Although Krabi Town is essentially a coastal town, the town itself it is not one of Thailand’s beach destinations. This popular gateway town is better known for its temples and for being located close to the idyllic Phi Phi islands. While you can travel to Krabi by airplane you unfortunately cannot fly to Phi Phi as there’s no airport on this archipelago of six small islands, leaving access by boat the only option. Even so, Ko Phi Phi is easily accessible by ferry from Krabi, less than 50 kilometers away, and ferries are relatively fast, usually taking between 90 and 105 minutes. If you’ve caught a flight down to Krabi, the ferry terminal is about 30 minutes’ drive from Krabi Airport.
Ferries used to depart from Krabi to Phi Phi from a terminal right in the center of the town, however, there is now a new passenger port about 3 kilometers south from the town center. It’s officially named Klong Jilad Pier but is also known more simply as Phi Phi Island Pier. A free taxi transfer to the pier from the ticket office in the center of town should be included in your ticket price so do inquire before spending additional money on a taxi yourself. Read on for more information on the ferries from Krabi to Phi Phi, as well as the alternative: a speedboat tour.
Ferry from Krabi to Phi Phi
Catching the ferry from Krabi to Phi Phi is convenient and affordable. As mentioned above, ferries depart from the newly built passenger pier to the south of the town, and they leave four times per day, making it fairly easy to connect with a ferry if you’re coming to Krabi from elsewhere in Thailand. At the time of writing, ferry departure times from Krabi’s Klong Jilad Pier are 9am, 10.30am, 1.30pm, and 3pm. The only exception is that the 3pm ferry actually departs at 4pm on Fridays.
The ferry journey is approximately 1.5 hours and you’ll arrive at the Tonsai Pier on Ko Phi Phi Don, the largest of the Phi Phi Islands. From here it’s just a short walk to many different places to stay or dine.
Ferries have the advantage of being a very affordable way to travel from Krabi to Phi Phi, and, if you book your tickets in advance you’ll get an additional saving of a few hundred baht off the advertised rate from the ferry office. Even at the standard price you’re only looking at around 450 baht though with a reduction you could probably get as much as 100 baht off the price of each ticket.
Speedboat from Krabi to Phi Phi
When you’re not traveling on such a tight budget, a speedboat tour is a fun and exciting way to see the sights. Speedboats are considerably more expensive than the ferries but if you buy an all-inclusive tour they can be a great way to see a larger area and more islands within a shorter timescale. So, if you’re staying in Krabi and you just want to head out to the Phi Phi Islands for a day-trip, consider the speedboat tour.
As an all-inclusive package, the speedboat tour from Krabi to Phi Phi does include a lot for the price of the ticket, so, all things considered, it can be seen as quite good value if you’re not having to watch your pennies. However, do be aware that you will have to pay an extra National Park fee which is collected by the park ranger and cannot be included in the all-inclusive price. The tour company will be able to provide you with the most up-to-date information on this at the time you book your tickets.
So, apart from the National Park fees the ticket price will likely include transfers to and from your hotel, lunch, fruit and water, a mask and snorkel, lifejacket, a tour guide for the duration of the trip, and insurance. This full day tour will take you to all the major sights of the Phi Phi Islands, giving you time for lunch (included in the price), and also time for relaxing on a beach or two and/or snorkeling.
While lots of fun, speedboat tours are not recommended for everyone. If you’re prone to sea sickness the more stable ferry might be a better option for you, and if you have back problems, the jarring that can be experienced on more choppy waters could also pose a problem.