Saturday, June 4, 2016

Exploring Koh Phi Phi in Southern Thailand

You will feel it as soon as you take your first step.
At the Ton Sai pier, you will feel that palpable energy and buzz of thousands of travelers from all over the globe who know they are in for an unforgettable adventure.
After all, exploring the island group of Koh Phi Phi is one adventure every self-respecting adventurer must take at least once in his life. This is not an exaggeration.
Koh Phi Phi is the island superstar of Thailand and the things that justify its reputation goes on and on. But in a nut shell, this group of islands offer some of the most gorgeous white sand beaches in the world along with high visibility crystal clear waters, making it a mecca of surfers, divers and other watersport enthusiasts.
The island’s party scene is also renowned, rivaling the popularity of Haad Rin beach in Koh Pangan, another island heavyweight in Thailand’s long list of gorgeous island jewels, which hosts to the world famous or infamous monthly full moon parties,
Technically, Koh Phi Phi is a group of islands located near the Andaman sea and is governed administratively by the province of Krabi. There are six islands in the group, including Phi Phi Ley and Phi Phi Don, which is the most heavily populated.
The pier along with the hotels, hostels, restaurants, travel and tour shops are all located in Phi Phi Don.
The Maya beach, the site where the movie “The Beach” was filmed, and the Monkey island meanwhile are located in Phi phi Ley.
There are daily tours around the main islands of Koh Phi Phi but the most famous and frequent are tours around Maya beach.
Party Scene
Partying is mostly centered in Phi Phi Don.
Beachfront bars along Ton Sai beach, such as Slinky’s, Woody’s, Aloha and Tones, offer nightly entertainment to the endless list of tourists visiting Koh Phi Phi.
The party usually begins with fire dances and fire jump ropes and fire limbo rocks. Once the clock strikes 10 or 11pm, the beach becomes a virtual stage for tourists who are dying to let thei r hair down, or find a partner for the night.
Unlike Koh Pangan who comes alive and becomes busy during full moons and the days leadingto it, Koh Pangan hosts parties every night, thus explaining the non-stop flow of visitors.
And also unlike the said island, Koh Phi Phi is not famous fir its drug problem. The only thing the two islands have in common are the Thai-patented buckets, liquid death mixtures of rhum, whisky, tonic and red bull or anything you want to add.
There are also bars located inside the island. The most famous is Jordan’s Irish pub which shows UEFA and All English Premiere League non-stop, attracting a host of visistors from the UK and the Commonwealth islands.
Reggae bar meantime, features live Thai fighting (a very noisy affair)
Banana Bar is a rooftop bar which offers free movie showing. I got there on my first night and they were showing “The beach”. hahahah
Like everywhere else in Thailand, dining is not a problem due to the endless rows of restaurants and food stalls. But being and island tourist destination, prices are not necessarily cheap compared to those restaurants located in other parts of the country, say Khao San Road.
I had the opportunity of dining in some restos around Phi Phi Don and here are my recommendations:
  • Basil Bistro (Thai owned, a bit out of the way, but the tomyum and the grilled food are superb.
  • Tom Yam  (Also out of the way, and very small but the green and yellow curry are to die for)
  • Unni’s (Reasonable price but very friendly and accommodating staff. Food is so-so)
  • Italiano (located in front of Harmony tours. The food is expensive but good)
If you’re really on a tight budget, go buy food at the stalls located along and inside the Tsunami village (named so because the area is composed of houses, devastated by the 2004 Asian tsunami)
I can’t tell you much about hotels since I am a backpacker but I can tell you that you should make prior reservations in Phi Phi Don. The owners of the hotels and hostels love walk ins coz they can easily fluctuate prices and the average asking price is 1,300 to 1,500 Thai Baht for a small non-airconditioned room.
There are mixed dorm types offering 500 to 600 Thai Baht bunk beds.
Getting There
Reaching Koh Phi Phi is not necessarily an easy journey.
Sure you can easily purchase tours in Khao San Road for only 850 to 900 Thai Baht but the long road trip makes it really challenging.
From Khao San Road, you will take a 14 hour drive by Songserm double-decker bus Krabi.
You will then take a two hour ferry trip to Phi Phi Don.
If you’re not really willing to travel by road that long, you can take a flight from Bangkok to Phuket and then take a four three hour ferry to Koh Phi Phi.

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