How To Do a Private Longtail Boat Tour on Phi Phi Island

How To Do a Private Longtail Boat Tour on Phi Phi Island

Phi Phi Island has always been there, and the Longtail Boats have been there since at least the 1960’s. So the concept of hiring a boat with a captain to show you around the Phi Phi Islands is nothing new.

And if you want to see the best spots in Phi Phi, trust me, you’re going to need a boat to get there!

So what is actually new about the Private Boat Experience in Koh Phi Phi. We booked a Trip through Five Star Thailand Tours to see what all the buzz was about.

I am going to share all the details about how you can do this trip too. Which, by the way, is amazing. And as a disclaimer we were not sponsored to write this, all the opinions are my own.

What is the Private Longtail Tour in Phi Phi

To really understand the Phi Phi Islands you need to imagine time before tourism. Koh Phi Phi was a tropical paradise, a group of small islands in the Andaman Sea. There was nothing there, the entire island was one big beach, lined with coconut trees. Fishermen would reside here in hammocks strung from the trees.

After the release of the movie, The Beach, in the year 1999. The secret about Phi Phi was out, and the world saw how beautiful the islands were. Tourists began to travel to the islands, and those boat captains who used to rely on the natural resources for survival adapted and began charging to take tourists on their boat instead.

This, to me, is what gives Phi Phi Island its charm. The long-tail boats and the chilled out pace of life.

Yes, nowadays, you can just book a speedboat tour, and there are thousands of operators all with different prices and packages to choose from. And while a speedboat might sound luxurious at first, it isn’t iconic to the Islands. Luxury can be interpreted differently by different people. For some, luxury is having the most pillows and a bottle of wine. For me, luxury is the most sought after, the most desirable and the most enjoyable experience.

Luckily there is still one tour company on Phi Phi Island that operates these old-school authentic tours, so even though it might be 40 years too late to experience Phi Phi Island when it was a fisherman's rest. Five Star Thailand still run authentic tour experiences using the classic long-tail boats.

A Private Tour of Phi Phi Island (And a Private Guide)

Did I mention all of these tours are on a private basis too!

We had an entire long-tail boat to ourselves, along with a skipper and a local guide.

In fact that is the part which really made it a unique experience to take a private tour. We have done group tours, similar to this in many parts of the world and they are often hit and miss. Sometimes you learn a lot about a place, other times you can be left scratching your head after the tour finishes.

However, everything we learned about the Phi Phi Islands during our tour came directly from our guide. We were shown pictures of how the Phi Phi Islands have changed over the years, and we learned so much about the region. Phi Phi has a lot of history, some good, some bad. But had we chosen a group tour, we would have never known anything about it. Our guide was full of life, energy, and information about the Phi Phi Islands.

The moment we realized we had made the right choice for our tour was when we visited the Blue Lagoon. It's undoubtedly one of the most sought-after tour destinations, and it became quite evident as we observed the other tour boats bustling with tourists. We were amazed to see around 40 people on just one of those boats! Feeling quite pleased with ourselves, we relaxed on the deck of our private boat while our guide captured some incredible pictures for us.

How Do You Go About Booking a Private Phi Phi Tour

There were two options we considered while figuring out the best way to book a Private Tour of Koh Phi Phi.

The first option: we would travel to the island ourselves and try to negotiate with a skipper when we arrived. We had read a lot of blogs advising that we do this. Although to us, it felt a bit risky.

The second option was to book a guaranteed tour online, ahead of time. This is the option we ended up rolling with and I am so pleased we did. Had we followed the advice of many bloggers, and waited until the last minute, I doubt we would have had the same Phi Phi Island Experience.

There was some doubt that we had overpaid by booking online, but after meeting our guide and captain we couldn’t have cared less about the cost. We had somehow managed to get ourselves out on a boat with seemingly the best, the most knowledgeable and the friendliest boat captain and Guide in the whole of the Phi Phi Islands! The price didn’t matter at that point. The experience was everything.

For reference, we booked this trip directly from the tour company's website, and communicated with them directly.

How Much Does it Cost to Take a Private Boat Tour in Phi Phi

Ok, Ok! I get it! This is the question you want to answer the most.

How much did it cost us to charter a private boat, explore the Phi Phi Islands, sit down for lunch at a local restaurant, hire a guide for the day and travel to and from our hotel.

Well the exact number was pretty much bang-on $500. Although we were charged in the local currency (Thai Baht), it was 17,000 Baht for the tour. This was the all-inclusive price for the two of us to have a boat to ourselves. In my opinion, it's pretty good value for money. And I know that tipping culture in Thailand isn’t massive, but we still felt like we had left a little something behind for our guide and captain.

