Let's travel to: Koh Phi Phi, Thailand
Koh Phi Phi is definitely one of the most beautiful islands within Thailand, and arguably the globe. It has everything you can ever ask for as a backpacker travelling through SE Asia. From the best scuba diving, amazing pad thai, incredible adventures, and outstanding nightlife, Koh Phi Phi is a must-travel.
The name Phi Phi is in fact pronounced “pee pee”, and the name Koh is Thai for ‘island’ (Island Pee Pee) – so don’t say “fee fee” or you might get a funny look!
Koh Phi Phi is composed of 6 islands and they lie 50 km south east of Phuket
The island is comprised of caves, aqua blue water, white sandy beaches, and limestone cliffs
The island is quite famous for the movie “The Beach” that was filmed on Maya Beach; you can find a cheap taxi boat to get you to this island for about 200 Baht per person on a boat of 8 people. Most people are looking to do this excursion so filling your boat will not be a problem
Language: Thai – mostly everyone speaks English
Currency: Thai Baht
Population: 67 million
Transportation: There are no main roads on the island, however you can get around either by foot quite easily given the small size of the island, or you can use a motorbike / get a ride on a tuk tuk. Make sure to agree on your price in advance!
To get from mainland Thailand to Koh Phi Phi, you would need to make your way to Surat Thani which is at the south coast of Thailand. From there, you would either need to take a taxi boat or a ferry, a ferry being much cheaper. The ferry costs about 800 Baht and takes about 3 hours – this ferry is also a great place to meet fellow backpackers like yourself
There are two sides of the island. The first being the pier where all the boats and ferries will drop you off. The other side is where the main beach is – this area is where most hostels, bars, and restaurants are located. When you first arrive, you will have to walk through the island to the other side to get to your hostel which takes about 15 minutes
What you will notice with Koh Phi Phi, is that the island is super quiet during the day. So if you wake up before 2 pm, expect an empty island! Don’t be alarmed when you get off your ferry in the afternoon and the island is dead. This is because the early risers are all doing excursions (scuba, hiking, etc.) and the rest of the backpackers are sleeping in their hostels after a late night of partying!
What to do
When visiting Koh Phi Phi, staying for around 3 to 7 days will give you ample time to cover the whole island. In that time, you should do the following (while not sleeping much if you’re there for only 3 days):
Take a taxi boat with some friends to Monkey Island, where you will see monkeys hanging out in the wild
Scuba and snorkel
Canoeing and watersports
Go to Maya Beach – this is where Leonardo DiCaprio’s movie “The Beach” was filmed
Cliff jumping off 20 metre limestone cliffs
Relax on the beach, get a tan, go for a swim, and have a drink
Hike up to “Koh Phi Phi Viewpoint” where you can find the best view of the whole island – it’s incredible, you must do this. The hike takes about 30 mins, so bring a water bottle because of the humidity and the steepness of the hike
And if you’re feeling hungover from the night before, you can lie on the beach in front of Stones bar on their bean bag couches among other backpackers like yourself
What to eat
Pad thai (of course): Some of the best quality pad thai in Thailand can be found in the islands - Koh Phi Phi being one of them. The taste, portion size, customer service, and love put into the food of the islands definitely sets their food apart. (Make sure to ask for lime!)
You’ll get better quality and larger portions if you eat at a tiny café with space for a max of 8 people to eat - or a food stand. The prices are a lot cheaper, the food is way better - fresh and made right in front of you by chefs that care about their food, and you. I know eating street food can be a risk, but hey, I never got sick once so give it a shot!
Where to go out
When you first arrive at Koh Phi Phi, you might think you are going to have a chill couple of days. But believe me, you are wrong. At night, the beach becomes a massive party. The whole beach lights up and every bar on the beach blasts music. This island took me completely by surprise - at night all the party goers come alive and wake up from their slumber and every bar gets packed!
There are about 10 bars along the beach, as the length of the main area is about 1-2 football fields long. Most people on the beach will usually start at one bar, then hop to the next ones as the night progresses.
The go-to bars to party are Blancos and Stones bar. These bars are also hostels as well, so if you’re staying at either of them, don’t expect to sleep until about 5 am when the music simmers down. A nice night out would be to start at Stones and have a couple drinks at around 8 pm while watching the fire show (which is absolutely insane!) As the night continues, people shift to Blancos at around 10 pm. This is where you will find cheap ‘buckets’ of mixed drinks you can purchase from the bar for about 600 Baht. If you’re brave, you can buy a 26 of local Thai whiskey for 300 Baht (my go-to).
Blancos is kind of like a house party on the beach with great music and beer games on deck; flip cup, beer pong, and jumbo jenga! (They also love to give out free shots to everyone at the bar!) It’s a great place to meet more backpackers, and if you’re staying at either of these hostels/bars, you’ll be able to get to know your fellow hostel mates in a different light.
The beach party continues until 4-5 am, so pace yourself!
If you want to stay at these party hostels, make sure to book on Hostelworld in advance as they fill up quick. The cost is about 1200 Baht per night so it’s a bit more expensive, but worth it if you want to be near the action.
List by: Nick White
I am 22 years old and currently living in Toronto, Canada. I have been an avid traveller since the age of 15, having travelled to 25 countries across 6 continents. My travel experiences vary from playing soccer tournaments in North America and Europe, volunteering in South America and Africa, to backpacking across Asia and Australia. Throughout my travels, my main goal is to immerse myself in the culture of where I’m staying and to
have adventures with new friends. Come ride with me on the pathway to success: @nicknofilter