Most of the best islands around Phi Phi belong to the Phi Phi Islands group. It may seem confusing as many people refer to Phi Phi as a single island, while it’s actually a group of 6. This confusion comes from the fact that only one of the group – Phi Phi Don Island – is inhabited and features hotels, restaurants and all the necessary basic infrastructure to comfortably accommodate visitors, making it the prominent island of the group.

    Our list of the best islands around Phi Phi features attractive landmasses (or rocks) reachable in less than an hour by speedboat from Koh Phi Phi Don, therefore offering great opportunities for an exciting island-hopping day trip. Note that Koh Phi Phi Leh, the second-largest island of the group, is not in the list because it is an attraction in itself.

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    Bamboo Island is the favorite destination for people in search of a change of scene after a few days on Phi Phi. This small circular island is only 5 km off the northeastern coast of Phi Phi Don and is a picturesque patch of white sand with a lush vegetation center – the many bamboo trees gave it its name (‘Koh Mai Phai’ in Thai). 

    Reputed for its excellent snorkeling opportunities, Bamboo Island houses a small National Park Rangers’ camp with a small bar/restaurant. You can stay overnight here, sleeping in tents.

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    Koh Khai Nok

    Koh Khai Nok is a tiny island located some 25 km northwest of the Phi Phi archipelago. Usually visited on the way back to Phuket during Phi Phi day trips by speedboat, this island has been developed to offer a cool hideaway spot. It's around 15 minutes from Phuket via speedboat.  

    Here, you'll find sun loungers, bars/restaurants, shops, and dive centres. It offers excellent snorkeling and diving. Koh Khai Nok’s peculiarity is that the island’s shape changes all the time. It's because the island is mostly made of sand accumulated around a few rocks, in an area influenced by strong currents. 

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    Koh Bida Nok and Nai are 2 islets that may only be limestone cliffs jutting out from the sea at the southern side of Phi Phi group (Koh Bida Nok being the southernmost island in Phi Phi). Even so, they are widely recognized among the diving community for their beautiful underwater scenes, making them among the favorite dive spots around Phi Phi. 

    Offering great wall diving down to 35 meters on the northern side of Bida Nok, and slightly shallower dives at Bida Nai, you can discover a multitude of tropical fish species, corals, small sharks, and anemone during your dive.

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    Koh Yao Yai

    Koh Yao Yai means ‘big long island’ in Thai, and the name perfectly suits this large piece of land lying between Phuket and the Phi Phi Islands. This island offers some kind of a travel back in time as, apart from a few resorts – Koh Yao Yai is only inhabited by fishermen and farmers.

    Visiting Koh Yao Yai is the right choice if you would like to discover the simple and traditional way of life of Thai southerners, as well as discover one of the few truly unspoilt islands around Phuket.

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    Mosquito Island, located not far from Bamboo Island, is the northernmost island of the Phi Phi archipelago. While it has 2 usable beaches, it's rarely visited for the reason that gave it its name – swarms of mosquitoes infest the island, often at dusk.  

    The waters around Mosquito Island offer great diving and snorkeling spots, with mooring buoys installed off the southern coast of the island for long-tail boats coming from Phi Phi Don to tie up while their passengers snorkel above soft coral reefs. Divers can explore the northeastern side of the island, which hosts 3-headed pinnacles often visited by schools of juvenile fish and blacktip sharks.

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    Stephan Audiger | Compulsive Traveler

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