Phi Phi islands don’t need introduction anymore, Leonardo DiCaprio took care of this in 2000 with the movie ‘The Beach’ and the place just keeps on getting bigger and busier. The island was wiped out during the 2004 tsunami and despite what was said at the time, the construction just got bigger and maybe not better. However, the young crowd travelling to Phi Phi Islands seems to have great time so we decided to check it. No doubt it’s super crowded, especially at night, but yes the islands are beautiful and a great place for party!
(Yes you guessed it , ‘Koh ‘means ‘Island’ in Thai so it’s not always part of the name)
Phi Phi Don looks like an overgrown narrow maze squeezed between 2 bays: Tonsai Bay where ferries arrive and Loh Dalum Bay where you’ll enjoy the beach. To imagine how walking down that maze feels like, picture the following: Tee-Shirt Shop, Tattoo Parlour, a bar, a dive center, a fast food, a travel agency, a massage parlour… repeat again and again. I’ve never seen so many tattoo shops per meter square. Never seen so many cats either!
Most shops don’t open in the morning since they open rather late at night and a third of the population of the island is out there exploring Maya Bay and the islands around, another third is on the beach enjoying the soft sand and the beautiful scenery (if tide permits). The last third is still in bed trying to survive a massive hangover probably from one of these cheap ‘buckets’ that looked so cool the day before (read about it lower in the page)
In the afternoon the crowd starts to hang around the street, shopping and having some massage. There are tons of small restaurants for all tastes but most look very touristy. Well someone as to attend the crowd! As a beachfront restaurant we tried Tonsai Seafood which was good and The Point which was below average. Best experience by far was dining at ‘Le Grand Bleu’ a long-established French restaurant serving a nice choice of French and Thai food at surprisingly good prices.
Phi Phi suddenly explodes with life at 9-10 pm when bars start their fire shows and other live bands or Muay Thai performances. There are bars after bars after bars all along the main street and on the Loh Dalum bay where those popular fire shows take place. Young people all buy a ‘bucket’ on their way there and sit on the beach in front of a makeshift stage to enjoy or even take part to small fire shows. Music is loud and good and people dance on the beach, everyone seem to have the time of their life.
The general impression is that apart from some fantastic cliffs and bays, Phi Phi is not really Thailand. It’s a bit the Khao San on the south and a bit of a permanent Full Moon Party. Absolutely everyone who is not selling something is a farang (a foreigner). You will never see or hear of a Thai person saying ‘I’m going to spend a weekend on Phi Phi Islands. I also found the young Thais working on the island very smiling and helpful.
Note that there are some mosquitoes here and there, especially once the sun has set, but there are so many convenience stores and pharmacies around there is no need to carry your own.
All around Phi Phi Don there are other beaches of different size, the best known one is Laem Tong beach where Holiday In Phi Phi and Zeavola resort enjoy a peaceful but remote holiday and the beautiful Loh Bagao beach further down (see map at the end of the page)
The place being so popular, it’s actually very easy and every hotel will be able to arrange it for you. Usually transfer includes pick up from your hotels, but double-check anyway. If you have a rented car you can also park it at Rassada pier in Phuket town and buy a ticket the same day.
There are also ferries and speedboat to and from Krabi and Koh Lanta
Here are the best places to see in Phi Phi islands. Of course since they are so popular they can be really busy so it is usually recommended to stay overnight in Phi Phi and try to reach them early morning to beat the crowds. This is particularly true for the famous Maya Bay from the movie ‘The Beach’. Read more…
Reaching Phi Phi Viewpoint is a bit challenging but if you go at your own pace it’s actually not too hard. Expect to sweat and maybe to be bitten by local mosquitoes each time to stop to breathe in a shade, they are obviously smart and they ambush themselves in strategic locations.
At the end of the first fly of stairs you will reach the Viewpoint Number 1 … and the ticket counter. It costs 30 baht from that point on.
Viewpoint Number 1 looks like a children playground with giant chickens and concrete hearts in case that is how you like your photos. My advice? Move on and follow the signs to Viewpoint Number 2. It says 5 minutes walk but it feels like a lot more. From viewpoint number 2 you will instantly recognize the postcard of the 2 bays of Phi Phi. The place is superb and there is a shop selling drinks, snacks and ice creams to refill your batteries.
The place is superb but expect it to be busy or even crowded… there is not much to do on your own on Phi Phi island so everyone ends up there at one point.
There are hundred of places to choose from on Phi Phi island… just walk along the few pedestrian walkways and you can pick as you go. It’s really a lucky draw. It’s more fun by the waterfront but this is just us, so we tried the following and they were good!
The day after:
Have you ever hear the expression ‘Same Same but Different’? it was probably invented here. ‘Phi Phi island’ tee shirts, short pants and light skirts, swim suits, bags… everything you need for a holiday on a small island. Don’t expect much originality but browsing is always fun, especially when there are not so much to do.
Buckets are extremely popular in Phi Phi and you can find them everywhere after sunset. Usually a cheap mix of local whiskey (Sang Som, ), a red bull (you know what that is) and a mixer and ice in a small plastic bucket and a couple of straws. You can take this around as you party. As it’s sweet, cold and often use cheap local alcohol you don’t have the feeling you are drinking much and the Red Bull gives you a boost. Most people obviously get drunk much faster and much more than they think. Fun, apparently.
That’s a tough one… they are everywhere and they all claim the same thing: sterile environment and new needle for each customer, also Bamboo tattoos available. Follow your instinct but let us know if you can recommend one shop. I had a look at a couple of standard size tattoos and they cost between 5 to 10,000 baht and take 3 to 6 hours to execute.
We collected on the next page the necessary information if you are interested in Diving in Phi Phi Island
Rent a boat costs around 1,500 to 3,000 baht depending on what you want to visit. Here are the classic places:
To Phi Phi Leh and around
Then to the north of Phi Phi Don
Mostly young people, 25 -30 on average, coming here to enjoy the sun, the scenery, the beach on daytime and definitely the PARTY at night!