There are obviously cheaper tours of the Phi Phi Islands. But the experience we had with this operator was something really special.

I should add that the prices written online and in guidebooks to hire a private longtail boat in person are often much lower than the reality. We did inquire about the cost while in the Phi Phi Islands, out of curiosity. We were offered a deal of $140 to cruise around the islands for 3 hours. So not bad, but the condition of the boat would have been off putting for us and it was almost 50% less time, not to mention that was the cost for the boat alone, no guide, no lunch, no transfers, nada.

Why Did We Choose Five Star Thailand Tours

Like I said, we opted to book our Private Tour of Phi Phi Islands in advance, instead of waiting until the last minute. And we already knew we wanted a private boat. So once those decisions were made, we had to work our way through the list of tour companies to choose from.

Five Star Thailand was one that really stood out to us for a number of reasons.

The main reason was that Five Star Thailand is actually based on Phi Phi Don, actually in the Phi Phi Islands. Whereas, most of the other tour companies we had looked at seemed to be located on the mainland, in Phuket.

I should add that even though we were staying in Phuket, booking with a local tour operator was important to us, and Five Star included the transfers from Phuket and Back in the tour cost.

The other factor which helped us settle on Five Star Tours was the reviews. Most tour companies which we considered booking with had a long list of negative reviews attached to them. But we picked the company with the most consistently positive reviews. Overall we made the right choice, although it can be tough to decide. When there are so many choices out there.

How Does The Private Phi Phi Island Work

So how does the private tour actually work!

For something so simple it was difficult for us to wrap our heads around. We expected that we would be picked up from our hotel, be taken to a boat and cruise around the island.

This was almost our experience. Only we had overlooked how far away the Phi Phi islands actually are, from Phuket! We assumed the long-tail boat would be able to take us there. But Five Star had other plans, they arranged a speedboat ferry for our travel to Phi Phi and then we switched onto the long boat when we arrived.

I’m glad they do things this way, because it’s clear those longtail boats are most suitable for navigating the shallow waters around Koh Phi Phi! Once we arrived at the island there was around 5 hours at sea, on our private longtail boat. Plenty of time to see all we wanted to see.

Where Can You Visit on a Private Tour at Phi Phi Islands

Here is a misconception we had: We had seen the long list of ‘must-see’ places in the Phi Phi Islands, on tripadvisor and naturally we wanted to visit them all; Maya Bay, The Lagoon, Viking Cave, Monkey Beach, Wang Long Cove etc,.

Let me tell you just how useless our list of places was. We started the tour by showing the list of places to our guide. He knew. He already knew which places we wanted to visit, it seemed like we had the same list as everyone else. And we quickly learned that all the spots we listed were literally on the same island! Which we would be cruising around the perimeter of anyway!

It was a quick reminder for us to trust in the local people! And our guide was so accommodating, we got to visit all the spots we had hoped to see.

But the real surprise came after we had visited the main attractions. And I guess this is one of the perks of having your own private boat, because we were taken away to a small island - around the corner and out of sight from the other tour boats. We were shown some of the most beautiful beaches and the most beautiful bays - even prettier than Maya Bay.

But the kicker, these places aren’t named, and because they aren’t famous, no one has any interest in them! It’s like an open secret. Just minutes away from the chaotic spots, there are still some hidden gems in Koh Phi Phi!

Now I would love to share the names of some of these secret bays, and beaches with you. But our guide would not give us the name! We were never really sure if it was because they wanted to keep these secret spots to themselves, or if it was because these spots don’t officially even have a name!

What Can You Do

And if you’re wondering what we got up to exactly, whilst on our private boat tour. There was a mix of activities.

We snorkeled in the beautiful coral reefs which surround the islands. We swam in the bays and the lagoons. We took plenty of photos and videos and snagged an epic new profile picture too.

We rode around on SUP Boards and we laid on the beaches. And we paid a visit to Long Beach where we stopped for a while, took in the views, and tucked into a meal of tasty Thai food.

A highlight of having our own private boat. We felt like we didn’t miss out on anything, whatsoever.

Final Thoughts

There's no better way to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Phi Phi Islands. If you're conscious of your budget, you'll find a wide range of group tour operators and excursions to fit any financial plan. In fact, we came across tours priced as low as ten dollars!

However, if you're seeking that truly special and authentic Phi Phi Island experience, opting for a private longtail boat tour is the way to go. It's truly unparalleled.

With your own boat, you have the freedom to set your own schedule, enjoy flexibility, and gain a deeper understanding of the places you visit—a value we've always cherished.

One word of caution: when visiting Monkey Beach, whatever you do and consider this a warning—do not bring snacks with you!