Ko Phi Phi Lee

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Island landscape

Ko Phi Phi Lee or Ko Phi Phi Ley or Ko Phi Phi Leh (Thai: เกาะพีพีเล, rtgsKo Phi Phi Le, pronounced [kɔ̀ʔ pʰīː pʰīː lēː]) is an island of the Phi Phi archipelago, in the Andaman Sea. It is part of Krabi Province of Thailand.


Ko Phi Phi Lee is the second largest island of the archipelago, the largest one being Ko Phi Phi Don. The island consists of a ring of steep limestone hills surrounding two shallow bays, Maya Bay and Loh Samah. Maya Bay cannot be accessed directly from the sea via boat, due to shallow waters and coral. Therefore, boats must anchor at the deeper Loh Samah, requiring people to walk through a short section of rocks and jungle to reach Maya Bay itself. There is also one large shallow fjord like inlet called Pi Ley with a small coral reef at the entrance.


Maya Bay, Krabi

Maya Bay is popular for diving, and has become even more popular after the 2000 movie The Beach was filmed there. According to the Lonely Planet's guidebook Thailand, the 2004 tsunami dramatically improved the look of Maya Bay's beachfront. The high waves had cleaned up the beach and removed all the landscaping the Fox production team had added.

The main dive sites are at Loh Samah, Maya Bay entrance and Palong Bay, and are often combined with diving at Ko Bida Noi, a rocky outcrop some 500 meters south of Loh Samah.

Filming The Beach[edit]

Maya Bay, Krabi

Controversy arose during the making of the film The Beach due to 20th Century Fox bulldozing and landscaping the natural beach setting of Ko Phi Phi Lee to make it more "paradise-like". The production altered some sand dunes and cleared some coconut trees and grass to widen the beach. Fox set aside a fund to reconstruct and return the beach to its natural state. Nevertheless, lawsuits were filed as many believed the damage to the ecosystem is permanent and restoration attempts failed.

The lawsuits dragged on for years. In 2006, Thailand's supreme court upheld an appeal court ruling that the filming had harmed the environment and ordered that damage assessments be made. Defendants in the case included 20th Century Fox and some Thai government officials.[1]

The island before and after[edit]

Boats in the bay of the island
Longtail Boat, Maya Bay, Krabi
Speedboats, Maya Bay, Krabi

Prior to 2004, the island had dodged development. It is now part of Hat Noppharat Thara–Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park[2] and has since begun to see the beginnings of development and some clearing of natural plant life. There are plans to build bungalows on the island. Since 2007, there has been a visitor entry fee of 200 baht per person. There are now permanent basic facilities on the island, toilets, a snack bar, and camping sites.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "SUPREME COURT RULING: Filming 'damaged beach'". The Nation. 2006-12-01. Retrieved 15 June 2015. 
  2. ^ "Hat Noppharat Thara - Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park". Department of National Parks (DNP) Thailand. Retrieved 15 June 2015. 

External links[edit]