The week or so following Bromo were a bit of a haze. A sunny, warm, tropical hazy. With coconuts and waving palm trees, and white sandy beaches. Carrie and I spent a few days in Krabi, along the western coast of southern Thailand. From here it’s possible to take a 2 hour ferry to Koh Phi Phi, one of the most beautiful islands in the world.
Koh Phi Phi was largely flattened during the 2009 tsunami that swept through much of SEA. It has since been rebuilt to its former glory. However, Koh Phi Phi is much like Bali in that, its immense beauty attracts people to it, until there are so many tourists there that some of its magic is lost. However, I still believe it is worth your time and visit. Many of the people we met there were travelers that decided to stay for weeks, and then months. The beauty here is clearly undeniable, and it is always possible to find your own slice of paradise in the midst of the crowds. Here are a few of the highlights.
As you will notice immediately after landing in KPP, there are plenty of dive shops in the area. I cannot stress how awesome a place this is to do any dive course you’ve been thinking of doing. Its economical, and you can’t beat the aquatic life you will see down there. If you already have your certifications, this is still a great place to dive. I did my adventure diving course here (5 dives in 5 settings), then signed on to do another 2 dives because it worked out to be about $80CAD for the extra 2 dives. You can’t find prices like this anywhere else!
The main island you arrive in is KPP Don. This is where the hotels and hostels are. about a 40 minute boat ride away s Koh Phi Phi Leh, an uninhabited island that gained fame as the location where The Beach (think Leonardo Dicaprio) was shot in the early 2000’s. The main beach in Maya Bay is sheltered by sheer cliffs, lending for pretty calm, scenic waters. Getting there isn’t expensive, which is why when you arrive, there are literally hoards of tourists there on the beach. Its actually quite off putting (not to sound like a snob but finding a place to park your towel was a bigger struggle than it should have been). If you have the means to do so, opt to do an overnight stay here. Keep in mind there are no accommodations allowed here, so your best bet is to sleep aboard. Maya Bay Tours offers the Sleep Aboard tour, which I highly recommend. Basically you meet some awesome new people while you’re at the beach, after all the tourists have left. Your party literally has the whole beach to themselves! Waters were pretty rough when we went so we got to actually sleep on the beach overnight, which was a real treat. This was by far one of the most unforgettable experiences of my life.
So maybe you’ve had too much sun and relaxing and you want to do something active. The hike through the mountains takes you up winding village streets to the viewpoint. Here you can get a panoramic view of the island’s double crescent shape. And best of all, its free!
I will note that this island has no garbage disposal. Garbage boats come on a daily basis to collect and remove the waste that is produced by the island and transport it to the mainland to be disposed. As you can imagine, this is incredibly inefficient and absolutely horrible for the environment. On one hand the authorities have taken great initiative to give KPP a means to stay clean, and keep its waters garbage free, unlike those I saw in Indonesia. However, a fleet of boats carrying nothing but tons of garbage back and forth from the mainland emits a considerable amount of carbon. When you’re visiting KPP, appreciate the beauty, and be extra careful with your waste. Use your own reusable water bottle, and create as little plastic waste as you can. This all keeps KPP beautiful for generations to come 🙂
Next stop, Cambodia!