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Pileh Lagoon Thailand: Guide to Phi Phi Leh

Pileh Lagoon Thailand: Guide to Phi Phi Leh

Olly Gaspar

By Olly Gaspar, full-time traveler for 6 years. I visit every place I write about & share real tips, photos, & advice from my trips.

A complete up-to-date guide for visiting the incredible Pileh Lagoon on Phi Phi Leh Island in Thailand.

Visiting the amazing Phi Phi Leh island on a boat tour through the amazing Andaman Sea? Don’t miss Pileh Lagoon, referred to as one of the best places to visit in the famous Phi Phi Islands!

With crystal-clear turquoise waters and towering limestone cliffs and just a 20-minute boat trip from Tonsai Pier on (Phi Phi Don) the lagoon is easily one of the most beautiful places in Southern Thailand– and the best place for swimming now that you can’t at Maya Bay!

In this blog post, I will outline everything you need to know about visiting the Pileh Lagoon, from how to get there from Phuket, Krabi, or Phi Phi Don, to what to expect once you arrive, and some photos and tips to inspire your Phi Phi Island tour.

Pileh lagoon, thailand
One of the most beautiful spots in Thailand

Where in Thailand is the Pileh Lagoon?

Pileh Lagoon (also written as Pi Leh Lagoon) can be found on Phi Phi Leh Island, in the Andaman Sea. Phi Phi Leh is one of the famous Phi Phi Islands, a group of six islands that are part of Thailand's Krabi Province. Phi Phi Leh is located just a short boat ride south of the more populated Phi Phi Don Island.

The island is better known for the famous Maya Bay, a beautiful beach with coral reefs popularized by the Leonardo DiCaprio film "The Beach". However, the Pileh Lagoon is situated on the opposite, northwest side of Phi Phi Leh and is accessible via a narrow entrance surrounded by towering limestone cliffs.

The Phi Phi Leh lagoon is part of the Phi Phi Islands National Park, one of the best places to explore on a boat tour in Southern Island. This park is known for its rich biodiversity, amazingly clear waters, and jungle-covered green cliffs rising sharply from the depths.

Infographic map showing the location of pileh lagoon in koh phi phi leh, thailand

How to Get to Phileh Bay Lagoon & Phi Phi Leh Island

Since you can't stay on Koh Phi Phi Leh, the only way to reach the lagoon is by taking a boat trip. As you might expect, there are hundreds of different options, each varying greatly in price, reliability, & quality.

Below you'll find the best Phi Phi Islands boat trips visiting the Pileh Lagoon from Phuket, Krabi, or Phi Phi Don. Note these are group tours to save money. But there are also private tours available.

Pileh Lagoon from Krabi

Travelers staying in the Krabi Province are in luck because there is an excellent speedboat tour available from Railay Beach or Ao Nang, visiting the Phi Phi Islands AND the popular 4 islands in a single day.

This is the exact tour that I did, and I highly recommend it because it is an early start at 6:00 AM, meaning we were the first people at Maya Bay. If you've seen the "Instagram vs Reality" clips, you'll know that Maya Bay gets incredibly busy!

Speed boats at pileh lagoon
Boats in Phileh Lagoon

Pileh Lagoon from Phuket

The most convenient way to get to Phi Phi Leh for travelers staying in the popular tourist areas of Phuket including Phuket Town, Patong, Bang Tao Beach, or Rawai Beach is to book a speedboat tour Top Pick around the Phi Phi Islands.

A speedboat ride is a much better option than traditional longtail boats for traveling to the Phi Phi Islands from Phuket since it really is quite far.

This tour includes hotel pickup, lunch, snorkeling equipment, and visits all the top attractions including:

  • Maya Bay
  • Pileh Lagoon
  • Monkey Beach
  • Ko Phi Phi Don
  • Viking Cave
  • Bamboo Island
  • Khai Nok Island

Alternatively, you find a ferry transfer from Rassada Pier to the Phi Phi Islands. Once on the islands, you'll need to take a long-tail boat to reach Pileh Bay.

Pileh lagoon boat
Longtail Boat in Pileh Lagoon

Longtail Boat Trip from Phi Phi Don Island

To reach Pileh Lagoon from Phi Phi Don, visitors can take a longtail boat from the Tonsai Pier.

