Koh Phi Phi: Paradise Island or Overrun Tourist trap?

Koh Phi Phi Leh, Thailand  

The Koh Phi Phi islands were made famous in the 90’s as the location for the movie “The Beach”. The movie focused on a secret paradise island with a beach surrounded by limestone cliffs, much like the Emerald Cave around Koh Lanta. The exact island is Koh Phi Phi Lay, that now has a National Park status, meaning no building is allowed on the island. Both islands were hit hard in the 2004 Tsunami, and almost all the accommodation and other buildings on Koh Phi Phi Don was devastated. With everything destroyed there were massive hotels built where the cheap bungalows used to be. This turned the beloved backpackers town into an area better designed for packaged tourists. Even if Leonardo Dicapro never stepped foot here, the massive beauty alone of these sister islands have and still attract many people to come see the area for themselves.

Dee Swimming Pool Koh Phi Phi Don, Thailand

The face of happyness.

But some people don’t like this new Phi Phi, and actually say it’s the most overrated island in Thailand! Saying that it’s overpriced and has horrible water, statements that made us a little nervous going here with Dee’s parents in tow. But a huge sigh of relief was felt when we finally set foot on Koh Phi Phi Don, it’s one of the more beautiful islands we’ve been to in Thailand!

Koh Phi Phi Don, Thailand
Phi Phi Villa’s amazing swimming pool

Sure, the accommodations are more expensive and there’s much less budget options. But we were with Dee’s parents, Dieter and Terry, and were going to stay in something a bit nicer anyways. And for what we paid for a run down private hostel room with ensuite bathroom in Europe, we got a great 4 star hotel room that was near the back of their property. Away from any noise, and not too far away to get to the pool. With breakfast included, it was no deal by Thailand standards but much less than expected for the luxury that surrounded us, around $50 a night.

Fresh fish on Koh Phi Phi Don, Thailand
Is it time to eat yet?

The real nice thing about Koh Phi Phi? It’s made to be a walking town with a main path that goes along the beach, and another few paths that join the two beaches. We never once needed to hail a tuk tuk, it was so easy to walk around and try the different food that was on display everywhere, and how good it was! There was fresh fish, prawns and various other types of seafood everywhere for about the same price as anywhere else in Thailand at a nice beach side sit down restaurant. The main difference was almost all restaurants don’t open until after 6pm as they are waiting to receive the catch of the day. You literally watch the boats come in, deliver the catch to the restaurants, watch the staff set up the displays with tons of ice and then finally after drooling for what seems like an eternity, they let you in to feast. If you love seafood this is a must for you! We live in Vancouver which is known for it’s fresh supply of constant seafood, but it’s hard to believe the seafood is as fresh as what you can get on Koh Phi Phi.

It’s easy to book a tour for anything you wish on the island with it’s most popular options being scuba diving or snorkelling at it’s world famous sites. We did that next, and it was amazing! More on that tomorrow.

Koh Phi Phi Don, Thailand
Sure doesn’t looked packed to me

Koh Phi Phi is far better than Phuket was and even Koh Lanta. It’s easy to walk everywhere and the beaches are nice with some of the softest sand your feet will ever set foot on. Plus there are not that many people on them at all as some sites might claim. The locals are very friendly and we had a great time making deals with the vendors. If your thinking of going to Thailand, you’d do yourself a favour to spend the extra cash and stay on this island for a couple of nights. It’s really is a remarkable place!

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