TRAVELThe Resurrection of the Fiery Isle: Phi Phi Islands

The Resurrection of the Fiery Isle: Phi Phi Islands

In a time of social and environmental distancing, nature is taking the opportunity to resurrect one of the world’s most beautiful groups of islands, the Phi Phi Islands.

“A healthy ocean is not a silent ocean… Creatures chattering, rasping, and singing are all signs of a normal environment.”* These words resonated within me as I read about recent research on underwater noise pollution. On my trip to the southern islands for this photo essay, I became more aware of the sounds under the ocean.

Phi Phi Islands’ coastlines offer sweeping vistas, hideaway bays and postcard-perfect beaches
Front side of the island
Mind the Lines: Phi Phi Islands, Thailand
Finding Nemo, Shark Point: Phi Phi Islands, Thailand
Black cliffs of Phi Phi:
A surprising first experience arriving at Phi Phi Island is seeing these black rocks and cliffs. They look volcanic—unlike the limestone you see everywhere else around here. Found at Laem Tong Pier, the scenery makes you feel like you could be walking somewhere in Iceland or the Faroe Islands.
Maya Bay in a time of social and environmental distancing
The wind up there: Nui Bay, Phi Phi, Thailand
Perfectly shaped: Nui Bay is one of my favourite places in the Phi Phi Islands.
Reach the beach: As you get closer you can see the morning shadows cast over Nui Beach.
Located along the south part of Loh Lana Bay, this is one those secret places that people talk about in Phi Phi Don.
Cloud Atlas: Cloudy days can inspire, too.


  • The Phi Phi Islands are a group of six islands located between Phuket and the Straits of Malacca coast in Thailand. The islands are part of Krabi Province.
  • Phi Phi Don, the largest and most populated island in the group, is famous for its lively shores.
  • Phi Phi Le, the second-largest (but uninhabited) island, hosts stunning bays and beaches, including the world-famous Maya Bay, which is where “The Beach” starring Leonardo DiCaprio was filmed.
  • It is believed that the area was home to one of the oldest communities in Thailand, dating back to the prehistoric period.
  • The name Phi Phi originates from Malay. The original name for the islands was Pulau Api-Api (the fiery isle). The name refers to the Pokok Api-Api, or “fiery tree” (grey mangrove), which is found on the islands. 
Shallow waters

*Quote from: “In the Oceans, the Volume Is Rising as Never Before” By Sabrina Imbler, New York Times.

Originally from Hong Kong and Canada, Luke Yeung has spent most of his life based in Bangkok, Thailand, capturing the intensity and urban development of Asia and Southeast Asia. Having trained in architecture, he often captures buildings and spaces as the main elements in his images as a means to reflect on the people and culture of the place. To see more of Luke’s travel photography see To learn more about Luke, visit

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