Monkey Beach

Also called Yong Gasem Bay, Monkey Beach is a small piece of seashore located on Ko Phi Phi Don Island, north-west of Loh Dalam Bay. Each day, hundreds of visitors come ashore from boats looking for an encounter with the colony of crab-eating macaques living on the beach and in the neighboring jungle. But Monkey Beach is not all about monkeys; it is also a place for snorkeling lovers. Underwater life includes giant clam, schools of parrot fish, yellow damselfish standing above coral clumps and clownfish in their anemones.

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How to get there?

Monkey Beach is facing north. It is located a few hundred meters north-west of Loh Dalam Bay. To get there, you can choose from several options.

First you can take part of a boat tour (speedboat or long tail boat, half day or full day trip). Quite a lot of companies run daily tours not only from Ko Phi Phi center, but also from Phuket and Krabi. They include stops at other neighboring snorkeling spots such as Maya Bay and Bamboo Island.

If you prefer a more active mode of transportation, you can also rent a kayak in Loh Dalam Bay. Paddling to Monkey Island requires half an hour: consider renting your kayak for at least two hours.

Finally, you can take advantage of low tide and simply walk to the beach (you will have to walk along the shoreline for about 500 meters). We don’t recommend this risky option: rocks are slippery and you have to take tide times into account.

Water entrance

Enter the water from the sandy beach. Avoid the area where the numerous boats moor.

Aerial view


Monkey Beach is fringed by a coral reef about 50 meters wide. We recommend exploring the eastern part (on your right when facing the sea): coral is far denser there than it is on the western side. Tour companies know it: boats stop on this same side. Don’t hesitate to swim away from the beach towards the rocky shore; the best preserved areas are there.

The reef actually is a reef flat deepening steadily (1-3m) as you swim away from the shore. It ends up with a drop-off leading to deeper areas (3-6m). This spot is busy with swimmers and snorkelers, most of them taking part of a boat tour, so corals have been much damaged. However you will still spot a wide variety of species here.

Giant clam at monkey beach ko phi phi snorkeling
Giant clam at Monkey Beach, Ko Phi Phi

Colorful giant clams (some of them a bright fluorescent blue) set the rhythm to a rather monotonous seabed. Bright yellow damselfish swim over tabular corals, their color flashing against the deep blue. But the true star of Monkey Beach is clownfish. This cute fish inhabits the huge sea anemones scattered on the seabed (2-3m). Most of them are pink skunk clownfish, with their distinctive single thin vertical white line.

The main danger while in the water comes from boats untiringly coming and going about. Stay away from the areas where they are and don’t swim further than the reef flat. On the beach, monkeys are used to be fed: they can be quite insistent and bites aren’t unheard of.

Restaurants and accommodation

Monkey Beach is a natural site. You won’t find any snack or restaurant, but “street” vendors sometimes can be here. In doubt, bring your own water and snacks.

Snorkeling Report gives the most precise tips possible about the snorkeling spots and potential dangers, but each one of us is responsible for our own safety in the water. For more information, take a look at the snorkeling safety page. If you want to add extra information or make any corrections to the spot descriptions, please contact us.

Spot’s weather forecasts (°C)

Spot tips

  • Type of spot
  • Level of difficulty
    Intermediary level
  • Maximum depth
    20 ft
  • Water entrance
    Easy, from a sandy beach
  • Potential Dangers
    Usual precautions
  • Lifeguard
  • Visitor numbers
  • Access costs
    Excursion price (approx. $50)
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Public toilets & showers

Spot map

Spot photos

Underwater spot photos

Species you may spot while snorkeling Monkey Beach

Common name Scientific name Abundance Fishbase Wikipedia
Pink skunk clownfish
Amphiprion perideraion
Lined butterflyfish
Chaetodon lineolatus
Checkerboard wrasse
Halichoeres hortulanus
Schultz's pipefish
Corythoichthys schultzi
Indo-Pacific sergeant
Abudefduf vaigiensis
Giant clam
Tridacna sp.
You encountered a specie at this spot that is not listed here?