Monkey Beach (Ao Ling), Ko Phi Phi Don

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Is there anything cuter than tiny beach monkeys?

If you love small furry animals with cheeky faces, put the island Ko Phi Phi Don in Thailand in your itinerary – Monkey Beach needs to be on your must-see list. Situated on the largest of the Ko Phi Phi islands, this pristine monkey-filled beach is a major tourist destinaton. The beach is high quality with fine white sand and the water is clear as crystal, but the large number of tourists can mean that there is a lot of trash and noise.

How to get there

  • Boat – Travelling by speedboat or longtail water taxi is a fast and safe option, and an experienced tour guide can assist if you experience any monkey business.
  • Kayak – A good option if you don’t fancy a tour, or want to explore some of the coves near the beach. Kayaks are available for rent in nearby Loh Dalam. Rowing takes around 30 minutes each way, so you may want to consider renting for a few of hours.
  • Walk – Unless you’re very familiar with the tides, it’s not recommended to try to travel to Monkey Beach on foot. It’s possible to edge around the coastline, but is pretty impractical. The only other route would be through the jungle, where there is no path. Definitely not recommended.

Things to bear in mind

  • Consider staying afloat – Monkey Beach is most easily accessible by boat, and some monkeys will swim out to meet you in the shallow waters. This is not only very cute, but also reduces the likelihood of getting your bikini pulled down by a gang of naughty apes.
  • Don’t bring food – If you’re visiting as part of a tour, your operator might bring treats for your new primate pals. They love fruit (especially pineapple). Peaceful monkeys will ask for food with both hands as a sign of non-aggression. If you’re travelling alone or as a small group, you may be better off leaving the treats behind. The monkeys are comfortable aroud humans, but are not afraid to use aggression to get food. They can be friendly, but they are still wild animals and are not afraid to bite hands, arms, and especially your undefended legs if they feel startled or threatened.
  • Monkeys steal things – Keep an eye on your Ray-Bans. The monkeys are very fashion conscious, and will grab your sunnies at the first opportunity. Be aware of any bags and phones too, as the little kleptomaniacs will take anything that isn’t secured.

As with so many Thai experiences, having an open mind and keeping your wits about you will help enormously when it comes to enjoying your travels, and the treatment and monetisation of these animals for tourism is the same as elsewhere in Thailand. At Monkey Beach the animals are wild and uncaged, so this could be a more appealing option for the ethically conscious traveller.

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