Ko Phi Phi Don is the main island of Thailand’s Phi Phi Islands. It’s known for its white sand beaches and incredible sunset views across the Indian Ocean. Phi Phi Don is a non-volcanic island largely made of limestone, and is almost separated into two islands, but a strand of flat land connects them. On this strand lies the largest settlement on the island, as well as most of the resorts.
In late 2004, a tsunami struck the island, leaving over 1,000 islanders and tourists dead and nearly all the infrastructures were destroyed. It took more than a year to rebuild the island's infrastructure and habitation. Today, Phi Phi Don is again able to welcome tourists, who flock by the hundreds to see the beautiful island views.
Not only is the main island stunning, but the surrounding islands also play host to tourists. Ko Phi Phi Le, for example, is the island just south of Ko Phi Phi Don. It contains a spot not very well known until the 2000 film "The Beach" came into theaters. The beach in which this movie was filmed on is called "Maya Bay Beach" and was, up until recently, open to the public. In March 2018, government officials stated the beach would be closed for four months to allow it to recover from environmental damage due to excessive visitor numbers, but in October 2018, they announced the beach would be closed indefinitely. This ultimately lead to us not being able to visit the beach on our trip to the Phi Phi Islands.
We did, however, enjoy relaxing and snorkeling at our resort on Long Beach. Since you have to take a long boat to get to Long Beach and our resort, the beach was not overly crowded. I swam in the ocean for the first time, snorkeled for the first time and collected scores of fantastic sea shells from the beach shore. We ended the night watching the colorful sunset over the Indian Ocean and going to sleep in our bungalow by the ocean.