Following stints in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket, we were anxious to get a taste of remote island life. Sure, Phuket is technically an island, but the attitude and characteristics you find there are not quite those associated with a laid back island personality you might find in Koh Phi Phi for example. Phuket is a tourist mecca, but Koh Phi Phi doesn’t even allow motorized vehicles. Sound cool? We thought so, thus we purchased tickets for 600 baht/person to take us to Phi Phi. This is the first time we started to truly embrace the many tourist agencies you can find at every street corner in Thailand. Prices we have found are competitive, and services are provided as promised.
Our ferry arrived in Koh Phi Phi Don, the north island, in the early afternoon, leaving plenty of time to find accommodation. Pulling into the pier, we actually stepped down into a foot of water off of the ferry platform. For whatever reason, they decided not to use the pier to let us disembark. The crystal clear waters, and the blue hue it wore so beautifully put smiles on our faces, as we realized we were truly living in the post cards we have seen all our lives.
The first thing you notice on Koh Phi Phi is that no motorized vehicles are permitted. Transport is restricted to your own two feet, and carts are used to haul baggage, and supplies. Everything on the island, is within a 20-30 minute walking distance, and paved paths guide your way.
Reasonable accommodations and great restaurants can be found along any street. We love a particular restaurant, Khun Va, and ate there several times. Their red curry is amazing.
There are quite a few options for activities in Koh Phi Phi, if you are in the mood. We opted for a day tour visiting the most popular areas in the surrounding islands. Taking the afternoon trip, we were ferried via a longtail boat from 11:00 to 6:30 to Bamboo Island, Monkey Beach and Maya Bay among other sites. The trip also included lunch, and snorkeling equipment. Stopping several times, we had opportunities for off the boat snorkeling and had plenty of time at each location. The trip was a great value at 450 baht/person.
Bamboo Island was our first stop on the tour, and it was absolutely beautiful. Unspoiled by tourists and locals alike, as no one lives there, it is a great place to pick a spot on the beach and imagine it as your own private island. You can actually arrange to camp in the island.
If you’ve ever watched the movie The Beach, then you’ve seen Koh Phi Phi Lae, the south island. No one lives on the island, and it holds Maya Bay, among its beauties. Maya Bay is a beautiful beach hugged on either side by encroaching mountains, creating a bay of protection and solitude.
The longtail boat in Thailand is the quintessential water vehicle of Thailand, especially among the islands.
Our trip included several stops for snorkeling. Each location gave us about 45 minutes to an hour to dive in and take in the natural beauty. The water was beautiful and clear, offering views of the coral and fish even from the perch of the boat.
Since a movie was filmed here, we couldn’t help memorializing our visit with a little extra creativity.
Probably the most hysterically funny thing we’ve experienced in the last couple of weeks was during our visit to Monkey Beach. The monkey’s pretty much take over the beach, meeting visitors to accept their share of bananas and other goodies. The funny started when some Japanese tourists fell victim to the harassment of the beach monkey gang. Probably one of those had to be there moments, but you can get an idea from the video above.
We were fortunate enough to meet up with Ritu and Sahir, friends of friends, who happened to be in Koh Phi Phi at the same time. They were great and we had a lot of fun with them the couple of days we were in Phi Phi. Ritu was able to celebrate her birthday in style with some fire limbo and Sahir schooled on the elegance of bidet’s and the lifestyle a good Toto can provide.