Mu Koh Phi Phi has been part of the Noppharat Thara National Park since 1983 and is about 40 kilometers from Krabi, covering an area of around 35 square kilometers. It is made up of six islands with features such as incredible beaches and unique coral reefs. Sheer limestone cliffs and rocks, characteristic of this area, emerge from the Andaman Sea.
The name Phi Phi only refers to the two biggest islands in the archipelago: Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh. The rest are named, in order of size, Koh Phai, Koh Yung, Koh Bida Nok and Koh Bida Nai.
The worldwide exposure these natural treasures gained from their location of the filming of the Hollywood movie “The Beach” added popularity to this already famous group of holiday islands. The latest publicity for this archipelago was unfortunately due to the notorious 2004 tsunami, whose gigantic waves submerged most of the bay where the resorts and development were situated. Ao Ton Sai on Phi Phi Don claimed many victims. It has taken some time to clear up the area and for visitors to return, but Phi Phi is back on its feet and even better than before.
The Chao Leh or sea gypsies, who began living on Phi Phi generations ago, were allowed to own settlements on the islands. Unscrupulous developers were previously able to find a loophole in the law, building on these settlements and in other prohibited areas. The tsunami disaster gave the Government the opportunity to rethink the situation, pass new protection laws and only allow sensible and “green” developments. It remains to be seen how long these new ideas will continue.