A visit to the tiny islands that make up Ko Phi Phi is an essential part of most Thailand holidays. Once almost unknown, the isles have experienced a tourism boom and an increased number of flights, since the filming of ‘The Beach’, with diving and water sports off shore and bars and beach parties springing up all along the coast. In spite of Ko Phi Phi’s new popularity though, it’s still possible to find quiet, unspoiled spots where you can relax and enjoy the beauty of these islands.
Food and drink
Expect to find delicious traditional Thai dishes such as green curry and sticky rice (yum, yes please), but since the influx of sun-seekers from all over the world, you will also run into international fare like pizza, pasta and burgers (um…but who goes to Thailand for that). The cafes, bars and restaurants are often right on the beach, so you can enjoy the view and soak up the sun while you eat. Beer is plentiful, but the signature drink of the islands is ‘the bucket’; a small pail which contains spirits, mixers and ice, everything you need to prepare your own cocktail.
Sports and recreation
The clear, turquoise water surrounding the islands is the scene for most sports and activities, from kayaking to scuba diving. Whether you prefer snorkelling in the shallows or taking a dive boat out to deeper waters, you’re sure to enjoy warm water and sightings of exotic marine life. You can also take a fishing or sightseeing trip on one of the distinctive longtail boats unique to Thailand.
The islands are pedestrianised, but have good, paved roads, making them perfect for cycling.
Party time (if you can hang)
Ko Phi Phi has a reputation as a party destination, popular with the younger crowd. So if you’re into that kinda thing, head to the beach after the sun goes down, brilliantly lit by neon signs, and get ready to dance, swim, and drink the evening away. Party animals with plenty of stamina will get to round off their night with a glorious sunrise. Or if that’s not your scene, skip all the shindigs and just go for the sunrise instead.
Back to nature
Up in the cooler air of the mountains and forests, you can enjoy hiking in solitude and admire some magnificent sunsets. Try the appropriately named View Point for spectacular views. With a little exploring, you might even find a stretch of white sand all to yourself.
Take a tour of Maya Bay, on Ko Phi Phi Lee, there are no hostels or hotels on this island, but you sleep overnight on the island under canvas and enjoy the quieter side of Thailand–yep, that’s totally up my alley.
If you are planning to go to Thailand, and want to see the now famed islands of Ko Phi Phi, take a ferry from the nearby island of Phuket or from the town of Krabi, both of which have airports, and have fun!