The ferry ride to Ko Phi Phi is fairly quick and easy: a long tail takes you directly to the ferry and approximately an hour later, you pull into the pier at Ko Phi Phi. After paying a 20 baht “clean up fee,” we walked through the throngs of people in Tonsai Beach, the main drag of the island. Dive shops abound, with trips not only to the reef and wrecks along the island but also live aboard trips to the Similan Islands…next time.
We had made reservations at a resort on Long Beach, a less crowded beach about 30 minutes down the beach. It’s not a bad hike, but with our backpacks, I have to admit that I was a bit toasty when we arrived. The lodging was not exactly as expected (to hear Brian’s description, check out his post here), so we ended up at Paradise Resort down the road.
The best part of Ko Phi Phi is, honestly, the beach. The water is crystal clear and the sand is gorgeous. There are plenty of low trees to provide ample shade and there really seems to be nothing more important than lazing around, enjoying the scenery (speedos and topless sunbathers notwithstanding).
Tonsai Beach is quite a happening spot and we wandered over there a couple of times. Heather and Brian hiked to a scenic overlook and got some amazing photos. There’s a great cooking school in town through Pum’s restaurant that Heather and Brian really enjoyed. I was busy dealing with some nasty stomach issues, so I didn’t get to cook. However, I had firm promises from the Travelmeisters that they will show me what they learned at some point and I’ll be able to taste the teachings. If you want to hear about the cooking lesson, check out Heather’s post here.
After three lazy days on Ko Phi Phi, it was time to head to Phuket for our plane to Bangkok and on to Cambodia. I liked Ko Phi Phi, I did, but it’s definitely more expensive than the other islands that we visited. The island also seems to have had its bait of tourists, as well. No one was unfriendly, but the overall vibe from the people that I met was definitely one of a resort mentality: “I know that you’re here and I’m making my living off of you, but I don’t have to like it.”
What with the stomach issues and a decidedly unhelpful guy at Long Beach
Divers (note: if you want to dive from Long Beach, head to Blackfin Diving just a few feet down the beach and talk to Vickie. She’s great), I didn’t get to dive here, but it’s supposed to be one of the best spots in Thailand. I’m honestly not sure if that will be enough to bring me back to Ko Phi Phi, though.
Long Beach resort will take you on long boat directly to the ferry to Phuket, so that was an easy trip of maybe an hour and a half on the ferry. An overnight near the airport (we found a bicycle built for three!) and an easy flight to Bangkok rounded out our time in Thailand. On to the kingdom of Cambodia!