Phi Phi is paradise.............................................................................NOT!

Published: August 6th 2007
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Loh Dalum beach 2Loh Dalum beach 2Loh Dalum beach 2

not very nice really!
The ferry journey to Phi Phi took around 90 minutes and went surprisingly smoothly except for 3 or 4 backpackers who gave us and Donna's parents condescending looks. These were the type of looks that suggest to say 'Phi Phi is no place for your type', we don't know what that was all about!

Arriving into Phi Phi Don we made it off the boat and past the annoying obligatory island touts and found 2 nice bungalows near the hill. On arrival Donna's Dad and Neil needed the toilet and were shocked that the toilet lady asked 40B each for it's use. Suffice it to say one minute later they were urinating almost on the toilet block rather than paying the fee!

Despite our visit being in low season and many accommodations being quite empty, we were shocked at how expensive the rooms were here. An air con room went for no less than 800B (most were 1000-1200B though) and a fan room was 500B (yes, we checked out a hell of a lot of places and some were closed for low season). It dawned on us for the first time, despite what people had told us, that Phi
Tonsai beachTonsai beachTonsai beach

not very nice either, too many boats!
Phi was yet another Thailand tourist trap and no longer a place for budget travellers.

The two main central beaches on Phi Phi were not without their problems either. Ton Sai beach on one side was so crowded with long-tail, speed and tour boats that there was little space to swim in the petrol polluted, dirty sea. Loh Dalum, on the other side, when we first saw it, all four of us felt like we had been smacked in the face with a shovel, it was that bad. We don't know if this was unique to our visit (although a couple of people we have met since have said the same) but everyday we were there the sea disappeared at around midday, the tide pulling out for about 1 kilometre, revealing dirty, oily, rubbish laden sand behind and tourists had to wade through this for a kilometre before they could even get their feet wet. Even the sand on the beach wasn't nice and both the beaches were very narrow, so if the tide came in during the morning there was nowhere to sit on the beach. You will probably notice that we don't actually have that many pictures of Phi Phi, this is because it was uninspiring and we have seen far better beaches elsewhere in Asia.

However, one redeeming feature of Phi Phi was that it still had one or two remaining good quality, fair value food vendors. We thought we had found a good place for lunch and every day we were there we enjoyed the food at this particular vendors stall. We ate the same thing each day and got charged the same each day until our second to last day when the vendor decided he was going to rip us off and charge double for the banana shake we had ordered...really out of order! The nutella rotis (a type of pancake for those who don't know) were a huge hit with Neil and at 25B a go they were delicious.

Phi Phi though isn't a place for cheap or good value drinks...although looking back it must have just been us thinking this as other backpackers seemed not to mind the prices and every night we saw them drinking loads and spending silly amounts of money on alcohol. For example, 500B for a vodka bucket, 200B for a glass of cocktail, 80-90B for
Neil in a hammock...Neil in a hammock...Neil in a hammock...

how chilled does he look?
a beer! We ended up buying our own buckets, a couple of bottles of vodka and some sprite and ice and making our own drinks. Every night we went out for food and then returned to our bungalows and sat on our balcony drinking and playing card games late into the night. The atmosphere in the bars on Phi Phi was not friendly and welcoming...even Donna's parents commented as to how unfriendly (Thais and backpackers alike) people were in this supposed 'Land of Smiles' and 'paradise island'.

We arranged a boat trip to some of the surrounding sights of Phi Phi which was a highlight of our Phi Phi experience. It's didn't start off too well as the boat rocked so much in the rough sea that it made even people with cast iron bellies feel sick. We visited Maya Bay which, as a national park, was an absolute disgrace...the fact that people have to pay to see this beach and the Thai government can't even keep it clean or stop boats from racing around the entrance polluting the waters is typical of Thailands idea of conservation - ie it doesn't have one!. Disappointed at Maya, we left for
Loh Dalum beachLoh Dalum beachLoh Dalum beach

not very nice really!
our next destination and lunch. Lunch was laughable, you got a choice of either a cheese or tuna sandwich, so if you don't eat bread you were stuck (this wasn't made clear at the time of booking though!). The sandwich also came laden with more onion than cheese, if you could call it cheese it was half a gooey melted processed cheese slice. The men running the trip had also brought onto the boat 7 pineapples and 3 watermelons. We saw one pineapple and one watermelon between 20 of us on the boat, it was a good job we had brought food with us! The snorkelling was good though and we saw loads of pristine coral and some rare fish too.

A lot of people have also commented in their travel blogs on how Phi Phi is still rebuilding after the tsunami. The fact is that the majority of the island is now rebuilt and the building ongoing at the moment is to build the higher end, non-budget resorts which will turn Phi Phi into the 5 star resort island the Thai government is hoping us it's already on it's way with the prices.

The weather again was disappointing on Phi Phi, but we did get quite a bit of's probably a good job it wasn't too hot as we wouldn't have been able to swim to cool down because any clean part of the sea was so bloody far away from the beach! Overall our experience of Phi Phi was very, very disappointing and totally the opposite to the paradise people had told us it was. We don't know if this is a result of the tsunami changing the beaches or over development making it a 'we want more money' environment. We felt more disappointed for Donna's parents as they had chosen Phi Phi as THE place they wanted to visit in Thailand, we originally planned to stay there for 7 days and ended up staying 4 due to the prices, the unfriendly atmosphere and the bad beaches.

Phi Phi is not a paradise and is definitely a place we will not return to, ever.

Additional photos below
Photos: 9, Displayed: 9


13th June 2007

Could not agree more!
Yep my feelings exactly... we spent only 4 hours on Phi Phi on our way from Phuket to Lanta and were glad that was all... It was overrun by rude tourists, there were speed boats lined up on the only decent bit of beach we could find and it was beyond dirty! The rubbish everywhere cannot be still blamed on the Tsunami... really sad!
22nd October 2007

Oh no...Phi Phi is a disappointmet?
Too many tourists? Too many developments? That's sad. Good thing we'll only be here for a day.
18th November 2008

Phi Phi!!!
It is such a shame reading your blog about how Phi Phi is now. I was there the week before the tsunami and I really loved the place, but in your photos the beaches look dirty, but whilst I was there they were very clean and it really was a paradise. Such a shame.

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