main inhabited island of the group and it also was the worst hit area when the deadly tsunami struck both sides of the narrow spur on 26 December 2004. Massive clean up as well as reconstructions have been conducted over the years but there are still signs of the carnage left by the tsunami.
Ko Phi Phi Don
Do take a scroll along the beach after you are done with your lunch. There are small stalls selling souvenirs like t-shirts or flip-flops or if you are still hungry, there are hawker stalls selling finger food and snacks at affordable rate. For those who love fresh coconut water, do check out the stall located along the main beach that sells fresh chilled coconuts for 40 Baht.
Ko Phi Phi Don
Overall, Phi Phi Islands Tour is a must for those who have yet to explore / view the group of beautiful islands. I’m not here to say the remaining tours are bad and pale in comparison. The other tours are equally good as well.
Ko Phi Phi Don
But from what I read and experienced, Phi Phi Islands tour is probably the best bang for the buck. The hours maybe long since you are out in morning and back to hotel in the late afternoon but those are easily forgotten after all the exploring and viewing of beautiful serene islands one after another. As mentioned, rates (price) may vary from one tour agency to another but it should lingers around 1200 Baht per person. A word of advice for those who are prone to seasickness. You might suffer as the sea might get a little rough at times. Hence, precautionary steps such as taking anti-seasickness/nausea medication before the tour are recommended.