26 miles from Ao Chalong, Phuket
Ton Sai Bay is secure in both seasons. The anchorage is at the head of the bay, on the west side, avoiding the regular longtail boat and ferry traffic heading for the jetty on the east side. Don’t attempt to approach the jetty if you value your topsides.
Entering the bay, it’s wise to keep to the west since the water is deep and the coral clearly visible. The drying rock, shown on the Admiralty and Thai charts as lying just to the east of the southwest headland forming the bay, does not exist. It is a shallow patch about 4 metres deep at extreme low tide. The best anchorage is on sand in about 10-12 metres, close enough to the fringing reef to be able to swim from the boat.
The rebuilt village is at the east end of the narrow sand isthmus connecting Phi Phi Don’s two lobes. Bungalows and restaurants extend along the bay’s northeastern side almost to the headland. There’s a new concrete promenade all the way along the beach, so the only place for your dinghy is at the water pier in front of the hospital, towards the western end of the beach. High tide depth at the fresh water pontoon is 2.8 metres. If approaching to fill your water tanks keep your fenders down very low and approach bow to the beach. It can get really busy with day-tripper boats filling up so be patient. It can cost up to 1,000 baht per cubic metre.
Said to be one of the three most beautiful islands in the world, Phi Phi Don is not as idyllic as it once was. The development and the huge numbers of day trippers make the island anchorages very crowded most of the time.
It’s not easy to find swinging room amongst the permanent moorings and dive boats that come and go at all hours. Don’t pick up a mooring as they’re all ‘private’ (even if they look like government buoys) and incidents of aggressive behaviour have been reported. Best to arrive around end of daylight hours and anchor away from the private moorings. It’s still the best spot in the region for a great night ashore. Use a bright torch for night dinghy rides as floating lines abound and there are hordes of unlit longtails and speedboats that can neither see nor hear you. Best to send a shore party in early morning to raid the bakeries and ice factory so you can get out before it gets chaotic.
Dive schools operate from the beach, and there are lots of opportunities for excursions in longtail boats to the most spectacular hongs and inlets, which are found on both islands. Ton Sai Bay is where to anchor if you want the night life ashore.
While every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained in this book is accurate, the charts of anchorages are based on personal experience and satellite imagery and are intended as a guide only. They should not be used for navigation. Please refer to Official Hydrographic Charts of the respective countries.
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