We woke up in Railay and caught a ferry boat to the (in)famous Phi Phi Island. After our experience on the snorkeling trip we were sure to pay extra attention to which boat we got on and where it was going…I’d already been snorkeling and I didn’t need to go again thanks. The long boat took us to the ferry just off shore and after a very scenic 45 minute northwest trip through the Malacca Strait, we arrived at Phi Phi Island.
Okay, yes…Phi Phi is pronounced Pee Pee. Pee Pee Island, har har har you did it.
Phi Phi is actually 2 islands: Ko Phi Phi Don, the larger of the two is where all the tourists stay and all the night life is and all the traditional beach-y stuff exists: snorkeling trips, scuba, long bat rentals, hemp tatoos, etc. Ko Phi Phi Leh, just to the south, is (mostly) uninhabited. It’s claim to fame however is that Maya Bay, on the south eastern side, was the used as the setting for the movie The Beach.
We pulled into the port (and paid our annoying 20 Baht entry fee that of course no one told us about) and began the search for a place to stay. Accomodation on this rock varies from super-high-end to that-street-corner-over-there. We settled on a place close to the port so that we could be away from the noise of the raging beach parties on the northern bay of the island at night…crap that makes me sound old…in case we wanted to turn in earlier than everyone else. Pro Tip: No one ever turns in it seems.
Phi Phi is a party central. Thats really the best way to describe it. There are more tourists here than locals…mostly British or Australian from what I could gather…and all of them are like 20. Phi Phi Don must have been quite the site before all of this sprung up here…it is basically two mountains sticking up out of the sea with a thin beach connecting them. It is on this beach that everything is situated.
After we dropped our stuff off we packed up for a walk down and around the southern coast of the island to Long Beach, or Hat Yao. The walk was more of a hike really, with stretches that involved scrambling up rocks, using tree roots and stairs, and pulling your self up a slope with a rope. Whats more is that this is THE WAY to get to some of the accomodations on the island…imagining doing this with luggage (even worse rolling luggage) was enough to make the 150 Baht long tail boat ride worth it. We eventually made it to the beach and it was in fact as stunning as it was made out to be. A long white sand beach with a perfect view of Ko Phi Phi Leh in the distance. The beach provided perfect swimming and and was slightly shaded by the columns of palms behind. We ate a solid lunch at a beach side restuarant of papaya salad and curries and began our walk back.
Saddling back up, we trekked a little farther inland and began the 300m climb to the Pee Pee viewpoint. A strenuous walk (but paved at least) up to a (erm, lovely?) garden area that over-looked the whole region. This is a must do if you are on Phi Phi.
We resigned ourselves to beers on the north bay, Ao Lo Dalum, for sunset and got some pretty stunning pictures…or at least I hope so. VJ disappeared for like 30 minutes so I assume that is what was going on… After cleaning up a bit we went to dinner.
So this place is definitely mostly a tourist trap for younger travelers. Every restaurant and bar is playing music louder than the other one, and had 10000 pieces of flair, and it became pretty clear that if were going to get a decently authentic meal we were going to have to look a little harder. Blah Blah Blah authentic-whatever…but look, if I want spaghetti or and hamburger I don’t really think that a random restaurant in the middle of the ocean in Thailand is the place to get it. The effort paid off when we found ourselves at a very humble place called Papaya. The owner guaranteed us that it was the best food on the island and the ratio of Thai to non-Thai in the joint seemed to jive with his claim. I’ll simply say this: Best curry I have ever had to date in my life oh crap it was delicious.
After our meals we rolled (so…much…food) back over to the north beach to partake in some of the revelry. After a few beach rages, glow in the dark t shirts, tight-rope walking pirates, and fire jump ropes we called it a night. Tomorrow we will explore Ko Phi Phi Leh and then head to Phuket on the far western side of Thailand, just south of Myanmar/Burma on the Andaman Sea.
1- View of Ko Phi Phi Leh from Long Beach. Made me think of the scene in the The Beach where they are getting ready to swim.
2- Standard fare for a good time on Phi Phi Island.
3,4 – Views from the Phi Phi Island viewpoint. The first one gives a good idea about how the island is formed with the north bay being the one most visible in the picture.
5- Sunset on the beach on the north bay.