Koh Phi Phi in Thailand is the tiniest dot of an island on Google Maps. Yet anyone who’s ever alighted the ferry at Tonsai Pier, downed a bucket and partied till dawn with like-minded travellers, will tell you it’s made a lasting impression!
Devastated by the 2004 Tsunami, the island has slowly rebuilt itself, and its residents are some of the loveliest you’ll meet during your time in Thailand. Although you can no longer visit the legendary Maya Beach made famous by Leo Dicaprio’s film ‘The Beach’ (the coral has been badly damaged by tourism in recent years), sangsom buckets, the friendly locals, a maze of hidden bars and restaurants, mega beach parties and the friendliest of vibes will have you visiting Thailand’s BEST island for many years to come.
Here’s 8 absolute must-do’s while you’re visiting Phi Phi paradise.
1. Stay at Chao Koh Phi Phi Hotel
Newly built and in a great location, Chao Koh Phi Phi Hotel is just minutes from both Tonsai pier and Loh Dalum beach. Featuring pretty rooms, an outdoor pool and kid’s pool plus bar and restaurant, this is a great choice for value, location and service.
2. Visit the Phi Phi View Point
With the most spectacular views out across Koh Phi Phi, if you head for the Reggae Bar or Dojo, you’ll see the signs for the Phi Phi View Point. Picking up a bottle of water or two is a must as the humidity can get crazy on your climb. Make your way up the steep steps and follow the path round which should take you about half an hour. With views out to Phi Phi Leh, Tonsai Village and Loh Dalum, be sure to take plenty of photos! If you feel like an extra adventure, you can head down the other side towards Rantee Beach – make sure you wear plenty of mosquito spray! A long tail boat will bring you back from Rantee to the shores of Tonsai just in time for a cocktail or two.
3. Eat Epic Thai Cuisine at Garlic 1992 Restaurant
Having visited Phi Phi at least 9 times, we can safely say that Garlic offers some of our favourite Thai dishes. Having been devastated by fire last year, Garlic’s simple decor detracts nothing from its amazing, simple food. Cheap, cheerful and absolutely delicious, go for a sweet and sour, rice served in a pineapple, veg curry with coconut milk or any of their amazing seafood. Other gems on the island include the amazing Unni – slightly more upmarket offering a diverse menu with everything from quesadillas, to authentic Thai, happy hour cocktails and a decent Sauvignon Blanc, and Cosmic Restaurant which whips up a pizza / pasta in no time at all at the bargain price of just over £3. Check out the Garlic 1992 Facebook page here.
4. Party at Slinky
Slinky is an institution and you’ll no doubt hear it before you see it. Banging out the beats from early evening right through until the beach clubs close down at 1am (the Thai police has recently imposed a very early finish), the fire shows get the party started before the dancing continues. Grab yourself a sangsom bucket and limbo with the locals before you throw some shapes on the sand. You’ll find the party continues right along the beach – be sure to check out the other clubs for a true taste of the Phi Phi party scene. Check out the Slinky Facebook page here.
5. Treat Yourself to a PP Princess Pool Villa (With its own Private Pool and Sea Views)
Our number one spot on the island, the ultra cool PP Princess Pool Villas have instant pool access from your downstairs lounge area, interconnecting with two other pool villas in your block. There’s only nine of these luxurious pads on the whole of Koh Phi Phi and they tend to get booked up pretty fast as a result. The rooms is cleaned meticulously, daily, while the resort pool is home to some of the best chilled pool parties on the island where luxury beds with pool access can be purchased for 2000bht (approx £45 which you get back in happy hour priced cocktails and food). Private pools overlook the Loh Dalum beach and its just a short walk from all the action. Highly recommended.
6. Take a Trip Down to Koh Lanta and/or Koh Lipe
Koh Phi Phi is by far the best party island, but Koh Lanta (30 – 90 minutes depending on ferry operator) and Koh Lipe (4 – 6 hours depending on ferry operator), are well worth the visit. Both islands are absolutely stunning with plenty of bars, restaurants, bars and clubs to keep you entertained. While Lanta’s Long Beach with pristine stretches of golden sands seems to go on forever… Lipe meanwhile is a slightly quieter version of Phi Phi. Check out ferry prices and times here.
7. Brave a Day Party
Over the past few years, Phi Phi has caught the day party vibe. If you’re expecting relaxed party vibes, then you’ll definitely be in the wrong place for Ibiza House’s wild offerings on *Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday afternoons pool parties, along with PP Charlie Beach’s equally raucous shenanigans. The one place you might get some peace along with the party tunes is at the PP Princess during one of their chilled sessions. Make the most of the pool lounger special offers – 2000 baht (approx £45) will get you the double bed lounger which drops down into the pool along with food and drink up to the value of what you’ve paid. *Pool Party days vary depending on the season
8. Watch some Thai Boxing
You can’t visit Koh Phi Phi without visiting the iconic Reggae Bar. Located in the middle of town, you can’t miss this institution where you buy a drink on entry to watch Muay Thai boxing matches in the ring between both professionals and tourists. Feeling brave? Take part and if you win, one whole bucket is all yours! Check out their Facebook page here.