There are some places you visit that because of the hype, simply can’t live up to expectations.
Phi Phi (pronounced Pee Pee) is not one of those places.
Despite being the superstar of Thailand’s island scene, crystal clear turquoise waters dotted with awe-inspiring limestone crags that seem to stretch upward toward the sun, make this one of the most magical places on Earth.
Made up of six small islands just a 45 minute speedboat or 90 minute ferry ride away from Phuket, Phi Phi is one of Thailand’s most popular holiday spots.
Two islands are the main attraction, with the smaller one Phi Phi Leh, despite being uninhabitable, stuns visitors with its shallow, protected swimming lagoons, limestone caves and sheer jaw dropping cliffs. It’s two beaches Loh Samah and Maya Bay – used as the main location for the 2000 Hollywood film starring Leonardo DiCaprio – are breathtaking.
Phi Phi Don is where you can choose to do nothing on one of the quieter beaches or party with the best of them at Tonsai Village, the main port. With no cars or roads, the village is a bustling labyrinth of stalls and shops selling everything from fake Rolex’s to Thai silk scarves. Waterfront restaurants, clubs and bars ramp up the action once daytrippers head home.
If the point of your visit is simply to get away, then stay away from Tonsai Bay, grab a long boat to Long Beach. A few sunset Singha’s are about as rowdy as it gets and daytime action is nothing more than snaring one of the hammocks under the low lying trees at the water’s edge.
1. Wander past the only Mosque on Phi Phi Don that calls most of its Muslim population to prayer at 5am each morning.
2. Hire a longboat and driver for the day for the same price as a group tour without the frills.
3. Visit the Viking Cave on Phi Phi Lei where there’s a thriving bird’s nest soup industry.
4. Take a dive among the limestone cliffs.
5. Try a Tonsai Bay “bucket”. Party goers are given ice, Red Bull (energy drink), half a bottle of the spirit and mixers which they simply add together and dig in with their straws. The rest is a rather hazy history.