Just 150m from turbulent Tonsai Bay’s endless boat comings and goings, shopping and busy trails, Loh Dalum beach is strangely calm, a long crescent of tree-fringed sand scattered with pay parasols and washed by clear waters that are arguably too warm due to the shallow depth.
Dalum beach is backed by a handful of quite up-market hotels – if you want a budget hotel head for Ton Sai – and some good bars and restaurants.
• Keiritas Yoga, a popular style incorporating mostly Hatha and Ashtanga movements can be found in various locations and class types on the island, indoor and outdoor.
• Climb steeply 180m up to the Viewpoint (from where the photo at top was taken) for a superb overview of the island, especially early or late in the day.
• Visit Monkey Beach on Phi Phi Don, either on foot, by rental kayak or hire a longtail boat.
• Don’s entertainment speciality seems to be dramatic Fire Shows which take place is various locations nightly.
• Snorkeling is fair though much of the coral is a little deep for serious snorkelling, such as Mosquito Island and Bamboo Island. Shark Point is a place where blacktip reef sharks hang out and can be reached by swimmers from Don’s Long Beach.
• Scuba Diving is superb in the Phi Phi Marine Park area. Trips come out from Phuket but Ton Sai also houses many competing Dive Shops so it’s easy to find a trip to suit, or get your PADI license here. Sharks are always a big attraction, as is the King Cruiser Wreck, Shark Point and Anenome Reef.
• Kayaking is a beautiful way to cruise around this stunning island (especially once you escape from Tonsai Bay! ) and rentals easy to find, either for solo use or with a kayak tour.
• Rock Climbing is an upward trend and Tonsai is home to climbing shops offering kit and maps or guides and lessons for beginners.
• Sailing is another Phi Phi favourite, with wind surfers, kiteboarding, dinghies or larger sail boats available for hire and/or instruction.
• Phi Phi Leh island, home to spectacular Maya Bay, the white powder sand ‘ Beach’ made famous by DiCaprio, startling clear, turquoise waters and some nice little caves. Just half an hour from Phi Phi Don (the nearest accommodation, though camping is possible) by longtail boat or less by speedboat. BUT, you will have to pay a National Park fee just to land there for however long you stay, swimming in the bay is not very nice when lots of boats are coming and going and get there very early to avoid crowds. Take a picnic if you plan to stay a few hours.
• Bamboo Island (Moo Ko Phi Phi) is another gorgeous, small (500m across) and frequently visited island 5 kms from Don but like Leh demands a silly National Park fee to land there and still gets crowded. It’s lovely but less spectacular than Leh and offers nothing to do but swim, stroll and perhaps snorkel on a reef about 30m offshore.
Leh’s ‘Viking Cave’, a cottage industry harvesting edible bird’s nests. Thailand. Photo by Diego Delso.