Can anyone tell me what the visibility's like for snorkelling on Phi Phi in mid-late June? We're hoping to spend a few days on the beach at the end of our holiday and Phi Phi seems to tick all of the boxes. We want somewhere relatively quiet but not completely isolated, as we'll have a 4yr old in tow.
I've tried looking on the forums and the general consensus is that the southern gulf islands would be drier at that time of year, but that the waters are siltier. (I was also considering Ko Tao, but would prefer Phi Phi as we could fly BKK - Phuket and save about a day & a half's travelling.)
We don't mind a bit of rain (I'm assuming it's just short sharp showers like elsewhere in Thailand rather than all day rain & grey skies) but we do want to do a bit of snorkelling, so just wanted to check whether the weather was likely to affect visibility for snorkelling, or make the seas too rough to snorkel in.
#1 ZPeppiatt has been a member since 12/4/2010. Posts: 38
Normally wet season on Phi Phi sees plenty enough sunshine for a good beach holiday. I'm a weather nerd and I'm back there for a few days this June.
Best snorkelling off the beach is on the laid back less visited East Coast which also has the advantage of being sheltered from wet season winds on blustier days.
My experience is that the water IS less clear than dry season but still okay for snorkelling. Anyway, this is the area all the commercial snorkel trip boats from Krabi, Phuket and Phi Phi itself seem to concentrate at in wet season. Note this does not mean you will be crowded out - they seem to do their thing late morning and then disappear somewhere for the big luch.
One problem with the east coast is that it's very quiet unless you can afford the midrange and better Laem Tong precint which has a group of similar hotels plus a small local fishing village.
Maybe Long Beach on the south coast would be an alternative. Accom is in all price ranges, pretty good access to town. Fairly good snorkelling off the beach here too but less sheltered when the wind gets up (about 20% of days in my experience). Long Beach gets real crowded in high and shoulder seasons but is more relaxed in low season.
There is no river or creek flows into the sea at Long Beach so visibiliy should not suffer from this, but choppier wave conditions on windy days could stir things up in and near shallower water.
Thanks for the response - you certainly know your beaches!
We had Ao Toh Koh in mind as a possible base - do you think this would be a little *too* quiet? We're not exactly going to be partying all night with a 4yr old, but obviously it would be nice to go out for a couple of drinks or have a choice of restaurants at least a couple of times. I was budgetting for about 600-800b per night, but could probably go a bit higher if necessary/too good a bargain to resist. (It will be the end of the holiday, after all!)
Is it possible to get to from Ao Toh Koh to Long Beach/Ton Sai on foot or would we have to rely on longtails to access other parts of the island?
Thanks again - great blog, by the way - really useful and informative.
#3 ZPeppiatt has been a member since 12/4/2010. Posts: 38
I really like Toh Koh Resort - stayed there in low season and it wasn't too quiet due to the mix of visitors. But it is the only place on the beach.
You can walk over to town, but it is a major uphill slog out of Ao Toh Koh and on return, out of town. Plus in low season a good deal of the walk can be sloppy underfoot if it has been raining. I'd be looking at an hour plus each way and your 4yo will hate you.
Best way to town is to hook a discount ride in the resort boat when they have to transport guests to/from the ferry.
You can walk to Long Beach by the upland route but the way is pretty complicated and took me a long time to work out.
You can also walk along the rocks to Loh Modee and then over the saddle to Long Beach in abt 25 minutes - but the rock hopping gets real tricky over abt half tide, impossible near highest tide.
Probably the easiest way to get some variety from Ao Toh Koh is to walk the 10 minutes or so along the rocks at less than 3/4 tide to Rantee. Relax Bay is another 10 minutes.
You can also do these by a steep steep ^ shaped climb-descent of the escarpment, but you would be looking at 4o minutes+.
I think Tezza has pretty much covered it all, but just another option you may like to consider and that is behind the Phi Phi Island Village Resort, in the direction of Lana Bay, there are six newly built simple cottages, which for 1200 baht per night, can be rented from local Thai people.
During our last visit in February, we visited Lana Bay twice and on each occassion it was pretty near deserted......and it is a stunning bay.
We have visited in July, and found visibility for snorkelling absolutely fine.