The Unexpected Animals That Make This Gorgeous Beach In Thailand Dangerous

Thailand is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Every year, those looking for some R&R head to its famous islands like Phuket for the nightlife, Koh Phangan for the Full Moon Party, and Koh Samui for the tranquillity and warm surf. Thailand is also home to an archipelago of six islands called Koh Phi Phi, and if you're a Leonardo DiCaprio fan, you've probably already seen it. The Oscar-winning actor starred in the 2000 thriller "The Beach," which was filmed on Koh Phi Phi Leh. The beach became so famous that Thai authorities had to shut it down for three years to allow the ecosystem to recover from the damage done by thousands of tourists.

Koh Phi Phi is open now, and its warm climates, beautiful cyan-blue waters, and white sandy beaches are definitely a draw for tourists. The island gets 4,000 tourists and 200 boats a day. However, there are some animals native to the area that might turn the relaxing beach into a nightmare. Imagine the movie "The Beach," but with wild and often aggressive monkeys. You read that right. Several tourists have had to put their fists up when the wild monkeys of Koh Phi Phi got a bit too close. Here's everything you need to know if Koh Phi Phi is on your Thailand itinerary. 

Macaque monkeys could swarm and attack you

Tour group Discover Phi Phi posted this super cute video to their TikTok account of macaque monkeys lazing around Koh Phi Phi, grooming each other, and generally being endearing. But if you read the caption, the tour group warns that the macaques may be adorable but also dangerous. This YouTube video, which has over 30,000 views, supports that view. In the first few seconds, you can see the macaques running aggressively toward beachgoers, jumping on them, seemingly attacking them. The almost four-minute video shows the monkeys grabbing food and drink and scarfing down whatever they find. 

An Australian dad found out just how aggressive the macaques can get in March 2023 when he was swarmed by a pack that had set their sights on his backpack that didn't contain any food. The New York Post reports he took on the swarm when they lunged at his infant son. He ended up with a huge bleeding bite on his hand that required several rabies shots to prevent serious infection or worse. His partner, Elayna Carausu, said, "Had we had known this beach was notorious for monkey attacks, we wouldn't have gone."

Don't feed or approach the monkeys under any circumstance

Despite the Australian family not knowing about the dangerous monkeys on Koh Phi Phi, Thai authorities have warned tourists for years not to feed or approach the monkeys. In 2019, The Daily Star reported on another monkey swarm that the outlet called "drunk" and reminded tourists that feeding the macaques is banned. Way back in 2013, the Bangkok Post reported that 600 people needed hospital care the year prior due to the monkey attacks, and it was no surprise that most of those were tourists. The outlet noted that the most visited beaches in Krabi have English signs with the warning: "Beware of the Monkeys."

While visiting the monkeys on Koh Phi Phi might feel like a wonderful activity to experience in Thailand, and there are entire guided tour companies that boast getting you closer to the monkeys, it's important to keep things in perspective. Some travelers to the beach have complained about how crowded it is, how tourists taunt the monkeys, and that under these circumstances, disasters are inevitable. If you still choose to visit the monkeys, do not feed them under any circumstances. Discover Phi Phi put it best in their TikTok caption, "Don't come too close to them and stay close to the water so that in case they start running to you, you can run to the water."