A question which we are regularly asked: is how can I take a boat out to see the Phi Phi islands. Without joining a tour package? And I will try and clear up a few points in this post!
Finding a Private Longtail Boat Captain
Numerous boat captains can be found around the main island of Phi Phi Don. Occasionally captains can be found hanging around by their boats during quieter days; however, during Thailand’s peak season (October until April). It is unlikely that a Captain will be seen mooching around. The increase of visitors to Phi Phi islands is, on average, 600% greater than the out-of-season months. During this period, – the tables turn around – & rather than captains struggling to find customers, it is visitors who often struggle to find a captain. To avoid disappointment, booking in advance is strongly recommended for travellers visiting during peak months.
Which Spots To Visit On a Private Boat Tour
Visitors to Phi Phi Island may be worried that due to lack of knowledge about the area – choosing a private Longtail boat trip would mean; not getting to see all of the places that they would do on a group tour. This statement is far from the truth – & travellers on a private boat trip of Phi Phi Island will get to see the same places and more off-the-path secret beaches. In the words of the Thai’s: “same-same-but-better.”
At least, this is true when booking with Five Star Thailand Tours! Our welcoming Thai Longtail boat captains are out on the Andaman Sea every day. These guys have the best knowledge of the Koh Phi Phi archipelago and will fine-tune a tour route to ensure that our guests get to visit the best and least crowded sites at any given time of the day.
A Typical Private Phi Phi Island Tour
A typical private longtail boat trip is leaving from the Tonsai bay area of Koh Phi Phi Don. Would usually, head over Koh Phi Phi Leh Island first. – That’s the one, the island which is font on the postcards; the island people picture when thinking about Phi Phi Islands.
There are some snorkelling spots at this island & its the home of ‘Maya-Bay’ beach. Which was (thankfully!) recently closed in 2018. The bay is still open to swim & snorkel in & travellers can even get a glimpse of the paradise beach.
Phi Phi Leh generally tends to be the highlight for a group boat tour – with most boats landing in the same locations at the same time. However, on a Private Phi Phi Island boat trip, the best is yet to come.
The beaches on Phi Phi Don often have fewer or no crowds because the group tours don’t stop there. So if these beaches are prettier & quieter – then why don’t group tours visit them? Might you be wondering? Well – these secret beaches are unheard of because tours don’t visit them! And because tours don’t visit them, people, arent talking about them. Most people are not willing to try something new or don’t have enough information to do so. It’s a catch-22, and one that works in our favour meaning we can keep these places kept as a secret to enjoy for ourselves! – At least for the time being.
After visiting Koh Phi Phi Don’s secluded beaches! (can you ask for much more?!) The next stop will generally be an hour or so at Bamboo Island (Koh Phai). After the recent closure of Maya Bay, Bamboo Island has seen a spike increased of visitors stopping on the shores here. Still, it’s a picture-perfect island, and we wouldn’t advise to skip out on this one.
Bamboo island boasts tropically warm & crystal clear waters – perfect for swimming – with the soft white sand beach being the ultimate destination to soak up some sun. The only down-side to visiting Bamboo Island is the entry cost. All non-Thai visitors to the island are subject to an entry charge, which is to be given in cash to the National Park staff upon arrival to the Island. It’s a shame that the fees are at such an overpriced, inflated, high rate. The current charge is 400THB per person! – And if you not aware of this already only around 50% of that 400baht is seen by the Thai National Park service. I’m sure you can work out where the rest disappears too!
However, that being said, visiting Bamboo Island on a private longtail boat trip is still worth it – its a once-in-a-lifetime experience that doesn’t compare to anything else. To fly the long-haul flight into Thailand, make the pilgrimage to Phi Phi Islands – and then NOT visit Bamboo Island because of the 400baht charge? It just doesn’t make sense.
Photo – Phi Phi Island Private Longtail Boat Tour
It’s All About Exclusivity!
The tour route can be completely customised to a specific taste. On a private trip, we don’t have to worry about the needs of other travellers – and you can do it your way! Done your research before-hand and know precisely which locations you want to visit? Sure, that can be arranged. Just want to sit back and let our Captian take you to his favourite spots? – Not a problem!
The private longtail boat is so flexible that guests can even change their minds on where to visit during the trip! By far, one of the biggest perks of a private tour, when compared to a group tour, is that YOU choose how long to stay at each location!
Want to leave a location after 10 minutes? Sure, not a problem! Want to stay on the same beach for 3 hours – Ok! Skip out places you don’t want to visit. Are you scared of the Monkeys? Fine, we don’t have to stop at the Monkey Beach. Think Maya-Bay’s overrated? Ok! Next!
Our captains are ‘fluent’ in English (ok, they speak enough English to remove the language barrier, remember, this is Thailand!). Communication with these guys isn’t an issue, and they are very accommodating and proud to show off their home to foreign visitors.
Avoid The Crowds On A Private Phi Phi Tour
Our private boats can be rented and hit the waters at any time during daylight hours – between 5:30 AM to 7:30 PM. You will catch the sunrise just after 6 AM with the sun setting around 6:30 PM. – The same time all year round. Weird I know, but we’re pretty close to the equator.
