Island hopping was on the top of my list of things to do in Thailand. Instead of the elephant sanctuaries and ancient temples of Chiang Mai in northern Thailand, I went south for some fun in the sun. After one day in Bangkok and a night in Krabi I was ready to head to Koh Phi Phi (Pee Pee) for some island vibes. The only way to get to Phi Phi is by ferry, which is easy to book from Krabi. There are booths everywhere and the prices are generally the same. I paid 700 baht ($20) for round trip ferry tickets.
This site is really helpful for getting ferry times and prices.
As soon as you get off the ferry be prepared to pay a 20 baht (sixty cents) “clean up” fee. It’s basically an entrance fee, a small price to pay to visit one of the most beautiful islands in the country and most resilient places in the world. I can’t forget how the 2004 tsunami devastated the island and being there in all its splendor was surreal.
I couldn’t wait to check in to my hotel and check out the island! I’d read that getting to Bay View Resort was a bit of a trek from the pier but that the view was worth walk. I’m not gonna lie, it was a walk! Luckily I didn’t have to carry my luggage, but I definitely tipped the guys who did. Bayview Resort is a beautiful beachfront property on Laem Hin Beach. I was welcomed with a glass of pineapple juice and a beautiful view of Phi Phi Le Island.
The room was clean and comfortable. The most important things for me when booking accommodation were; free wifi in the room, air conditioning, and a western-style bathroom. Ever since I learned about “wet bathrooms” on my trip to Europe last fall, I decided they’re not for me, given a choice. Bayview delivered on all of those and more.
The First 24
After a little research, I learned that there was a poolside Spa, so I headed down for a Thai Massage. 300 baht ($9) for an hour was the going rate on the island and I was ready for some relaxation. Unfortunately, when I got there, there was a wait. So I ended up at the poolside bar with a pina colada. Pretty soon it was the “golden hour” aka prime time for mosquito bites. Which signaled that it was time to for me to get inside and start getting ready for the night.
I dined on a Spicy Glass Noodle Salad with Shrimp then walked down to the infamous Reggae Bar. This Muay Thai hotspot is where the audience gets as much ring time as the professionals. Anyone who wants a free bucket can volunteer to fight. I was impressed by the skill of some fighters, while others simply gave up. There were even a few impressive girl fights.
The noticeable difference between the pros and the joes was that the professional fighters did a ritual known as Wai Khru Ram before each bout. It was an obvious sign of respect for the art, their coaches and their opponents.
You can’t pic with us, unless you’re a winner! His man-bun wasn’t bad either.
Being the social butterfly that I am, I made friends with a few Brits. Around midnight it started to rain (welcome to tropical paradise!) so we decided to walk to Slinky Beach Bar. A beachfront nightclub that plays songs that make you want to dance aka Drake, RiRi. There’s a pole and a bull for those of us adventurous types. Let’s just say I rode the bull and a fun time was had by all.
The Next Morning
I woke up with a hangover and hungry for my Traditional Thai breakfast at Bayview’s Rooftop Restaurant. I quickly learned that a “Traditional Thai Breakfast” is essentially a smaller portion of what would be served for lunch or dinner. Breakfast was buffet-style with a few western options including an omelet station. I opted for chicken and vegetable curry with rice, potatoes and a mix of orange and pineapple juice. Oh, and let’s not forget the spectacular breakfast views.
After breakfast I walked back up to the room and when I say up I mean, all the way UP! There are a lot of stairs and hills at Bayview Resort, which isn’t a bad idea after breakfast. The other plus was, each room had a balcony with the most spectacular views of Phi Phi Le Island and the Andaman Sea. After a catnap I got ready for my day of island hopping.
Another great thing about Bayview was that I could book services from the comfort of my hotel lobby. Walking through Phi Phi you’ll see info for Speed Boat and Long Tail Boat Tours. The price is the same at every place, 1500 baht ($35) for 4 hours of beach and island hopping. TIP: Make sure your tour includes snorkeling gear.
