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.