Tours timings can be set so that we avoid crowds and other group tours which might be visiting visit from mainland Phuket. 6 AM is an early start – but it is by far the best time to get out & hit the water!
How Much Will a Private Phi Phi Tour Cost?
Okay, I’m interested! But this all sounds somewhat expensive? How much is a private boat charter going to set me back!? Surprisingly, the cost of chartering a Private Longtail boat is not as expensive as you may think.
The price often surprises people; when they realise it can work out as a cheaper option in comparison to taking a group tour! Pricing is influenced by the duration of the trip combined with, the number of passengers. So for larger groups, it is often the cheapest tour option!
The base cost to charter one of our longtail boats starts at 3,000 Thai Baht – this being the cost for two persons spending 3 hours onboard. After that, the charge is 400THB per additional person joining & 400THB per extra hour on the trip- over three hours.
What’s Included On a Private Phi Phi Island Tour?
We do include some basics as standard on a private longtail trip. Such as bottled drinking water & fresh seasonal fruits. The cost of hiring snorkelling equipment is bundled into the price (no deposit needed). And we also carry an ice chest on board – so if you wanted to bring along any beers or soft-drinks, they could be kept chilled during the tour. We are required by law to carry adequate life jackets, which are checked regularly – and well maintained.
How Many People Can Join a Private Tour?
How big are the boats; is there space for us all? Yes – sure! Our boats vary in size, with the smallest holding a maximum of eight passengers and the largest capable of carrying up to 25 guests. If you have an even larger group, then our captains can work in tandem and tail each-other around so both boats will be following the same tour route next to one another.
Fancy a Private Phi Phi Island Speedboat Tour Instead?
Everything sounds good; but.. how about a private Speedboat instead? In Thailand? Don’t you want a Traditional Thai Boat? No? Ok, we can do private Speedboats – if that’s what you want!
When leasing a private speedboat from us, you will have even more flexibility than a Longtail Boat, albeit at a higher cost.
The Speedboats can get around the islands in the quickest possible time, meaning you can jump from one beach to the next in a matter of minutes! It is by far the most stylish way to get around the Phi Phi Archipelago.
To secure a private speedboat, an advanced reservation will always be required as these cannot be similarly found on the streets like you may find a longtail boat captain; the cost of hiring a speedboat starts at 7,000THB, and again prices vary on the duration and amount of passengers joining the trip.
Speedboat operators aim to provide a high level of service and have a tour guide on board to work alongside the captain; also, if booked online in advance, with us – you can avoid paying National Park fees! – Ok, you still have to pay, but the charge is bundled into our charter price, so you don’t need to carry cash. It feels like it’s free, though, right..?
Don’t Worry So Much About Bad Weather On Phi Phi Island
What about poor weather conditions? “I have heard during poor weather my boat trip might get cancelled?” While this is certainly a possibility, it is an improbable scenario; especially; if you’re taking a tour during the peak season, then you have nothing to worry about. There is almost 0% chance that you will be struck with a spell of bad weather this time of year.
However, when it comes into the low season months, there is a slim chance that the sea will be too rough for some captains to head out although this only happens on a handful of days each year, so it’s doubtful you’ll be affected, and you shouldn’t need to alter any travel plans. If we must cancel a trip, it will be done because the sea conditions are unsafe to operate the boats, due to high waves or recommendations from Marine Park Government staff who are continually monitoring weather patterns, tides, and other sea conditions on our behalf.
Information recorded is shared with us so we can make an educated decision & cancel a service when necessary to keep all our guests safe. We don’t like cancelling a guests planned trip – but sometimes it’s better to be safe than sorry. – At Five Star Thailand Tours – Saftey is a top priority! If your tour gets cancelled and you’re unable to travel on an alternative date, rest assured we will refund the full amount paid for the trip. Although most bad weather will pass in less than a day and we can arrange for a guest to reschedule the tour for a later date if that is the preferred option.
The weather forecast in Koh Phi Phi is non-existent, while travellers and visitors to the island swear by their online weather applications – where do these apps get their data? Physical wheater stations. There aren’t currently any recording instruments on Phi Phi Island, so ignore the information given by your weather app as it holds little value on Phi Phi Island. – Don’t base your travel plans on false information!
Photo – Phi Phi Island Private Longtail Boat Tour
Only the Best Captains For Our Private Longtail Tours!
How can I guarantee I will be with a good captain who won’t mess me around? Unfortunately, this is one we hear time and time again, and the bottom line seems to be that people are paying the captains too little, haggling them down to next-to-nothing and still expecting the best service? The captain sitting on the corner with a rotting boat and poor English skills – this guy doesn’t care about providing an excellent service – after all, there is no place to leave a review about him, and, likely, you’ll never cross paths again after the trip is over and after leaving Koh Phi Phi.
If you’re paying a ‘low’ price – you should expect a low service in return. That’s life – please don’t complain to us after choosing this option! Cheapest rarely means the best, and an underpaid captain does not have your best interests as a priority. When booking a tour with us, you can rest assured that all our captains are paid a fair rate in exchange for their service & knowledge of the area. We have an online reputation to protect – and stick by our motto of quality over quantity!