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Published: February 27th 2020
After three and a half weeks of very basic accommodation (our deliberate choice and which we have loved), we decided to end this fabulous special month with a little more luxury, here on Long Beach (Hat Yao) on the island of Phi Phi Don. By luxury we simply mean the things that one expects in most standard hotels, but not in bamboo huts. So, we have a safe, a fridge, a T.V. (which we haven’t actually bothered to turn on) air conditioning and best of all, HOT water in the shower! Thanks goodness we have air con because the weather has changed and it is much hotter now than it was at the beginning of the month. The air con is especially welcomed at night and we don’t have to sleep under a mosquito net either, because the doors and windows all have sliding mosquito screens.
We are delighted with Koh Phi Phi Don. We had read such bad reports about it (the Lonely Planet, which needs updating, makes it sound horrendous) that we didn’t intend coming here at all; it was never on our original rough itinerary. It had the reputation of being the “Party Island” of
the Anderman Sea, with its one village, Tonsai, being full of drunken youths dancing on the beach all night (as in Ibiza), or drunken oldies roasting on the beach all day (as in Benidorm). Just as Ibiza Town and Benidorm are typical of NOT
Spain, we believed that Phi Phi was NOT
Thailand. Indeed, this used to be the case. Ever since Leonardo and Co. came here to film “The Beach” in 2000, thousands of people flocked here trying to emulate his Paradise-island experience and found it so cheap that they stayed, trashed it and almost destroyed it. It is now forbidden to go to Maya Beach on the smaller uninhabited island of Phi Phi Lai, where most of the filming was done. The beach and the coral need to recover. One can still take a long-tail into Maya Bay, but there is better marine life to see snorkelling elsewhere in these stunning Phi Phi islands, so few people bother to do so.
Tonsai Village, has changed its image. It is clean, family-orientated and quite expensive. What were once dingy hostels full of European backpackers, have mostly now become smart guesthouses. Phi Phi isn’t a
cheap option anymore. It isn’t full of people drinking all day; in contrast, by 11 a.m. every morning in Benidorm the boozers are well into it, whereas in Tonsai most young couples are sipping healthy-option smoothies or expensive cocktails. So, in short, Phi Phi Don is O.K!
Monday was spent travelling, Tuesday was spent in Tonsai and yesterday and today have been spent on the beach. Snorkelling off Hat Yao is great, the sand is white, the water is turquoise and the fish swim nibbling at the close-to-shore coral. Just at the end of the beach lies Shark Point, where small black-tips live (mostly quite small and up to 1.2 metres, but we didn’t bother getting a boat out there, we have seen black-tips swimming before in the Galapagos Islands, there were plenty of pretty tropical fish to see closer to the beach and it looked a bit of a crowded spot out there, with long-tails anchoring up there most of the day. On the beach, however, there was plenty of space and it was very peaceful.
We have now had our last swim in the warm Anderman water. We
need to pack now before going out this evening and we leave here at 8.30 a.m. in the morning. We shall be sad to go! “Advice from a Sea Turtle” “Swim with the current Be a good navigator Stay calm under pressure Be well-travelled Think long-term Age gracefully Spend time at the beach”
Tot: 0.203s; Tpl: 0.019s; cc: 24; qc: 94; dbt: 0.0269s; 1; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.5mb