Way back in June, we had a couple of our friends visit us for two weeks. Having not left the island of Phuket (except to Singapore for our flagpole run), we were eager to explore another island of Thailand.
Koh Phi Phi (koh means ‘island’ in Thai) is one of the most popular destinations in Thailand. Six islands make up an archipelago, but the two most famous are Phi Phi Leh – made popular by Leonardo DiCaprio’s The Beach movie, and Phi Phi Don – known for its crazy nightlife. The islands are a mere 1.5 hour ferry ride away, so we figured it was a good place to start.
As typical newbies, we overpaid for the ferry. We were under the impression that we could just go to the pier and buy the tickets there. Well, we could, and we did, but the tickets were about double in price. For next time, we’ll buy them online for 300 THB one way (and then return on the island for 200-250 THB) rather than spend 1000 THB at the pier for a round trip ticket. Rookie mistake.
We were warned about the noise at night, potential ants/cockroaches, and decent 20 minute trek from the pier, but we decided to see for ourselves what the place was like. We wanted something off the main drag (it’s party central on Phi Phi Don), and somewhat authentic. Cobble Beach delivered:
Overall thoughts? We really enjoyed our stay. A few of the good bits:
- a Western style buffet breakfast was included with the price – our private villa (the suite) was $40 CAD/1000 THB per night
- clean beds with clean bathrooms (ours even had a Western shower!)
- access to an infinity pool and lounge chairs
- daily towel changes
- wifi (it’s there, but it’s slow)
- very helpful staff
- a 20 minute hike a little uphill meant nice views and you were away from most of the noise
The only two downsides:
- there were a few ants in our villa
- the bass did carry from the main beach and only stopped around 3am
Thing is, you’re on a popular small backpacking island in Thailand. A few of these things are to be expected.
After dropping our bags off, we went exploring. First stop: drinks at Sunflower Beach Bar:
We explored the few main “streets” on the island. Fun fact: no motorized vehicles (including scooters) are allowed on Phi Phi, which makes for calm walks.
There are cats EVERYWHERE on Phi Phi. So naturally I pick up all the kittens, while Nicole proceeded to pet every cat alive. I think she succeeded 😉
We lazed around the pool for a while before hiking up to the Phi Phi Viewpoint to watch the sunset. FYI: entry to the viewpoint is 30 THB/person. It was a bit of a hazy day, unfortunately, but the views of Phi Phi were still spectacular!
Fire shows are so common, nearly every bar on the beach has them. They start around 8:30-9pm(ish) and last for a full hour. I fully expected it to be a tourist trap that lasted 10 minutes, but I was impressed. Some of these guys/gals have serious talent.
We saw quite a few signs advertising half day sunset/sunrise tours for anywhere from 250 THB to 400 THB. After asking around, we realized that, yes, it’s possible to pay 250 THB per person for half a day of riding on a boat and snorkelling, but we’d be crammed into said boat with 97 other people. If we paid a little bit more, however, we could have our own *private* longtail boat that would do the exact same tour. So, 450 THB/person later, we had a not-so-friendly personal chauffeur that took us on a four hour boat ride around Phi Phi Leh. We were provided with lifejackets and snorkelling equipment (the quality’s never too great when you rent overly-used equipment, let’s be honest), pineapple as a snack and a loaf of bread to feed the fishes.
We saw Maya Bay, the famous beach in the movie The Beach, but it was so busy we decided not to snorkel there. Also, “they” began charging 400THB per person to enter the bay, which is an immediate deterrent for us.
The last stop on boat tour was Monkey Beach. When it’s low tide, the monkeys are so humanized that they come right up to you to see if you ignored the DON’T BRING FOOD HERE, DO NOT FEED THE MONKEYS sign and have food. If it’s high tide, like it was when we were there, they hang off trees and grab food from your hands. It’s pretty cute.
Graham and I spent a total of 5235 THB (190 CAD) visiting Phi Phi for three days/two nights:
Entertainment included the entry fees onto the island (2x 20THB), sunset viewpoint entry fees (2x 30THB), 100 THB tip for the fire show, longtail boat excursion (2x 900THB plus a 40THB tip), a massage at Numberone Massage (250THB plus 50THB tip). I had a foot massage and it wasn’t very good. I’m not sure any massage places are that great on Phi Phi though.
Places we ate: Sunflower Bar (great views, decent fruit shakes), Thank You Thai food (delicious pineapple chicken for 100 THB!), Harmony Thai House – the restaurant attached to Harmony Guest House (tasty Thai food at fair prices), Anita’s Restaurant – attached to Phi Phi Anita Resort (overpriced as it was on the main drag).
We’re not into the party scenes anymore, so I definitely felt old being on the island. It was good to see what all the hype was about, but I don’t have any desire to return to Phi Phi. I’ll leave it for the 21-year-old backpackers 😉