Swimming hole found on Koh Phi Phi Ley
Since Scott and I have seen the movie “The Beach” with Leonardo Dicaprio multiple times and even read the book during our travels, we figured we should get ourselves on a longtail and go see where the movie was filmed for ourselves. I’ll admit the movie opened my eyes to Thailand. I never really thought much about the country before the movie came out. Any tropical paradise dreams were always based around Mexico and the Caribbean. But, after seeing the amazing beauty in the movie it really opened the door to make plans to come to Asia one day.
There are a large variety of tour options available on Phi Phi Don to get yourself over to the National Park island Koh Phi Phi Leh. Many of them are snorkelling tours or you can sign yourself up to camp overnight in a tent on “The Beach” itself, as the main building in the movie is long gone. You can put yourself on an “around the island” snorkel tour for 400-600 baht per person but be prepared to pile into a tippy longtail with 20 others. You then pay extra for your snorkel gear, and if you want to set foot on “The Beach” (Maya Beach) you will need to fork over another 200 baht per person, an National Park admission fee.
Or you can be smart like us and pay the slight bit extra to get a boat and driver to yourself. For slightly more than two would pay to be with 20 other people, we got a private island tour for only 1200 baht. He will take you to the sights you want to go to and you can stay for as long as you like at each site. We stopped at one amazing swimming hole with some of the most spectacular water you’ve seen, plus the snorkelling all around Koh Phi Phi Leh is some of the best we’ve ever experienced. The amount of fish and colours that encircled us without even needing to strap on a scuba tank was something out of this world. We really wished our dicapac didn’t destroy our camera so we could share some shots with you!
We opted to just take a picture of “The Beach” from the boat. For 200 baht per person it looked pretty pathetic. Covered in some of the most bored looking tourists I’ve ever seen. There is literally nothing on the beach. The set from the movie is long gone and the bay does not look anything like the movie. Its far bigger and not at all secretly closed in. Its assumed the images you see in the movie of the inclosed beach is actually from a completely different spot in Thailand, a lagoon found on the opposite side of Thailand in the Ang Thong National Marine Park. If you want to set foot on a amazing secluded beach without paying a price, just tell your driver and he can take you to one on the same island with not a soul in sight.
Sunset on the other hand viewed from our private long tail was an beautiful experience and we had some time to enjoy it. The mountains on Koh Phi Phi Ley lit up in a lovely orange glow and sitting there as just the two of us in the middle of the ocean was quite romantic. Overpriced gondola boat through the Venice canals or private sunset trip around Koh Phi Phi Leh? I think I might have to chose the latter.
Be warned however, the open water between the two sister islands can get really choppy. Our ride back was very bumpy and we were soaked to the bone from all the waves splashing in. We could barely even keep our eyes open from all the water! Be sure to use your drivers dry pac for your valuables!
Going to Phi Phi? Take our recommendation and find yourself a private long tail boat to go around Koh Phi Phi Leh. Find someone to add to your group and set out as 4 people to make it cheaper. You won’t regret it!