Phi Phi Island Culture Guides


The Phi Phi Island People

Phi Phi Island Culture | Information about People on Phi Phi Island including Sea Gyp
Local People Of Phi Phi Island

There have always been sea gypsies coming to Phi Phi Don for as long as records have been kept. These ancient people are at home with the sea and make temporary homes as the seasons change. In high season they often make a community on the west coast in Loh Dalum Bay out of drift wood. In the low season, they are on the east coast sheltering from the occasional westerly winds.

They row their small boats great distances in search of fish. Recently, poor fishing techniques have made them unpopular with conservationists. Government attempts to improve their lifestyle have been slow but progress is being made.

Phi Phi - History and Settlement

In 1945 there was nobody living on Phi Phi Don Island. By 1950 the first settlers from Koh Yai to the north of Phi Phi Island in the Phang Nga Bay had arrived. Subsequently people from Koh Lanta and Krabi province have given the village a "three-flavored" feel. The families who still own most of the land today are descended from these first settlers and visit their cousins in Koh Yai and Krabi often. The call to prayer heard in the village morning and evening comes from the Mosque. The high attendance in the Mosque is as much from community spirit as any extreme devotion to the faith.

Phi Phi Island Today

The number of people making a living from cashew nut farming is few though the cashew nut plantations can be seen quiet clearly on the path up to the Viewpoint. Coconut farming is still in full swing. The coconut milk is still the raw ingredient of the delicious curries made on Phi Phi Island.

Fishing is still important and most of the local men pride themselves as good fishermen. The better ones are full time captains of the dive and fishing boats.

The Muslims love the sea and are the captains of all the boats- they also control the boatmen from the other poorer islands to the east.

Children go to the primary school near Bayview Resort but at the age of 12 stay with relatives in Krabi for their secondary education.

Newcomers to the Islands

Thai Businesses have come from all over Thailand and sell silver and clothes and do the traditional Thai Massage. Many of the local inhabitants work in the hotel and resort businesses. Those that prefer the way it was before all the resorts move up to the Tsunami village overlooking Long Beach or work at the quieter Phi Phi Island Village Resort And Spa

With westerners in the dive business it is truly a cosmopolitan island.

Last Updated: 29 Feb 2012

Photos for The Phi Phi Island People



Gallery Photos
Transporting goods by local longtail boat to Phi Phi
Local people unloading at the pier of Phi Phi Island
Local Phi Phi longtail boat captain
Local fresh fruit shop on Phi Phi Island