Why I hate Ko Phi Phi

"Ko Phi Phi is a must-visit - it's the Maldives of Southeast Asia!"

And so the journey begun.
A week of thorough probing and meticulous planning has induced the perfect getaway. For a person who loves the sun and sea more than anything else, I knew for sure that nothing could go wrong with KPP.

The place is gloriously stunning.

The bewitchingly emerald green ocean at one side and resplendent aqua blue on the other has given this island a feature so distinctive and characteristic as compared to its neighboring isles in the archipelago. The water is shallow and it takes plenty of patience to come to a satisfactory dipping spot distant from the shores, yet the breathtaking view of the encircling azure sky and rugged limestone has made the lengthy walk worthwhile.

The water is crystal clear - unlike anything that I have seen before. I instantly realized that Ko Phi Phi is one of the best decision that I have made.... until things took a turn for the worse.

The brief but engrossing 15 minutes walk from Ton Sai Pier (where the passengers alighted from a ferry from Rassada) towards the other side of the island, Lo Dalum, was mind-altering.

Ton Sai was crawling with unflagging, hardworking Thais moving so swiftly to keep things on and running. Upon exiting the pier into the island, a few Thai women stood in the way, demanding 20 baht as a fee for keeping the island clean.

What lies ahead, however, was beyond my imagination.

White teenage girls with their busts dangling out of their sheer bikinis giggled and chuckled as they paraded through the narrow streets of the town. Topless boys winked and smirked at the sight of beautiful young girls and the entire town was permeated with the stench of alcohol and decomposing chemicals.

Ko Phi Phi is unfortunately just another island with a massive influx of party-goers and rowdy teens from every corner of the world. Barely-dressed adolescents with little or no respect for the local people and their customs pervaded the island.

No one cares to try the famous local street food, unless they are running out of money after splurging on alcohol. No one cares to appreciate the beauty of the geographical features of the island, although there are nothing quite like these in other parts of the world. No one cares to speak to a local townsman, or to know more about the people's way of living.

It's all about the party. It's all about getting laid.

It is extremely disappointing to see how the entire island has been tailored to adapt to the needs of foreign tourists. It is even more disappointing to see so little of the Thai elements being presented. To know that revenue has been given more priority than cultural traditions disgusts me.

Ko Phi Phi is a traveler's nightmare.
It is not a place for soul-searching or to meditate, but a place for teenagers to fornicate.

If we are not going to do anything to preserve our heritage, who will?
Asians have a lot to change if we wish to move forward, or we will forever be looked down and stepped on.


What to expect in Ko Phi Phi

1. Currency exchange

During my stay on the island, I couldn't help but to notice that there was only one money changer running in a yellow booth in Ton Sai, and the rates were, well, pretty shitty. There are plenty of ATMs around, but if you are the kind to skimp, then do not expect anything more than a decent rate.

My advice?   Sock away with Thai bahts enough to last you throughout your time on the island before heading there.

2. Party island

Ko Phi Phi is unfortunately (or   fortunately, depending on the purpose of your travel) a haven for party animals. If you are staying along the beach at Lo Dalum (which is teeming with backpackers hostels and dorms), then brace yourself because the deafening music will not stop until it's four in the morning.

My advice?   Getting wasted and to party all night long is not everyone's definition of travel. For a languid stay, head to one of those bungalows in Long Beach instead.

Pictures of bungalows at Long Beach

3. Washrooms

I was at Slinky Beach Bar when I had one too many drinks and there wasn't anything that I needed more than having to use a washroom. You can probably imagine how outraged I was when two men stopped me right at the entrance to the washrooms and demanded for 10 baht.

My advice?   Keep some change with you. You'll never know when you'll need them the most.

4. Sea

There is no denying that the water is crystal clear and that it is ideal for snorkeling. To reach to a water level deep enough for a pleasant swim, however, will require that you take at least a three minutes walk into the sea. Otherwise, it's just your feet taking in all the pleasure.

My advice?   Well, walk. (Is there really an alternative?) Just be careful not to step on the corals. I did, and I came back with three bleeding toes.

Have fun getting there, mates.

The Long Beach is... long. Here's Part I.

5. Ko Phi Phi or Ibiza?

Turns out, you will not even be able to tell the difference.

Everything on this island has been adapted to the needs of Westerners, so much so that most restaurants, bars and hotels are designed and named that way. Do not be surprised to see Westerners serving you drinks/food here. They are either broke backpackers, or just some lovely people who are too madly in love with the island to leave it.

Breakfast at Cunt House? Sounds great! (I swear that wasn't me)

Read more about my experience at Ko Phi Phi here.


Top 5 things to do in Ko Phi Phi

The possibility is endless in Ko Phi Phi Don, and here's my top 5 picks for the things to see/do while you're vacationing there:

1. Try the enormous pizzas

These face-sized slices of pizza are priced at 80 bahts each. This picture obviously does no justice to how big the pizzas really are, but rest assure that one slice of these can keep you satiated for hours.

2. Climb your way up to the viewpoints

If you are not the kind to workout, and pant after a 100 meters run, then this might be challenging for you. However, you will find the climb worth it when you reach the viewpoint at the top, which offers a breathtaking panorama of the island. Spare a few extra hours and you will be able to catch the sunrise and sunset!

Timings for sunrise and sunset at the Ko Phi Phi Viewpoint:

April - November: 6.00 - 6.30 a.m.
December - March: 6.30 - 7.00 a.m.

February - July: 6.00 - 6.45 p.m.
August - January: 6.00 - 6.30 p.m.

Just remember to bring along at least one bottle of ice-cold water (which will eventually turn warm) and 20 bahts for entrance fee. No alcohol is allowed as it is a Muslim area. There are a few stalls which sell ice-cream and drinks in case you desperately need to get hydrated. The journey to the top takes approximately 25 minutes.

3. Party at Slinky Beach Bar

Get drunk, make friends, grind ANYbody, and have the hairs of your hands and chest burned by participating in their crazy fire performances and games, like jumping through a ring (set on fire), skipping on ropes (set on fire), or attempting to break your spine by going under a bar (also set on fire) in a game of limbo.

You have not truly been to KPP if you do not spend a night at the bars along Lo Dalum.

4. Experience the Full/Half Moon parties

Isn't this why you made KPP your destination in the first place? Phi Phi is second to Phangan when it comes to parties, but they sure are making an exceptional progress.

5. Get a tattoo

Tattoo parlors are literally on every street. Pick a date, get completely wasted, and make a mistake you'll probably regret over. Think of all the stories that you'll be able to share with your grandchildren one day!