The viewpoint hikes are the only way to get the famous photos of Koh Phi Phi. There was a track right next to our hotel Grand Chang, what we didn’t realise though this was the road way. It’s not as steep, but definitely longer and probably actually a little easier truth be told. The other way is down near the beach and it’s all steps most of which are pretty steep. Going the road way we skipped viewpoint 1 and went straight to Viewpoint 2 which is the largest and has the best view of all the viewpoints. It was a casual walk that took us around 30 minutes, I was thankful I had bought myself a bottle of water though. It may be a relatively short time, but walking in the heat can take its toll. When you arrive at the top there is an entrance fee of 30 baht and you’ll be pleased to find cold drinks, ice creams and other snacks are all on sale.
The best time to come from a photography point of view is before 10am as the sun will be behind you which brings out the colour of the sea. If there’s a light shower while you’re at the top you might be lucky enough to see a rainbow over Tonsai Village. Sunrise is also a great time to visit since it will be cooler, fewer people, and great photo opportunities. However early in the morning or the late afternoon, you will not get the beautiful color in the water. The best time to see the bright blue and turquoise water colors in both bays is around mid-day from about 10am – 2pm. The afternoon will be the hottest times, but the hike isn’t too long. We choose to climb to watch the sunset and probably left ourselves having to up the pace a little to make sure we didn’t miss it. You want to arrive at least 30 minutes before the sun is due to set, but be aware it will be busy at this time of day.
There is a third viewpoint which is actually higher than 2, but as we watched the sunset at viewpoint 2, it was pointless for us to go any further. The walk back down was something we hadn’t put any thought into. It gets dark quick and I mean pitch black, lucky we had our phones for torches, so I would advise to take a fully charged phone or a flashlight with you.
- Distance of Koh Phi Phi Hike: 1.4 km or .9 miles with an elevation max of 173 meters/568ft.
- Viewpoint 1 (I luv Phi Phi sign) Partially blocked view by a hill
- Viewpoint 2 (Top View) This is the best and most popular view with a cafe and restaurant on site.
- Viewpoint 3 (Highest) Easily get all of phi phi in one shot. There’s a small shack next to an antenna selling snacks
- Tsunami Viewpoint
- Hike to Loh Lana & Loh Bagao Viewpoint
- Rantee Viewpoint
There is an entrance fee charged to visit the viewpoints of 30 baht. Hopefully, the fee will help maintain the trails and signage. The fee can change and sometimes comes with a bottle of water, but seems to be 30 baht more often that anything else. Do Not attempt the hike without bringing some cash for the fee or you will not be allowed to enter.
- Entrance fee to Viewpoint 1 30 Bahts (The entrance fee to viewpoint 1 also gets you access to viewpoint 2)
- Viewpoint 3 has another 20 Bahts fee. (Most people don’t know or find this, so it’s usually much quieter than the other viewpoints)
The journey up isn’t difficult at all, the path is well trodden and paved most of the way, there are lots of steps and uneven ground, but there’s plenty of places to rest if need be.
The best views of the island come with a little work. A steep hike is the only way to reach the highest point on the island. There are dirt bike taxis that will take you up and down the steep hills most of the way for a fee. Once up there three viewpoints await you, each providing a great photo opportunity. Time required to hike Koh Phi Phi Trail: 20-25 minutes each way.
- By Stairs The most common way to reach the viewpoints is via the traditional trail which begins with a few sets of concrete stairs. From the Tonsai Village head east toward the edge of the village. From here you should start to see signs for both “Viewpoint 1” and “Tsunami Evacuation Route”. The trail starts with a very steep set of stairs and usually there is a hand-painted wooden sign. If you are not starting your hike with a steep set stairs you are not in the right spot.
- Road Another way to reach the viewpoints is by the road. This route is longer but fewer steps and you ascend more gradually. Be aware there is little signage on this route and you will pass through a more local side of the island.
- By Taxi For those that want to skip the hike and just get to the viewpoint, you can arrange a motorbike taxi to take you to the top. Most will wait and charge you a round trip price. On average the cost of this trip should be around 500 baht to 1000 baht depending on your haggling skills.
- Time required to hike the trail: 20-25 minutes each way.
- Alcohol is not permitted into any of the viewpoints or you could be fined 1000 Bahts.
- Don’t forget to buy water at the bottom before you hike to the viewpoint.
- If you decide to attempt the hike for sunrise or sunset make sure your phone is fully charged to use the torch or take a flashlight or head torch because one way of your trip will be in the dark.
- Do not attempt the hike without bringing some cash for the 30 Baht entrance fee or you will not be allowed to enter.
- We hiked to the viewpoint in flip flops, but some might like more sturdy footwear.
- Don’t forget the sunscreen.
- If you don’t like crowds it’s best to leave early morning.
- Best time for photos is 10am-2pm to get the turquoise blue sea.
- If you plan to watch the sunset, make sure you arrive at least 30 minutes before.