Limestone Cliffs and Sandy Feet: Ko Phi Phi Don
I’ve been feeling old lately (OK, mom I know you are rolling your eyes), because it has been over a year now that I graduated from college. But, as it turns out, college never really ends. It just migrates to tropical party islands in Southeast Asia. Welcome to Ko Phi Phi Don.
After my stay in Bangkok, I flew to Phuket where I met up with my friend Chloe. We didn’t see very much of Phuket because we decided to catch one of the earlier morning ferries out to Ko Phi Phi Don. What we did see in Phuket was a commercial strip with bars and restaurants — a lot of Russian tourists come here because I saw plenty walking around and almost everywhere menus were available in good ol’ Cyrillic. I also caught a glimpse of Thailand’s famous bar girls. Our hostel had a sign on the door warning any men who brought back a bar girl that they would be immediately kicked out. The sign also made this very good point: “[This is] complete exploitation of the underprivileged. Don’t think for a second these young girls are enjoying themselves.” It reminded me of the Real Men Don’t Buy Girls campaign.
It became clear early on that Thailand is used to tourists in ways that Indonesia is not. Transport was easily arranged from Phuket out to Ko Phi Phi Don and everyone we encountered spoke decent English. The area around Ko Phi Phi gained widespread fame because of its beautiful beaches and cliffs and because Hollywood stopped by to make the movie The Beach (it’s so bad it’s funny). And rightfully so, the beaches had stunning views of rocks jutting out from the sea and the water was that perfect temperature you dream about when you dream about places like these.
Ko Phi Phi Don had a lively restaurant and bar scene. There were plenty of stalls that were catering to Western food cravings selling slices of pizza. I was surprised to see so many tattoo parlors where people were making decisions, some worse than others.
After dark there is plenty to do with crazy rave parties on the beach and chiller bars with entertainment including fire spinners:
I’d love to come back to this area and explore other islands or just sit and gaze at the limestone cliffs. Here’s to hoping it happens…
Getting There: There are several daily flights between Bangkok and Phuket. I flew on AirAsia.
Accommodations: In Phuket we stayed at Bodega. They booked our transport to the port and out to Ko Phi Phi Don. Bodega was a clean, budget option. The pineapple, banana smoothie I had for breakfast there was delicious. On Ko Phi Phi Don we stayed at Kinnaree House. It was a clean, budget option that was in the center of it all. They booked our ferry back to the mainland and then transport back to the airport. Both places are good for budget travelers and will arrange all of your transportation for a reasonable price.