I’d read and heard first hand accounts of people being stuck in the middle of the ocean on a long tail boat. Everything was figured out eventually, and they didn’t die, but I decided a Speedboat would be most efficient.
First was Monkey Beach in Monkey Bay. The monkeys are ADORABLE and quite tame. If boatloads of people came to feed me daily, I’d be pretty friendly too! Although people are told not to feed the monkeys, they do. Because of this the monkeys are comfortable jumping on people or even boats in search for a snack. I however, decided to observe the rules and hang back a bit. I didn’t get vaccinated and although they’re cute, I didn’t want to come back with the monkey flu!
Phi Phi Le Island
The next stop was Viking Cave on Phi Phi Le Island. It was a drive by, but so interesting to look at. I did a little online digging and learned that the bamboo scaffolding is built by local hunters who climb into the cave at night and gather swiftlet nests. Edible birds nests that are thought by some to promote good health, skin and virility.
Home to the clearest, bluest waters I’ve ever seen. The first thing I did was jump feet first into the hidden gem that is Pileh Lagoon. The warm salt water bay is completely closed off to the rest of the island and enclosed by limestone mountains. Swimming in this spectacular sea of turquoise was my pinch me moment.
Here’s the video of my timid jump into the lagoon.
The first time I snorkeled was a few months ago in Jamaica and I couldn’t wait to do it again in Thailand. Shark Point in Long Beach was an extraordinary place for a novice snorkeler. Although I didn’t see any sharks, I did get to swim with the fishes.
Here’s the video from the underwater paradise.
Maya Bay is the famous beach the movie The Beach with Leonardo DiCaprio was filmed. In the movie Leo and his friends are searching for the perfect, secluded island and I found it! Along with so MANY others. To get there on foot you have to climb a rope ladder and walk a ways. On my tour however, they just dropped us off on the beach to explore for an hour. While Maya Bay is a slice of paradise with mangroves and limestone cliffs, it’s also pretty polluted. Wading in the water I found old rope, plastic bottles, plastic wrappers and all different types of debris. Then I understood why there’s a 20 baht clean up fee.
Leaving Maya Bay we were able to catch the most incredible sunset. After an adventurous day I decided to head to my hotel, order room service and call it an early night. I woke up around midnight to the sound of the pouring rain and was thankful I’d decided to stay in.
The Last Day
I had a few more places to see and things to do before I left the island. After I packed and scheduled a long tail boat to the pier, I finally treated myself to a Thai Massage. The mixture of pleasure and pain was unfamiliar but exactly what I needed after two days of walking around Phi Phi.
After my massage I had to visit Phi Phi’s only rooftop bar. Like Reggae Bar, Banana Bar was on my Top Ten: Thailand Itinerary. So I had to check it out for “research purposes” right? After walking past it, and asking a local for help, I found it down a small alleyway.
Believe it or not, I was looking forward to the view more than the bogo bucket deal. Not only was the view unparalleled and the drinks tasty, the vibe was super chill. It’s surprising to learn that Banana Bar is a Mexican restaurant. Even more surprising, it was filled with American tourists. I grabbed a barstool and made small talk with the bartender while people watching. There was a couple playing ping pong, people watching the election on flat screens and a lounge area with cots, pillows and much-needed shade.
Before the US President was announced I walked back to Bayview to catch my long tail boat to the pier. When I got back to my luggage and free wifi I received a handful of texts telling me to stay in Thailand because of the outcome of the election and no lie, I considered staying. Now, I’m planning a move. I fell in love with Thailand and will be living there this time next year, even if it’s only for six months to a year.
Have you ever visited Phi Phi? I would love to hear your thoughts. Have you lived in Thailand? I’d love any tips on moving to the land of smiles.
Thanks to Bayview Resort for sponsoring my stay. Some of the links are affiliate links, but as always, all opinions are my own.