You can either walk down and negotiate a price, or save the hassle and book a private tour for an entire day trip out exploring the Phi Phi Islands.

The boat trip to Pileh Lagoon takes approximately 20 minutes from Tonsai Pier.

Thai longtail boats at phi phi islands

National Park Fees

Visitors to the Mu Ko Phi Phi Islands National Park are required to pay an entrance fee. This is a conservation fee helping to protect the islands.

This fee costs 400 Thai Baht per person for foreign adults and 200 baht for children under 120cm.

Thai citizens only pay a reduced fee of 40 baht for adults and 20 baht for kids. The fee can be paid at the park entrance but most tour operators will collect this in the morning. Just make sure to get your receipt for proof of payment!

The Phi Phi Islands National Park fee is valid for a one-day visit and covers access to all areas of the park, including beaches, viewpoints, and hiking trails like the Dragon Crest Mountain on the mainland.

Did you know? While Thailand has historically done a bad job at conserving its national parks, the tides seem to have changed! Due to the new e-ticketing system, the parks now see one million baht per day pouring into conservation. As a result, there are now much stricter rules and the Thai government even closed the popular Maya Bay for swimming! However, you can still visit this beach to take photos.

Phi phi leh island, thailand
Aerial view over Pileh Lagoon, Thailand

What to Expect at Pileh Lagoon

The Pileh Lagoon is only accessible by boat, entering through a narrow entrance from the north. This opening is between two towering limestone cliffs that create a natural gateway to the lagoon.

As you enter, you'll notice the turquoise waters deepening to a deeper shade of emerald, with the rounding cliffs creating a natural amphitheater. When I visited, there were many small boats and longtails sharing the lagoon.

However, since it is quite large, there is plenty of space to find a secluded spot in the bay to enjoy some free time.

Pileh lagoon aerial photo
Aerial view of Pileh Lagoon with tour boats

Swimming in the Lagoon

The green waters of Pileh Lagoon are very deep, making it perfect for jumping off the boat and swimming. Also, luckily for us, our speed boat driver found a secluded spot away from all the long tail boat tours.

This is where we spent about an hour swimming and enjoying the refreshing emerald water.

Boats and swimmers at pileh lagoon, koh phi phi leh, thailand

Since the water is very deep in the lagoon, don't expect to see any coral reefs as you might find in the more shallow waters at Maya Bay. During high tide, I recommend leaving the snorkel and mask in the boat. Just enjoy swimming as it's one of the best things to do at the lagoon– save the snorkeling for other beaches on the day tour.

Pileh lagoon thailand 2
Longtail boat at phi phi islands
Girl on the krabi monkey trail

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Beaches and Other Attractions Nearby

Aside from Pileh Lagoon, there are other popular attractions and fun things to do in the Phi Phi Islands. These include:

  • Maya Bay - A stunning natural bay surrounded by massive limestone cliffs and crystal-clear waters, made famous by the movie "The Beach". Note you can't swim at Maya Bay anymore for conservation reasons.
  • Phi Phi Island Viking Cave - an ancient limestone cave system on Phi Phi Leh Island. This cave is known for intricate wall paintings but tourists can no longer enter since thousands of swallows nest here, and locals collect their nests for sale in the lucrative birds nest soup business.
  • Famous Monkey Bay - a secluded beach accessible only by boat, located on Phi Phi Don Island, known for its abundance of monkeys. This can be a popular spot since many excursion boats visit to see the monkeys on the beach. Be warned these monkeys like to steal things and there have been multiple reports of people being bitten for getting too close!
Monkey beach, thailand
Maya bay, thailand
White sands and a long beach at Maya Bay, Thailand
Swimming at phi phi islands

Where to Stay in the Phi Phi Islands

Phi Phi Leh Island is reserved as a national park area, and tourists can only stay on the nearby Phi Phi Don. Luckily, there are some excellent hotel, resort, and hostel options here, making it one of the best islands to base yourself on when traveling to Southern Thailand.

Below are the top three accommodation picks for each budget on Phi Phi Don Island.

Phi phi island accommodation at zeavola resort

1. Zeavola Resort Luxury

The ultimate jungle retreat choice. This 5-star luxury resort is surrounded by nature and situated on the beach with its dive center.

