There is one place in southern Thailand that has always drawn Chad and I back in during our travels. We love it for its beautiful white-sand beaches, delicious food options, and its crazy night life. Koh Phi Phi has always had our hearts and we spent some pretty substantial time there while we traveling in Southeast Asia years ago.
Surprisingly, even after staying here in Phuket for the past 9 months which is just a mere 2 hour ferry ride away, we had not been back to Phi Phi (pronounced pee pee). We didn’t really want to go by ourselves and were looking for friends or family that wanted to join us… Enter my sister and Chad’s brother who just happen to be visiting. We decided that it was the time and we wanted to show our siblings why we love Phi Phi Island. They were willing
victims participants and seemed pretty excited despite their overwhelming jet lag.
We took the afternoon ferry from the Ratsada (also spelled Rassada) pier in Phuket Town. I was so pleased to see that the boat was not full and that we would be able have seats in the air-conditioned lower deck. I had taken ferries to Phi Phi in the past that were so full, there was only standing room, which becomes uncomfortable about 10 minutes into the 2 hour-long journey. Especially since we were traveling with our toddler this time around, I was thankful for those seats.
There was a huge first during this trip for Chad, Z, and I… and no it was not that we were showing our siblings a part of Thailand that we have always loved. We splurged and hired our babysitter, J, to come to the island with us. It cost us quite a bit more paying for one more adult the whole time, but Chad and I really wanted to have a night out on the island with our guests. It was sometimes strange and awkward for me as I have never done that before, but J was awesome and helpful, and Z loves her so it was a wonderful treat.
But I digress….
We arrived at Phi Phi Don, which is the largest of the islands in Koh Phi Phi and is shaped like an irregular H, two long hilly regions held together with a sandbar in the center. The center sandbar is where the pier is, as well as most of the shops, restaurants, and bars. Everything is within walking distance, and cars are not allowed on the island. In fact only special scooters are allowed (for example, the hospital has a couple of scooters with side cars that they must use as ambulances) and so everything that needs to be transported is pushed in large metal cart type things. I wish I had a picture of one of them, but they were usually running
over past us and I was too busy jumping out of the way. It was too perilous to try to take a picture. Bicycles are allowed as well, but honestly walking is much easier through the crowded tiny streets, even with a toddler in tow.
We had booked rooms at the ChongKhao Resort on the western side of the island, which we chose because it is the quieter and more family friendly side of the island. It was a small room, but was clean and comfortable. We dropped off our bags and set out to look around.
My sister was too jet lagged and decided to rest before our big night out. Z , J and I, stopped at a salon named P.P. Marijuana Massage. I laughed out loud when I noticed it… sometimes the names of places in Thailand are so funny! Anyways, we have a tradition that Z gets her hair done in braids when ever we travel in Thailand, so as soon as she saw that they offered it, she was asking for it. I took the opportunity to get a foot massage. Chad and his brother made their way to the viewpoint on the eastern side of the island. We all met back for dinner and then got ready to go out on the town.
Chad and I along with my sister and his brother started our night out on Loh Dalum Bay at the beach bars that have Poi (fire dancing) performances.
From there the night took us around to other places that I cannot name because I didn’t care what their names were. It was just a great time hanging out with my best friend/husband and our guests. We drank some buckets (cocktails served in sand buckets to share), watched some Muay Thai, and went back to our rooms way too late.
The next day was slow to start for us… I have no idea why (maybe I was just a little hungover), but we made up for lost time by booking a private long tail boat to go snorkeling around Phi Phi Lee (also spelled Leh) , the smaller island to the south of Phi Phi Don (where we were staying). Phi Phi Lee became famous due to the movie ‘The Beach’ being partially filmed on it and so EVERYONE has to take a boat tour of the area while visiting Phi Phi… it is a prerequisite. Okay, not really, but it is really beautiful, you should do it.
I accomplished something that day that I had been trying to do for the last 8 years. I snorkeled for the first time ever! I had always struggled with feelings of claustrophobia due to the mask, but I was able to push through it and snorkel!!!! I was so excited and I am now hooked and want to snorkel again as soon as possible. It was such fun! And there was no better place to snorkel for the first time than in the clear aquamarine waters of Koh Phi Phi. It was outstanding!
One of the stops on our long tail boat adventure was Monkey Island which was quite crowded, not only with monkeys, but tourists who were acting more like monkeys than the monkeys. The monkeys were very well fed and quite unafraid of us humans. They were calm while we were there, but I had heard of people being bitten and such, so we were careful to keep Z close.
We spent three hours boating from snorkel spot to snorkel spot, it was fabulous, and at only 1500 baht (about $46 USD at time of publishing) it felt like a steal. It was a perfect afternoon. I want more.
We ended the day walking to a nearby restaurant and watching the sunset as we ate. The food we had in Phi Phi was mediocre, but admittedly our guests really only wanted western food, so I can’t really complain about it not being that great. I am pretty stuck on Thai food even after all this time, so western food here is a little blah to me most of the time.
After the sun had set, we all realized how tired we were and promptly went back to our rooms and slept the night away. That was the most sleep I have gotten in three years! And all of us (even Z!) slept the sleep of those that actually get to sleep the whole night through. I didn’t even know that was possible anymore!
Looking back over our time in Phi Phi, I can say, yep, this was a great trip! We had a night out on the town as adults on one of our favorite islands, spent time with our siblings, spent an awesome day out at Phi Phi Lee, I snorkeled for the first time, and we ALL slept for about 10 hours straight! It was a GREAT trip! I feel blessed to have had it.
Now it’s your turn! Have you ever tried to snorkel? What about taken a babysitter with you on a quick getaway? Do you get to sleep all night with no interruptions (if so I may be a little jealous)? Leave a comment and join in the conversation!