The morning was my favourite time of day during my stay at Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort in Thailand. There was something magical about waking up in the heart of a village, nestled in nature. The aquamarine waters of the Andaman Sea were just footsteps from my bungalow and some of the world’s most famous beaches a short boat ride away. Phi Phi is a playground for explorers and the perfect way to whet my appetite for the water sports was the day I went snorkelling Phi Phi style.
Go Snorkelling Phi Phi Style
One morning stands out as my most memorable at Phi Phi Island Village. At first light, I wandered down to my usual breakfast spot to watch the sunrise. Fuelled up for the day, I then joined the Early Bird Tour (7.30 -11.30am). Our group was a great mix of couples, singles and men and women of all ages. There were about 15 of us in total. After grabbing our flippers and snorkels, we squeezed into a trailer attached to a tractor. The tide at Phi Phi is at its highest at about lunchtime, that means the tractor transports guests out to their boats in the morning.
Once in the speedboat, we made our way out to Maya Bay, the main beach of Phi Phi Leh Island, where The Beach was filmed. As the driver cut the engine and we drifted in the shallows, the limestone karsts rose up, enveloping us to each side. The colours were much more vibrant in person than on the postcards I’d seen. I stepped out of the boat with a splash, the warmth of the crystal clear water took me by surprise. As I was wading into shore slowly, a handful of long boats and other speed boats began to pull up next to ours. I could see why this was an early bird tour; it was a popular spot. I took a wander to each end of the beach, taking photos with the other tourists and found a spot in the morning sun, midway up the stretch of sand. I propped on my elbows and just enjoyed the view back out towards the sea. Others swam and posed for pictures and giggled among themselves. Despite the growing crowd, it was a peaceful scene in an idyllic setting. After an hour of relaxing, we boarded the boat again and pulled in further out in the bay to our first snorkelling spot.
We went on to visit the Viking Cave and Ao Ling (Monkey Beach), but the highlight of the day for me was swimming in Pileh Lagoon. By the time we got to the lagoon, there were a number of other boats slowly sliding on the surface of the water through the bay’s shallow entrance. The skill of the crew was incredible. Once we got into the main lagoon, we found our own private spot for a dip. As soon as we had pulled up, I was leaping off the front of the boat, coaxing others to follow. The water was warm and an incredible greeny blue. I floated on my back taking in the beauty of the rock walls rising around us coloured by lush green foliage.
The half-day tour cost THB 2200 (about $AUD80) and included the trip, guides and snacks. It was well worth it. I packed sunscreen, sunglasses, a towel, a hat and my GoPro with waterproof housing and a 3-Way for snorkelling.
The resort Recreation Centre can arrange a number of other water activities too, from scuba diving to Big Game fishing, sea kayaking and private long tail boat adventures for couples and groups.
For a little culture, hire a long tail boat in the evening and explore Tonsai Village, on the southern side of Koh Phi Phi. The long tail boats are owned and operated by the Phi Phi people, so you will be helping the locals out and they can give you their personal tips for sightseeing around the island. Long tail boat hire starts at about THB 800 ($AUD30) and the resort books boats for guests. In Tonsai, shop at the markets, enjoy live music and grab some dinner at one of the cute restaurants in the village.
How to Stay Fit at Phi Phi Island Village
The Fitness Centre at Phi Phi Island Village is basic but generously sized and a good spot to get in a workout in the comfort of the air conditioning. There are cross trainers, treadmills, a bike, a weights bench, free weights, a weighted machine and plenty of room for a good high-intensity workout which is what I stuck to during my stay. The gym is located right on the beach and next to the resort’s infinity pool so the view from the cardio equipment, in particular, was picture perfect. The beach is also a great place to train during your time at Phi Phi Island Village and there are a number of local walks and hikes. The Recreation Centre can help guests with routes and guides.
Relaxation at Phi Phi Village
There are two pools at Phi Phi Island Village; one at either end of the resort. I spent most of my pool time at the newest pool; an infinity pool closest to the Deluxe Garden Bungalows, where I was staying. The second, larger pool is ideal for families staying in the Family Bungalows at the other end of the village. Of course, there are plenty of places in between to settle into the sand or a sun chair or swing in a hammock strung between a couple of coconut palms.
For a truly relaxing break, wander up at Wana Spa on the hill for a Signature Massage. I sat on the deck with a cool towel and welcome drink and took in the panoramic view of the bay while I waited. The treatment rooms enjoy that same view of the beach. I opted for a 55-minute massage which was wonderful. I can only imagine what their Honeymoon Packages would be like.
The Fit Traveller was a guest of Phi Phi Island Village for this stay. As always, the opinions, images and words are authentically our own.
Skye is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Fit Traveller. She is a journalist, writer, photographer, intrepid traveller and a former personal trainer with a passion for helping others reach optimal health. As a TV journalist and producer, Skye has worked for household names such as 60 Minutes, Sunrise, TODAY and Nine News. She has also written for Women’s Health, Fodor’s Travel and Yahoo7 Travel, among many others.
Skye created The Fit Traveller as a beautiful online space and community where people feel inspired to escape the desk to move and explore more.
Equally comfortable in a 5-star resort or hiking a far-off mountain, Skye loves the unexpected and enriching life experiences that each trip brings and can often be found in a backstreet chatting to locals with her camera in hand.
Skye is based in Sydney, working to master the balance between motherhood and her insatiable appetite for adventure.