Bamboo Island (known as Ko Mai Phai in Thai) is located approximately 3 miles/5km off the northern tip of Koh Phi Phi Don. This tiny island has little in common with its Phi Phi archipelago sisters. Here, no high rocky cliffs, but a flat island covered by lush vegetation and entirely surrounded by a strip of white sand. Bamboo Island offers a good snorkeling along the coral reef, from 50 meters off the beach. If the reef is partially damaged, you can still observe a varied underwater life, including the ocellaris clownfish, best known as “Nemo”.

How to get there?

Bamboo Island is mainly accessible from Ko Phi Phi Don, in approximately 45 to 60 minutes by longtail boat. You will have no trouble finding a trip organizer, since a visit on Bamboo Island is included in almost all day tours from Ko Phi Phi. Most day and half-day excursions include stops at other snorkeling spots, especially Maya Bay and Monkey Beach. The half day excursion (including a meal and refreshments) costs on average 1500 baht per person from Ko Phi Phi. Please note that you’ll have to pay a 400 baht entrance fee to the National Park to visit the island.

Aerial view of Bamboo Island reef

Water entrance

The trip organizer will take you to the sandy beach, and you can enter the water at any point. Watch out for the many boats sailing in the area (make your presence visible).

Bamboo Island snorkeling map, Thailand

Exploration

The area to explore covers the 30 to 100 meters wide coral reefs located along the beach, north and south of the mooring area.

Ocellaris clownfish at Bamboo Island

The coral reefs have been particularly damaged in this spot (breakage, bleaching), so don’t expect vibrant sea beds full of marine life. Nevertheless, you can still observe a good variety of fish and invertebrate species, as Moorish Idol, moon wrasse (thalassoma lunare), pufferfish and colourful giant clams. But the “star” of Bamboo Island is without doubt the ocellaris clownfish -or three-banded clownfish- (amphiprion ocellaris), better known as “Nemo” in Disney-Pixar movie. You will find them on the sea anemones that lives on the reef in places, 2 to 4 meters deep.

Sergeant major at Bamboo Island

Bamboo Island is very popular with tours, which pour their share of tourists on the beach every day. Watch out for boats that come and go on this site when you are in the water.

Restaurants and accommodation

On the beach, a small bar serves drinks and snacks. Most excursions include meals, however. Ask your tour guide for details and at least take along a snack and something to drink.



Species you may spot while snorkeling Bamboo Island
COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME ABUNDANCE FISHBASE WIKIPEDIA
Ocellaris clownfish Amphiprion ocellaris  
Moorish idol Zanclus cornutus  
Streaked spinefoot Siganus javus  
Indo-Pacific sergeant Abudefduf vaigiensis  
Blackspotted puffer Arothron nigropunctatus  
Giant clam Tridacna sp.  

 

  • Level required Beginner
  • Maximum depth20ft
  • Water entranceEasy, from a sandy beach
  • Potential DangersUsual precautions
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersMedium
  • Access costsSnorkeling tour price
  • Public toilets & showersNo

MAP Spot

These snorkeling spots are accessible to beginners and kids. You will enter the water gradually from a beach, or in a less than 3ft. deep area. The sea is generally calm, shallow, with almost no waves or currents. These spots are usually located in marked and/or monitored swimming areas. It is not necessary to swim long distances to discover the sea life.

This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.