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Phi Phi Islands

Name of an archipelago of six isles, including the well-known Koh Phi Phi Don and Koh Phi Phi Le, i.e. the two foremost islands. The marvelous scenery of the islands includes high limestone cliffs with jutting precipices, surrounded by stunning beaches and an emerald sea that hides banks of coral reefs and vivid marine life. Accommodation is available only on Koh Phi Phi Don, the archipelago's largest island with an area of 28km². The key attraction here is Ban Ton Sai, a vast stretch of white sandy beach curved in on both sides like a double bay and which is flanked by limestone mountains rising from the sea. Laem Thong at the North end of the island has a sea gypsy village and is famed for its underwater beauty. The smaller island of Phi Phi Leh (พีพีเล) covers an area of 6.6km² and is notorious for a bay with a lagoon known as Pileh (ปิเละ - fig.), as well as for its huge and airy Viking Cave (fig.) of which the walls portray primitive paintings of sailing ships similar to those used by the ancient Vikings, hence its name. It is also home to a large number of swallows which nests made of saliva are picked from high bamboo stepladders and sold for human consumption. The island has several attractive beaches, including Maya beach at Maya Bay (fig.), which became famous as the setting for the Hollywood movie ‘The Beach’, and Pi Le Beach, which reaches into a valley and resembles a lagoon-like site. This part of the island is almost completely encircled by steep cliffs and to its South is a small bay called Lo Sa Ma which hides in a fold of a steep rock and provides a good spot for snorkeling. The archipelago which belongs to Krabi province was hit hard by a tsunami on 26 December 2004, killing well over a thousand while many hundreds went missing. In Thai, known as Moo Koh Phi Phi (หมู่เกาะพีพี). See MAP.