We landed on Koh Phi Phi island not knowing too much about it, other than a colleague from work telling me that I absolutely ‘had to stay on Phi Phi‘. It was our second stop in the south of Thailand (after two days in Phuket), so we were still pretty fresh to adapting to the absolute awe-inspiring beauty of the islands and coastline. If you’re planning a trip around the Thai islands, here are 8 things to know about Koh Phi Phi so that you know a bit more about what to expect.
1. Koh Phi Phi island tax
Like many of the islands there is an island tax that you’ll have to pay upon entering Koh Phi Phi. This one was the cheapest that we came across though – only 10 Baht per person. Just make sure you have it handy when you’re getting off the boat/ferry.
2. There are no taxi’s or scooters
Koh Phi Phi has no taxi’s or scooters on the island (apart from a few Police scooters). You therefore need to walk everywhere. It’s best to either let your hotel know what time you’ll be arriving so that they can have someone waiting for you on the pier (with a trolley to carry your bags), otherwise you’ll have to walk in the heat loaded with bags to your hotel. If you do decide to walk though (or if nobody arrives to pick you up), make sure that you’ve saved clear instructions on how to get to your hotel so that you know what direction to walk it. Otherwise, just ask around, someone is likely to know where you need to go.
3. You will get lost a few times
On the above point, you’ll be walking all over Phi Phi and as small as the island is you’ll inevitably get lost (a few times). There are so many criss-crossing paths, that tend to be quite confusing (especially at night…after a bucket…). We just wandered around, seeing what we would come across along our path. The one night though, I’m sure it took us about 3 hours to get back to our hotel (this was after a few buckets though). Just be ready to up your daily step count ten fold when on Phi Phi.
4. Scuba-diving & snorkeling trips
If you’re looking to go scuba-diving or snorkeling while in Thailand, Phi Phi could be your place. There are loads of tours available offering full day and half day scuba-diving and snorkeling trips. If you’re looking to do a scuba-diving course though, and have time to hop over to the eastern islands during your trip, I’d recommend rather doing it on Koh Tao. There seemed to be a lot more scuba places there, and the snorkeling that we did on Koh Tao was absolutely amazing, so I’m sure the scuba-diving is insane.
5. It’s a party island
From late afternoon all the way into the early hours of the morning, Koh Phi Phi turns into one big party island. Every night is party night on Koh Phi Phi and you’ll no doubt get sucked in. The beaches are lined with bars, all selling the notorious buckets (potent bucket filled with spirits and energy drink), entertaining guests with fire dancers, limbo competitions and beer pong while each pumping out their own beats and light shows. If you go towards the centre of the island, you’ll find more bars with crazy partying and even a Muay Thai ring where you can enter to go fight and get a free bucket. Our two nights on Phi Phi were the craziest of our entire month in Thailand – it sucked us in big time.
6. Food is crazy expensive
As with all of the small islands, prices are hiked on Phi Phi. Expect to pay double (or more) than what you’ll pay inland for food. Because the island is very touristy, there are loads of restaurants selling ‘Western’ food, which is also quite expensive. There are very few local places to eat affordably (that we could find anyway).
7. It’s beautiful
Phi Phi is absolutely breathtaking. The beaches on both sides of the island are beautiful, the water is clear torquoise and the long boats parked along the shores make for your typical Thailand photograph. Going into the middle of the island is less attractive and very touristy – so stick to the beaches. If you join a tour group, you’ll be spoilt with even more beauty of the surrounding islands.
8. Sunsets are incredible
Any sunset over the ocean is amazing – and Phi Phi is yet another spot in Thailand where you can enjoy the sunset. Just make sure you’re on the right beach!
We stayed on Koh Phi Phi for two nights, which I think was the perfect time. We had seen enough of the island on our two days there, including a full day snorkeling trip to the surrounding islands. And to be honest, we couldn’t handle another night of partying.
We stayed at Phi Phi Don Chukit – while it wasn’t the most amazing accommodation, it suited us fine. It’s in a great location, not too far to walk to and just out of the party scene so you aren’t kept awake by the party-goers. They also have a pool that overlooks the ocean which was great to cool off in. Their restaurant is also quite fairly priced compared to the other restaurants on the island. We had the seafood Phad Thai which was delicious, and they weren’t shy on the seafood (winning!).