In January 2013, my Nerd Herd (or most of us) took a trip to Thailand - our major destinations were Koh Phi Phi, Phuket, and Bangkok. Thailand is ridiculously beautiful, and pretty much everything is an amazing for opportunity so I've split this post into three parts, organized by each city. The first destination was Koh Phi Phi. Before I get into the details of the island itself, I will quickly go over the how-we-got-there semantics for anyone who is interested in travelling to Thailand. If you aren't interested in that part, skip until after the next picture.
From Korea the flight to Thailand ran us about $570 U.S. dollars, with one layover in Shanghai. The flight from Incheon Airport in Korea to Pudong airport in Shanghai was around 2.5 hours, and from Shanghai to Bangkok it was a little under four. In order to get from Bangkok to Koh Phi Phi you have two options: the first is an overnight train to Krabi, and the second is a 50 minute flight. From Krabi, you take a 2.5 hour ferry to Ko Phi Phi.
For more in-depth information about train and bus travel in many countries worldwide, check out this fantastic website: The Man in Seat 61.
We opted for the flight on the way there because it only cost about $60 dollars, and after travelling all of the day before we wanted to minimize our additional travel time. So, after arriving in Bangkok the previous night, we left our Boutique hotel around 6:00am, hopped into the taxi-van, and got on a small plane to Krabi. Once in Krabi, we bought a taxi to the peer, and then boarded the small ferry.
During the day, Koh Phi Phi is absolutely stunning - it is exactly what you think of when you imagine a trip to Thailand. It really does have it all: indulgently warm air, sparkling blue waters, and striking fantail boats that float elegantly along the shoreline. Our hostel was called Blanco Beach Dorm: it was located directly on the beach, and had an absolutely stunning view of Ton Sai Bay.
Word of Advice: Listen carefully to hostel reviews. Blanco Beach Dorm is absolutely a good place to stay if you are alright with roughing it. It is very much a college-age, party all night sort of place. My main complaint was the noise level at night - people were not joking when they said it was VERY loud. We stayed there for five days, which was way too long; however, a shorter stay of one or two nights would have been perfect. If you are looking for something more quiet and chill, make sure you find a hostel that explicitly states that it is in a more sedate part of the island. I think the signage below perfectly reflects the Blanco spirit :P
If Ko Phi Phi was as peaceful at night as it was during the night, I probably would have never left. Bye Korea! See you never! Hands down, the best part about staying at Blanco was lounging on the large deck during the day, eating the delicious and well-priced food, and of course taking in the breathtaking view.
On the third day, we took a taxi boat trip to Bamboo Island and Monkey Island, which might have been my favorite part of our stay. The trip ran us about 600 baht each, which comes out to around $20. Next time, I would love to take a longer trip to see even more - the further you get away from the main tourist hubs the better the scenery gets.
During our stay we also explored the nicer side of the island - think hotels and family vacation, as opposed to hostels and rowdy drinking parties. There were several delicious restaurants, unique little stores, and as I said, a notable lack of drunk and horny post-grads. If I ever return to Koh Phi Phi, I definitely know which side I'll be staying on ;)
Overall, Koh Phi Phi was a great experience. It is absolutely stunning during the day - the warm air and beautiful views are intoxicating (as are the buckets). However, the island is quite small, very touristy, and the nighttime party scene can be kind of intense. For those of you who are thinking about traveling there in the future I would suggest that you either spring for a hotel on the nicer side of the island, or limit you stay to two days at the maximum.
Enjoy the beautiful view!