Kohh Phi Phi Lee or Koh Phi Phi Ley is an island of the Phi Phi archipelago, in the Andaman Sea. It belongs to the Krabi province of Thailand.
Kohh Phi Phi Ley is the second largest island of the archipelago, the largest one being Koh Phi Phi Don. The island consists of a ring of steep limestone hills surrounding 2 shallow bays, the Maya Bay and Loh Samah. There is also one large shallow fjord like inlet called Pi Ley with a small coral reef at the entrance.
Long-tail boats in Maya Beach
Controversy arose during the making of the film The Beach due to 20th Century Fox bulldozing and rescaping of the natural beach setting of Kohh Phi Phi Leh to make it more “paradise-like”. The production altered some sand dunes and cleared some coconut trees and grass to widen the beach. Fox set aside a fund to reconstruct and return the beach to its natural state, however lawsuits were filed as many believed the damage to the ecosystem is permanent and restoration attempts failed.
The lawsuits dragged on for years. In 2006, Thailand’s Supreme Court upheld an appeal court ruling that the filming had harmed the environment and ordered that damage assessments be made. Defendants in the case included 20th Century Fox and some Thai government officials.
The island before and after
Koh Phi Phi Le. February, 2006.
Prior to 2004, the island had avoided development. However, it is now a part of Phi Phi National Park and has since begun to see the beginnings of development and some clearing of natural plant life. There are current plans to build bungalows on the island. Since 2007, there has been an entry charge for private visitors of Bt200 per person. There are now permanent basic facilities on the island – toilets, a snack bar and camping sites.