Discover Pileh Lagoon on Phi Phi Leh Island, Thailand. Find the best boat tour and transfer options, with a detailed account of what to expect on your trip!
Visiting the amazing Phi Phi Leh island on a boat tour through the amazing Andaman Sea? Make sure not to miss Pileh Lagoon, one of the best places in the famous Phi Phi Islands!
With crystal-clear turquoise waters and towering limestone cliffs, 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.
- Where in Thailand is the Pileh Lagoon?
- How to Get to Phileh Bay Lagoon & Phi Phi Leh Island
- What to Expect at Pileh Lagoon
- Tips for Visiting Pileh Lagoon
- More Thailand Travel & Adventure Guides
I'm Olly, a full-time traveler for the past 5 years. I visit every destination I write about & handpick all recommendations.
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.
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!
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.
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.
National Park Fees
Visitors to the Mu Ko Phi Ph 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.
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.
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.
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.
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Beaches and Other Attractions Nearby
Aside from Pileh Lagoon, there are other popular attractions and beautiful places to visit at the Koh 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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 much fewer visitors. This is why booking an early bird boat tour is the best option.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 sun block.
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!