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Ko Phi Phi

Around the world travel, Backpacking, island life, long term travel, Southeast Asia, Thailand, Travel, Uncategorized

Ko Phi Phi… ahhhh bliss


The journey from Krabi to Ko Phi Phi is a two-hour boat ride, and fortunately we are blessed with calm seas and blue skies. We make one stop at a small island to pick up some more passengers en route, but we don’t even dock. We just pull up alongside two longtail boats filled to the brim with people and backpacks. We watch as workers haul the bags from one boat to the next, and I think to myself how happy I am that I carried my own bag from dock to boat. While the boatsmen have this practice down to a “T,” I can’t help but wait for a big splash.

We pull into Phi Phi harbor and it looks like paradise. Now, this is what I pictured when I dreamed of Thailand’s islands. Phi Phi became a top travel destination for westerners after The Beach was filmed here in the 90s. That will give you some visual reference. As we near land, we see little bungalows dotting the cliffs, overlooking the harbor, and giant limestone rock casts jut out from the sea.

On our ride boat ride over to Phi Phi, we made a reservation for a hostel. The lady on the boat gave us some brochures to flip through, and we found one that would work for us and fit within our budget. Note to all travelers- don’t ever do this. Most of the time when traveling you don’t really need a reservation unless you’re arriving somewhere quite late and you don’t want to schlep around looking for a place. If you have the time to find somewhere once you arrive, this always makes more sense, seeing as you can look at a room and then make a call. So, we made a bit of an amateur mistake!
We, unfortunately, booked a 2-night reservation at Parichat guesthouse, which we immediately renamed Parishit. The room had seen better days. It was musty, paint was peeling off the walls, the bathroom floor was stained an off-white color, and the air conditioning unit sounded like a lamb “baaahing” every time it oscillated. On a more positive note, we had air conditioning and were close to the beach.
We decide to rough if for two nights and ditch our bags and get out of the room. Just steps from the guesthouse, we see a signpost for the “viewpoint,” so we set out to explore. After about a 40-minute vertical hike in 100–degree heat, we start to wonder if we are possibly heading in the wrong direction. Things aren’t always signposted very clearly in Asia, and the answer you get when you ask anyone how far anything is, is “not far.” We decide to turn around, and pass a couple of hikers on our way down who point us in the right direction. After about another 30-minute hike through the woods, and literally rock climbing for the last 5 minutes, we arrive at the viewpoint. As hot, tired and frustrated as we are, the views are worth the hike and the accidental detour.
From atop, I get a sense of the size of the island. To walk from one side of the island to the other takes no more than 7 minutes. Given this, you can understand why the tsunami of 2004 was so destructive. Not one structure on Phi Phi island was left standing. It is devastating to hear this, while looking down at where all the destruction occurred. 
After taking in the views and resting for a few minutes, we fortunately find the steps back to town…yeah- we missed those before! We head over to the beach to laze for the afternoon and enjoy some cold beers after our long, hot hike.
Our second day on Phi Phi turns out to be gray and overcast, but we still manage to get some beach time in and befriend an American bartender, Nancy, and her Thai boyfriend Hank, and their 2 chihuahuas, Otis and Pappie, who keep us amused for the afternoon.
On our third day, the sun is shining and we are strolling through the little main town area. After walking by the same dive shop about 3 times, I decide to bite the bullet and see how much a half day of diving will set me back. Phi Phi is one of Thailand’s more expensive islands, so I was debating on waiting until Ko Tao to dive, but I can’t hold off. We book to go out that afternoon, and I get 2 dives in with no regrets. We see 5 black tip reef sharks and a hawksbill turtle on the last dive – just awesome. In addition to this, we have decided to step it up on the accommodation front and bid adieu to Parishit and move across the way to Phi Phi Casita. The beds actually have clean white sheets AND blankets! Luxury, I tell you!