If scuba diving and natural beauty are your thing, with a good helping of climbing thrown in for good measure, the Thai island of Ko Phi Phi may be the place for you.
Situated next to the now-famous island where “The Beach” starring Leonardo di Caprio was filmed, Ko Phi Phi Don is something of a mecca for travelers hopping through the islands of the crystalline Thai waters in search of white sand beaches and tropical jungle. Before the devastating Tsunami of 2004 it was known as a hedonistic travelers’ paradise and it has been faster than many of its counterparts to return to its former glory. Following concerted rebuilding efforts tourists have returned to its beaches in droves but while Ko Phi Phi may now look the same as it always did prices are a-changing. The cost of living is now higher than in most Thai destinations and where once a backpack was hoisted; now increasingly a suitcase is wheeled.
That said, paradise rarely comes cheap. Ko Phi Phi is a world-class destination, is still considerably cheaper than other island locations across the globe and merits a place on the Digital Nomads destination hit list.
Things to see and do in Ko Phi Phi
Don´t leave Ko Phi Phi without taking a trip by long tail boat to Maya Bay where the movie The Beach was filmed.
Snorkeling is a favorite pastime of all those who visit here. Swim out from Long Beach to Shark Point and bask amongst the harmless Blacktip reef sharks if you dare. Several of the dive shops also run boats out to nearby Bamboo and Mosquito Islands for some other interesting reef action, though these are best visited at low tide.
Thankfully the main scuba sites were largely unaffected by the Tsunami and divers are returning in their droves. There are several dive clubs offering PADI courses and open dives and prices are regulated so don´t worry about shopping around other than to compare kit and the vibe you get from the different operators. A trip to the King Cruiser wreck followed by Shark Point and Anemone Reef is one of the most popular excursions and Hin Daeng is worth a look for some of the steepest drops in Thailand, complete with Manta Rays and Whale sharks.
Back on dry land yoga is a popular pastime and there are several places to practice. For the more adventurous there are some great rock climbing options on Phi Phi with equipment rental shops and guides a-plenty, though it is not as famous as nearby Rai Leh beach which certainly also deserves a spot in this guide.
Nightlife is busy, though eating and drinking are more pricy than in the days of old and the entertainment a little more sophisticated.
Accomodation & Internet on Koh Phi Phi
Motorized transport is officially banned on Ko Phi Phi although you will come across a good helping of motorcycles with truck sidecars for transporting goods and construction materials. Otherwise transport on land is by foot or bicycle.
Cheap backpacker bungalows are scarce these days and those that do exist are small and dark and seem overpriced for what you get and hotel accommodation is expensive by Thai standards. The problem is exacerbated by the soaring costs of fuel, which is used to power the generators (there is no electricity supply from the mainland). Couple this with poor internet supply and Digital Nomads won´t want to spend too long on Ko Phi Phi but it is still definitely worth a short hop to experience the unique vibe of one of the world´s best-known islands. So make sure you go before it joins the official ranks of the mainstream.