A Quick Trip To Koh Phi Phi


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.

One of the poi performers.
One of the poi performers.

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.

The captain of our long tail boat, and thank goodness... it was not actually a "Booze Cruise."
The captain of our long tail boat, and thank goodness… it was not actually a “Booze Cruise.”
Me, Z, and J on our way to Phi Phi Lee
Me, Z, and J on our way to Phi Phi Lee

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!

I snorkeled in this!
I snorkeled in this!

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.

Z and Chad checking out the monkeys.
Z and Chad checking out the monkeys.
Baby Monkey!!!
Baby Monkey!!!

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!

  30 comments for “A Quick Trip To Koh Phi Phi

  1. thetattootourist
    December 5, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    What an amazing spot to visit! I don’t know much about Southeast Asia or Thailand – I’ve never been – but you sold me on this place!

    • andthreetogo
      December 6, 2014 at 1:09 pm

      I think you would love it!

  2. Sha
    December 6, 2014 at 12:26 am

    Sound like an awesome trip, great company, great sleep, great fun and great scenery..hehehe….I want that so badly now…but I’ve been to the popular beach there and wish I can have more time there. I was on a day tour and only got to spend a short time there but then again, with so many tourists and only a small beach, I don’t think I would be too happy after some time anyway. I still want that beach holiday! Hopefully I can scrape enough $$ for it at year end…haha…:)

    • andthreetogo
      December 6, 2014 at 1:12 pm

      We contemplated doing a day tour but could not pass up a couple of days there. It is so worth it! 🙂 I hope you get there soon!

  3. joylovestravel
    December 6, 2014 at 12:41 am

    Sounds fabulous – monkeys on the beach, buckets of cocktails, boat trips…. what more could you need!! Never tried to snorkel (too claustrophobic) or had a baby sitter along, but I do get a full and uninterrupted night’s sleep (that one took years but you’ll get there!!).

    • andthreetogo
      December 6, 2014 at 1:16 pm

      Those full nights of sleep are something I probably look forward to more than anything else. 🙂
      It was quite a treat having the babysitter with us! We could only afford it here in Thailand for sure. We paid the same wage for two days here that would have equaled 6 hours back home.

  4. Anna (Four Kids One Mom Travel London)
    December 6, 2014 at 1:14 am

    What a fun weekend! The snorkeling looks awesome – if we ever make it there we’ll be sure to give it a try! Great idea to bring the babysitter, too 🙂

    • andthreetogo
      December 6, 2014 at 1:16 pm

      It was a real luxury for sure! I am trying not to get too hooked on it. 🙂

  5. Lani
    December 6, 2014 at 11:39 am

    Looks wonderful. I’ll have to add Koh Phi Phi to my list! Cheers.

    • andthreetogo
      December 6, 2014 at 1:16 pm

      I would love to hear your take on it Lani. 🙂

  6. thehomeschoolingdoctor
    December 6, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    Sounds like a great trip. It looks very beautiful. I’m SO excited you got to snorkel. It’s my favorite thing to do. And wow! A sitter along!

    • andthreetogo
      December 6, 2014 at 1:18 pm

      I know! I am really living the dream now. Haha. But seriously, I LOVED snorkeling. I may actually have to try diving someday… Ah probably not. That’s a bit too extreme for me. 🙂

      • thehomeschoolingdoctor
        December 6, 2014 at 10:36 pm

        I prefer snorkeling because I don’t like all that “gear.” Just me, a mask, and a snorkel–oh yeah, and a friend (husband, daughter, sister, etc). I don’t even like to use fins so diving just doesn’t appeal too much. (Yet?)

  7. freebutfun
    December 6, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    First, congrats to the 10 hours sleep!!! Amazing isn’t it?!
    Sounds like a great trip! Good on you for snorkeling! I don’t dare to do that, I’m too afraid of actually seeing fish ;)and glad to hear you had fun, sometimes parents need to get out too!

    • andthreetogo
      December 6, 2014 at 2:08 pm

      We sure do! I feel refreshed and more like myself now. 🙂 sometimes I get stuck in my “mom” mode and forget to be me.

  8. mamabyfire
    December 7, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    That sounds so awesome! I haven’t gone snorkeling yet, probably one day! My brother was in Thailand a few weeks ago and tried it. He was surprised to find out first hand that some tropical fish bite. Lol! 10 hours of sleep? Amazing!!