Phi phi the beach resort views from the ocean, thailand

2. Phi Phi The Beach Mid-Range

Immaculate bungalow huts with sea views. Known for its incredible white sand beach & epic snorkeling nearby. Great price with free transfers to the pier.

Dorm room layout at @the pier 519 hostel, phi phi

3. @The Pier 519 Budget

The best hostel with a welcoming atmosphere & comfortable beds. Located in Tonsai town center, just 200m from the beach. Great place to meet other backpackers.

Tips for Visiting Pileh Lagoon

For those of you visiting Thailand's Pileh Lagoon for the first time, below are some tips to help make your trip more enjoyable.

  1. Start early - The best time to visit Pileh Lagoon is in the early morning when the sun is not too high, the water is calm, and there are fewer visitors. This is why booking an early bird boat tour is the best option.
  2. Bring a waterproof bag - A dry bag is one of the best investments you can make when going island hopping in Thailand. These are really affordable and will keep your valuables safe and dry.
  3. Plan ahead - The best time to visit Thailand and the Pileh Lagoon is during the dry months of November to March (peak season). I recommend avoiding the Andaman Sea deep in the monsoon season (June to October), as the sea can be rough and boats may not be allowed to enter the lagoon.
  4. Wear reef-safe sunscreen - Don't use harmful sun tan lotions in the Pileh Lagoon. The reason is that this is a fragile ecosystem with many coral reefs surrounding it. Do the right thing and invest in reef-safe sunscreen.
Speed boats at pileh lagoon

Thailand Tours

Do you have more time to explore Thailand? Check out more Thailand tour guides below.

FAQ About Visiting Pileh Lagoon

When is the best time to visit Pileh Lagoon?

The ideal time is during the dry season from November to March. Early morning visits are recommended to avoid crowds and experience the lagoon at its most serene. Check with different tour companies as many leave at different times in the morning.

What should I bring to Pileh Lagoon?

Essential items include reef-safe sunscreen, a waterproof bag to protect valuables, sunglasses, quick-dry towel, plenty of water, and a camera. Wearing a life jacket is also advisable for safety while swimming.

Can I swim in Pileh Lagoon?

Yes, swimming in Pileh Lagoon is a highlight due to its deep, emerald waters. However, the lagoon is best enjoyed during high tide without snorkeling gear, as there are no shallow coral reefs to explore.

Are there any nearby attractions I should also visit?

Yes, apart from Pileh Lagoon, the Phi Phi Islands offer several attractions like Maya Bay, Monkey Beach, and Viking Cave. Tours generally visit these locations on the day however it is best to check with the tour provider that you choose to make sure.

Is there an entrance fee for Pileh Lagoon?

Yes, visitors to the Mu Ko Phi Phi Islands National Park, which includes Pileh Lagoon, must pay an entrance fee of 400 Thai Baht for foreign adults and 200 Baht for children under 120cm. Thai citizens pay a reduced fee.

What's the best way to get to Pileh Lagoon from Phuket or Krabi?

The best way to get to Pileh Lagoon from Phuket or Krabi is via a speedboat tour, which includes other attractions and typically offers hotel pickup, lunch, and snorkeling gear. From Phuket, it's especially recommended due to the distance.

Phi phi leh island, thailand

More Thailand Travel & Adventure Guides

I hope that you've enjoyed this comprehensive guide to visiting the Pileh Lagoon in Thailand. Don't miss my other useful guides below for more inspiration on planning your trip to Thailand!

Hidden beach, railay beach

Plan Your Krabi Accommodation

Still in the planning stages of your trip? Perhaps you're booking on the fly. The below accommodation guides will help you plan where to stay in Thailand.

Pinterest pin for the complete guide to pileh lagoon in thailand, phi phi
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I'm Olly Gaspar, adventure traveler from Australia. I’ve spent the last six years traveling the world full-time, sharing my first-hand experiences & photography in over 700 travel guides on We Seek Travel. I visit every destination I write about to bring you unique travel itineraries, epic hiking routes, fun tour ideas, travel & photography gear ideas, & interesting places to stay.

I only make genuine, worthwhile recommendations based on my experience, expertise, & research. If you buy through my links, I may get a commission, supporting this website at no extra cost to you. Read my Publishing Ethics Statement.