Koh Phi Phi has drawn me in 8 times now, maybe more, that was my last count. It’s not my favourite island in Thailand but it does have a very different feeling to the most of the others. I makes me think of a Caribbean island in the buccaneering days. Big carts are pushed around by guesthouse workers due to the ban on all motorised vehicles on the island, except the local police station which does have one of the only motorcycles on the island.
Boat loads of young backpackers are offloaded every other hour and let loose into the narrow streets of the small inhabited area of the island.
This time I took a trip with my mum and brother. My brother has autism and is a big fan of scuba diving so this island is great for him, no long drives, everything is within walking distance, it’s hard to get lost, the parties aren’t too wild and most of all, the diving is great with wreck dives available. Needless to say he was very happy.
Mother could have done with a bit more pampering but you can find these luxuries in the bigger hotels around the island, and instead of being classy and sophisticated, we join the late night beach parties around Slinky’s and Woody’s bars. My mum drinking buckets was a sight that I’ll never forget.
** Of course ladies and gents, keep an eye on your drink, spiking is rare but it does happen, don’t let it happen to you.
The beach parties are every single night on Phi Phi and always end up at Slinky’s with lots of fire and drunk rave music, although it’s one of the few islands in Thailand with a strict curfew of 2am (correct me if I’m wrong) at which time the beach goes silent and it’s back to the hotel.
Phi Phi isn’t a cheap destination by any means, the habitable area is tiny compared to the size of the island and because of this, space is limited. You’ll often find that it’s quite hard to walk into a guesthouse straight off the boat expecting a bargain.
Hostels are usually 400-500b and often need to be booked in advance.
Guesthouses with air-con are around 700-1000 and are pretty basic.
The half day tour of Koh Phi Phi Lei is a really easy way to see a few of the hot spots including the filming location of the cult movie The Beach. It won’t be as glamorous as the movie due to the popularity of the tours but it’s worth the visit for the snorkelling and sunset.
Get a drunk tattoo, why not? Everyone else is. In fact, to exit the beach party area, one needs to pass at least 3 tattoo shops to get back to the hotel. I have heard that they do turn you away after a certain level of drunkness and face tattoos are a no no, just in case you were planning on drunkenly imitate The Hangover 2 tattoo fiasco.
Sun tan lotion, it’s damn hot. But if you haven’t learnt this by now then you probably deserve to burn.
Phi Phi isn’t the best place to buy souvenirs, they are overpriced and bought in from Bangkok, just wait until you head back there or even to the mainland. Try Chatuchak weekend market for gifts.
As there are no real roads or motor vehicles on the island you can’t just rent a moped and go and explore, you need to save this for any of the other islands on your adventure. Instead, take a leisurely hike up to the viewpoint and see the settlement from above. It really is something, head up just before sunset.
Also, take one of the taxi boats and head to the cliff jumping spot, the driver will know where to go but make sure you negotiate a price and maybe fit in a few different activities at the same time.
Here is a list of the Best Beaches on Phi Phi Island.