Koh Phi Phi, Thailand.

We arrived on the island of Koh Phi Phi by the ferry-boat from Koh Lanta. When arriving on the island you are required to pay a 20 baht ‘clean up’ fee. We paid this at the pier as soon as we walked off the ferry with our bags. We had researched that our hotel we were staying at was at the far side of the island and offered a free boat service from the pier, so we found the guy standing on the pier with the sign for ‘Bay View Resort‘ and hopped straight into his wee long tail boat. He took our names on his register and we waited for a few more people. After a couple of minutes or so the others all boarded and we were on our way. The boat journey took all of 5 minutes, if even! It dropped us still pretty far out from shore (as there was no pier) so we had to take our shoes off and walk in from the sea, carrying our rucksack’s our backs and praying we didn’t drop them in.  We then checked in to reception and were given directions to our room. Our room was perfectly located on hill, over-looking the bay. It was such a stunning view!

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After checking out our room and dumping our bags, we headed back out and walked down to the main strip of Phi Phi. It only took us about 20 minutes to walk from the far end of the island to the middle strip. With the pier on one side of the island and a white sandy beach with crystal clear waters on the other, we opted for the beach! We lay chilling and tanning for a couple of hours before grabbing lunch at a wee beach-side cafe. Feeling more energized after lunch, we decided to hike up to the famous Phi-Phi island viewpoint. It was about a half hour/ 40 minute hike up through the hills and as it was in the middle of the day, it was a very hot and sweaty hike! Although once we got up to the top, the views were unreal! You could see the crystal blue waters surrounding the island on either side, and the white sandy beach running alongside. It was picture perfect.

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We took in the views and chilled at the here for about an hour or so, there were lots of other tourists about, snapping photos, soaking up the sunshine and enjoying the views. There was even a wee shop at the top selling snacks and refreshments, and also some very disgusting “toilets” aka holes in the ground, which after asking the cafe man to use I decided I would hold it in until we were back down the hill. After heading back down the hill, we walked back to our little bay-view villa and got ourselves showered and ready and then headed back down to the main strip for dinner and drinks. On Phi-Phi, there is lots of choice for food and drink! We wandered about for a good bit trying to decide between all the options before finally opting for an Italian style pizza place- which was a nice change from all the Thai dishes we had been eating most other meals.

The next day we did the “3 Islands Day Trip”. This is one day we will never forgot! I highly recommend anyone travelling to Phi-Phi to do this trip, it’s the typical touristy one and despite the business it is AMAZING! We boarded a long-tail boat at the pier for a 9am take off, with a group of around 10 others.

First stop was ‘Monkey Beach‘. This is a small beach just off the side of Phi-Phi, it didn’t take long to get to via boat- only 5 minutes or so! Arriving on the beach, there is… yep, you guessed it.. MONKEYS EVERYWHERE! Even a lot of baby monkeys too which were super cute! They were surprisingly tame, obviously used to mass numbers of tourists arriving on the island daily. We managed to get right up close to some of them and also noticed that other people had brought food which the monkeys would literally take right out of their hands- there was even a few shoulder climbers!

We stopped on monkey island for about 20 minutes before being called back on to the boat for the next stop- the famous Maya Bay! It was a slightly longer and much more bumpy, boat ride this time as Island is far out to the right of Phi Phi. Maya Bay is famous after featuring in the movie ‘The Beach’ as a hidden paradise, when we arrived we understood why. It was probably one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. It literally looked just as stunning as in the movie (we watched The Beach just before we started our travels). The boat pulled in into the shore squeezed in among numerous others. The only that was quite different of the Bay compared to the movie, was the vast number of people that swarmed the beach, taking endless photos, being typical tourists. But as soon as we got off the boat, we joined them and got lots of photos! The sights were amazing, totally picture perfect. After we felt we had enough photos of the bay (see a few snaps below) we lay on the white sandy white and chilled for an hour before we were due back at the boat.

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Even although it was so busy, it was the most relaxing beach. I think purely just because the views were so stunning, I kind of shut everything else out to take them in. Paddling our way back on to the tail-longed boat, we boarded and straight away were given lunch consisting of a small white box with some rice and chicken and a bottle of water. Good thing it was only a small lunch as it wasn’t long before we arrived at our third stop. We were just polishing off our lunch as the boat stopped the engine, anchored the boat and our tour guide whipped out a box of snorkels and fins for everyone to use. We got kitted up and jumped in straight away, the water was lovely temperature for swimming and snorkeling under we saw hundreds of colourful fish which were really cool. We messed around snorkeling for a good while, getting lots of GoPro footage of the fish and surroundings. We then jumped onto the boat to drip dry and make our way to the last stop of day-Pileh Bay! Pileh Bay is a small lagoon to the East of Phi Phi. The lagoon was breathtakingly beautiful, despite the fact that there were at least seven others boats in the bay. We anchored down for twenty-five minutes or so and had some time to jump from the boat and take a dip in the clear blue water. It was a good relaxing way to end an entire day full of relaxation and amazingly, breathtakingly beautiful sights.

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Overall, Koh Phi-Phi was probably my favourite of the Thai island which we visited. Although, it sometimes now gets a bad rep for being ‘ruined by tourists’. The beauty of the place is still undeniable. If you like peaceful places with no one or nothing around, then maybe Koh Phi-Phi isn’t the place, as yes, it is a major tourist and traveler spot! Personally, I liked the kind of vibe it created. Sure, it would of been nice if the islands tour wasn’t packed with 100’s of tour boats pulling in to the same location as you with masses of people unloading onto the beaches but overall, the was a good buzz about the island and also a fantastic night-life scene. Definitely worth checking out!

Next up: Phuket.

Gillian O'Neil

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