Ko Phi Phi Islands – Ko Phi Phi Ley
Many people have heard of the Ko Phi Phi islands but few are prepared for the breathtaking beauty that awaits them. Ko Phi Phi offers some of the best diving in the Andaman Sea.
The Phi Phi archipelago is one of the most dramatically beautiful locations in the world. The scenery from the surface is absolutely stunning; colossal emerald green monoliths rising straight up out of the sea to heights of more than 500 meters. Underwater, nature has sculpted canyons, caves and swim-throughs for divers in the soft limestone rock. Uninhabited Ko Phi Phi Ley is the second largest island of the Phi Phi chain, and is made up of a ring of steep mountains surrounding two shallow bays, one of which is Maya bay where the movie “The Beach” was shot in 2000. This is a major tourist destination for many, but there is great diving to be had all around the island also. Some of the best dive sites are listed here:
Turtle Rock/Turtle Wall
This dive site, just around the north west corner of Maya Bay, is characterised by a small rock by the wall that looks like a turtle. Underneath the waves a shallow rocky plateau extends out from the base of the cliff with mainly hard corals, gradually sloping down to the seabed around 15-20 metres/50-65 feet below. This area is excellent for turtle sightings, and that are quite unfazed by the presence of divers as they graze on algae and soft coral polyps. On the seabed you can expect to find Kuhl’s Stingrays or maybe even the occasional Leopard Shark, resting on the sand
A new wreck has been purposely sunk on the west coast, close to Maya Bay, the HTMS Kletkaew. This old Thai Navy supply vessel was sunk on 19th March 2014, and sits at a depth of between 15-18 metres/50-60 feet. Large holes were cut in the hull to assist with the sinking, which now serve as access holes for Wreck Specialty Certified Divers to enter the interior. The wreck is a large vessel, 47 metres/154 feet long.
Further north along the west face of Ko Phi Phi Ley is an area known as Palong Wall. The topography is similar to Turtle Wall, with a broad, shallow plateau just a few metres beneath the waves at the cliff’s base. This area is a favourite hunting ground for Black Tip Reef Sharks, and depending on your luck, it is sometimes possible to see dozens of them at once. Palong Wall has more than just sharks to offer though, there are creatures such as the upside-down Razorfish & Scorpion fish if you keep your eyes peeled.
This site is on the east side of Ko Phi Phi Ley. The cave is not actually underwater, but you see from one side of the island to the other through it. The bottom composition is mainly sand that slopes gently away from the shore. If you head directly out from the beach you will come to an artificial reef made of concrete cubes that are stacked up on top of each other, forming distinctive ‘pyramids’ underwater. These range from depths of 12-18 metres/40-60 feet. The structures are a haven for marine life, with a huge variety of species to be seen here – Small Tooth Emperors, Star Puffers, One Spot Snapper, Clown fish and much more.
- Distance from Phuket: 50 km (31 miles)
- Boat Trip average time: 3 hours
- Depth: 3-25 metres (10-82 feet)
- Visibility: Fair to excellent
- Current: slight to moderate
Ideal for: Nitrox, Under Water photography, Under Water Naturalist, AWARE Fish ID, Search & Recovery Diver