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.
5 miles from Ton Sai Bay, Phi Phi Island
Just west of Ao Lohdalum is a smaller, jungle-fringed, bay with an anchorage outside the seaward edge of the coral in 15 metres.
Yongkasem is an ideal overnight stop at any time of the year and can be used in preference to Ao Lohdalum, for more peace and tranquillity. Both Lohdalum and Yongkasem now have sufficient government moorings so that after 5pm most visiting yachts can stay overnight, even in high season.
At the back of Yongkasem beach, lush foliage provides shade for picnics, and is home to a large tribe of crab-eating macaques. The snorkelling is great. Ao Lohdalum itself also has excellent snorkelling and a wonderful swim-through cave on the west headland. Be hyper-aware when going ashore anywhere on this north side by dinghy that it dries for hundreds of metres at low tide.
1.5 miles from Ton Sai Bay, Phi Phi Island
For a lunchtime dive or beach picnic, anchor in 12 metres close to the small sandy beach fringed with coral and nestled into a deep recess in the cliffs. A few hundred metres north, towards Ton Sai beach on the western edge, is a small palm-fringed indentation with a white sand beach.
The locals now call it Monkey Beach. It used to be one of the best places in the world for a picnic, but now the beach is overrun with brazen wild monkeys that will steal your lunch. With the increase of day visitors it’s become its own tourist attraction and speedboats drop in at high tide to feed the mischievous troop ashore.
3 miles from Ton Sai Bay, Phi Phi Island
In the southwest monsoon season, a reasonable anchorage is available in 11 metres off a sandy beach. Enjoy some nice snorkelling and a restful night without the crowds.
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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