The Phi Phi Islands (pronounced pee-pee) are a group of small islands located close to Phuket, and is under the administration of the Krabi province. The most popular islands in this region are Ko Phi Phi Don - the biggest and most populated island, and Ko Phi Phi Le - the second largest island with a few of the most beautiful beaches. Other destinations include Ko Mai Phai or the Bamboo Island, Bida Nok, and Bida Nai which can be reached using long-tail boats or speedboats from the busy piers in Phuket and Krabi.

Why are the Phi Phi Islands Popular?

In 2000, Ko Phi Phi Le was used as the location to film the highly acclaimed movie, The Beach, which starred Leonardo DiCaprio. This attracted hordes of tourists to the island and as a result, contributed to its environmental degradation. On top of that, the Viking Cave located on Ko Phi Phi Le is where edible bird's nests are harvested in large volume.

Ko Phi Phi Tsunami

On Boxing Day in December 2004, Ko Phi Phi was devastated by the Indian Ocean Tsunami where approximately 800 people were missing and 4,000 people were believed to have been killed. Almost all the infrastructures on the island was destroyed. Today, the island has been equipped with various evacuation sites and locals have been trained on the ways to react in the event of potential disasters.

Traveling to Ko Phi Phi? Read this article to learn about what to expect when you are on this island!

Editor's note: This article was first published in February 2014.


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What to Expect in Ko Phi Phi, Thailand


What to Expect in Ko Phi Phi, Thailand

Currency Exchange in Ko Phi Phi

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 bad. 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. 

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Currency exchange in Ko Phi Phi


Ko Phi Phi: A 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. 

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Water chalets at Ko Phi Phi
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Bungalows at Long Beach, Ko Phi Phi


Washrooms at Ko Phi Phi

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. 

Ko Phi Phi Beaches

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.

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Beautiful Ko Phi Phi beaches
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Ko Phi Phi Beaches


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. 

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


Read more about my experience at Thailand here.