    • andthreetogo
      December 7, 2014 at 9:34 pm

      I know, the excitement of 10 hours of sleep almost overrode my excitement of the snorkeling!

  9. Sasha
    December 8, 2014 at 12:05 am

    Such a fun adventure!! And I love how little Z always wants her braids now: too cute!! 🙂

    • andthreetogo
      December 8, 2014 at 12:18 am

      I think it is so cute! I hope she will
      Always find stuff like that fun. 🙂

  10. Holistic Wayfarer
    December 8, 2014 at 8:27 am

    Oh wow, I’m jealous: that water! Proud of you for going through it. Was the water cold? And the poi performers are cool.


    • andthreetogo
      December 8, 2014 at 11:18 am

      The water is like warm bath water. Occasionally you will swim through a really cool spot, but it feels great!

  11. Bronwyn Joy @ Journeys Of The Fabulist
    December 8, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    Can’t believe you hadn’t snorkeled before! Although I can understand that the mask is a bit claustrophobic. But seriously, how long have you been living there?? 🙂

    We were interested in going to Phi Phi island on our June trip but it was too short. In hindsight, maybe what we should have done instead of James Bond Island, but we didn’t know all the logistics at the time. Sounds like an overnight is even better!

    • andthreetogo
      December 8, 2014 at 8:10 pm

      If you only had a day, I would go to Coral Island (banana beach) because it is cheap, easy, and fun. Phi Phi is not what I would recommend for a day trip. Especially with kids. It’s a much better overnight or two place.
      And, yes I know! After visiting Thailand numerous times over the years and now living here for a year… it took me that long to get over my fear of snorkeling. But at least I did right? haha

      • Bronwyn Joy @ Journeys Of The Fabulist
        December 9, 2014 at 2:33 pm

        Do you regret taking so long?

        • andthreetogo
          December 9, 2014 at 2:45 pm

          Nah, I probably would if we were going back to the US right away or something.

          • Bronwyn Joy @ Journeys Of The Fabulist
            December 9, 2014 at 2:53 pm

            Fair enough. Another bit of experience to add, then!

  12. thebritishberliner
    December 11, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    Phi Phi is amazing! I haven’t been to any of the Thai islands but I’ve heard wonderful things about them. Next time perhaps?
    You guys had a wonderful time. And it’s it fantastic when family members visit and you can show them why you’re not coming home LOL!

    I tried snorkelling for the first time in Egypt. On the Red Sea. It was brilliant! The water was just so crystal clear and the little fish spent a lot of time trying to nibble my feet. We still talk about it and this was when my son was 2 years old. He’s 12 now!
    I’ve also been on a cruise in Halong Bay in Vietnam and while everyone was swimming, I had a massage on the boat and my nails done, and a million Vietnamese girls fawning over my every need so……!

    I used to have a Polish cleaner and a German nanny. Sigh! She was great but taking her with us on holiday would have put me into bankruptcy LOL! It’s a great idea if you can though as sometimes, you do need that quality time. Right now, we snatch that time when “The Tall Young Gentleman” goes camping, is on a school trip, or goes to his grandparents!

    Do I get to sleep all night with no interruptions? Nope! I’m a really light sleeper. Even the cat gets me up!

    • andthreetogo
      December 11, 2014 at 2:13 pm

      The Red Sea?! I never realized that you can snorkel in it! I have so much more traveling to do!
      I would never had a babysitter come with us… But at $60 for the whole weekend, plus room and board, it was well worth it!

  13. Amy
    January 17, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    We are staying on Phi Phi Don 29th Jan for 3 nights with our 5 month old and 23 month old! I’ve read about bringing our own life jackets for the baby and toddler, (thats easier said than done!! Would you say we need them? I have found a company who hire them in Phuket xXx

    • andthreetogo
      January 17, 2015 at 10:17 pm

      Hmmm… I would say that is probably a personal decision. The boats are supposed to provide them for their passengers and make them wear them while in transit, but I have yet to see anyone doing this. At least not on the boats I have taken. When we visited Phi Phi, we had our daughter wear her water wings while we all snorkeled with her.
      So it is really up to you. You could check with the boat operators/ticket sellers to see if they provide infant/toddler life jackets before you get your tickets.
      I hope that was helpful? Let me know if you have any other questions! Have a great time!

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