Ko Phi Phi Don

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Ko Lanta had a “back to civilization” vibe for us, but Ko Phi Phi Don was mre of a “back to degeneration” stop.

We had heard a lot about it. Ko Phi Phi (yes, it’s pronounced “pee-pee”!) has the best beach in Thailand, it’s a must-stop etc. Well, what we found there was very different from what we were expecting.

The boat from Ko Lanta to Phucket via Ko Phi Phi was packed. Upon arriving in Ko Phi Phi, we were charged a 20 Bath fee for “clean parking”, whatever that means. We then started looking for accommodation. It didn’t go too well: the few places we saw were way over our budget and overpriced for Thailand. We eventually ended up in a small bungalow hidden out of the way. The place wasn’t great: no sink, no flushing toilet, insects everywhere and a mosquito net with a hole (which kind of defies the purpose of a mosquito net). I was also worried about security since it’s extremely easy to break-in in a bamboo bungalow—locks are flimsy and can be busted easily.

Phi Phi Don’s village is a maze of tiny little streets with Internet café, “tourist information desks” (a fancy name for private tour operators), massage places and “Italian & Thai food” restaurants. A bit further are the bars and the tattoo shops. Why would anyone in his right mind get inked in these improvised tattoo parlours is beyond my understanding. Every two seconds, you could hear “bip bip” behind you, the signal that bikes or carts were trying to get through the crowd.

The “beach” was laughable by Thai standard. Sure, if we would have flown directly from Ottawa, we may have enjoyed it. But the strip of sand was packed and dirty, and so was the water (Feng even found a 100 Bath dollars bill in it!). Speed boats and motor boats were parked everywhere in the water, making it hard to swim, and workers were varnishing/ painting boats directly on the beach. The smell of solvent was strong enough to get you high just walking by.

The crowd was a young “oh-my-God-I-love-backpacking-booze-is-so-cheap-here” crowd. The kind of people who party and drink hard, and spend the following day updating their Facebook status. At night, somewhat sexy Western girls try to lure guys into bars and “buckets” (literally, metal buckets with several kinds of alcohol) are for sale in the streets. The music started pounding around 10:30 p.m. and didn’t stop until 3 a.m. It was crazy: you could hear the beat from the other side of the island.

We didn’t enjoy the Spring break atmosphere much and we found Ko Phi Phi was overpriced for what it had to offer. The funny thing is, people rave about how pretty the beach is, but really, I doubt most care. What matters here is the holy trinity of party—sex, booze and drugs.

You can see the complete set of pictures taken in Thailand on Flickr.

Temple in Phi Phi Don

Party Left Over

Phi Phi Beach

Small Temple

Stolen Kiss

Maze of Information

Sandals for Sale

The Poo Garden (open sewer)

Night Market

Buckets of Booze

Silly Monkey

Fruits Stall

Where To Go Next?


About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. Geez, why would anyone drink alcool from a metal bucket? It really looks like the kind of place I would not enjoy! I hope your next stop is more fun 😉

  2. Booze by the bucket may have the practical advantage of serving as a barf bucket after you have drunk the booze. Actually I think I will leave this place off of my bucket list.

    I enjoy your travel updates. You have each other to rely on if things get squirrely. Have fun and be safe.

  3. Speaking of Facebook status update…
    When I was in Java, due to change in IP address, FB asked me lots of questions to confirm my identity. Damn it!

    The ‘small temple’ is more like an altar. Chinese have them too, though in different shapes.

  4. I was gonna post ‘Ko Phi Phi Don’ too! Yup, the exact same title for my post! Has been saving it in draft for days since I dont have the time to complete my entry.

    The beach ain’t the best – I still prefer Railay’s. I find it chaotic and crowded… But well, strangely enough, I fell in love with this madness. Could be the lanes and alleys that give me the feeling that the island has much more to be explored (esp the rural parts). 🙂

  5. Salut Zhu,

    How are you both doing? I have been busy but I like to come back and check up on you guys 😉
    I have heard of this area and its repuatation. It sounds like its true!
    But you can say that you have seen it. I don’t think that I want to check it out after you guys.

    Take care.

  6. @Cynthia – I guess it’s fun for some people, mostly the late teens there. I don’t get it either!

    @Linguist-in-Waiting – Yeah, people drink a lot in Thailand. I remember some travelers complaining that Malaysia was “dry” compare to Thailand, I understand why now.

    @Tulsa Gentleman – 😆 I didn’t think of it but yeah, it has a practical use!

    @khengsiong – You are right, altar is more correct. Yahoo keeps on asking me to confirm my identity too… pain in the butt.

    @kyh – I can see why the chaos can be fun, and I think we didn’t explore enough. But frankly, Phi Phi was overpriced and over-crowded. I liked Railay too, more my kind of atmopshere even though it was raining when we were there.

    @barbara – Bonjour Barbara, tout va bien ici! On profite des dernières semaines avant le froid 😉

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