Malia, Magaluf, Lanzarote. These are not the places I thought I’d be comparing Koh Phi Phi, Thailand to. I was expecting something similar to The Maldives, Seychelles, a little more along those lines. I 100% did not expect to read a sign saying ‘Topless girls and Naked guys – free bucket of booze!’ I don’t think I have drunk from a bucket since I was at University. Then again, looking around at the crowd, I think most of the people are at University. We just kept repeating ‘We are old man.’ Maybe it’s time we accepted that?
Here is a screenshot from Google images when you search Koh Phi Phi;
This is what I had in mind for our 2 day trip, paradise, secluded beaches, turquoise waters, full on relaxation. However, when we stepped off the boat from Krabi, we were greeted by tons of bars, shops, nightclubs. We weaved our way through the walking streets (no cars or mopeds which was good) to be faced by stalls selling buckets of cocktails for 250 baht (around £5.70). There were pizza places galore selling by the slice, a mammoth slice I might add. The walk to our hotel took around 10 minutes, we passed everything except a Thai restaurant! Instead there were English pubs and Irish bars and a club that had a boxing ring in the middle. It felt like we were at a party island, tailored for the European holidaymakers who want everything you can find at home but with a bit of sunshine and a nice beach.
The beach! Well, that was another disappointment! Our hotel was close to Loh Dalum Beach. This is the main beach for the resort of Phi Phi town. Here again is a screenshot from Google images:
Loh Dalum Beach:-
Same again, white sandy beaches, long-tail boats, instantly recognisable as Thailand. OK, I admit, there are a couple of pictures here with crowds of people, but that’s understandable. Instead, we got this:
Construction work on a dull grey bar, trash all over the sand including waste bags, plastic cups, straws, and food packets. The rubbish was also in the sea! There was a pool party at one of the beach hotels that was thumping out tunes (not relaxing). Lads were in the sea, beer in one hand, fag in the other. At night lasers and glow sticks light the sky. Remixes of the same songs play over and over – anything by Adele and Ed Sheeran with a bouncing bass are bound to feature. The bars create a dance floor on the sand and staff play games with the crowd, skipping, limbo etc. Take part and you get a free shot. Do it naked and you get a free bucket! The overall place seemed to cater for Lads Lads Lads. Definitely not honeymooners!
Thank god for Long Beach! Here is where we really could kick back and relax. I felt the only reason we could do that was because you had to pay a boat to get there as it is away from the main resort. It also worked in our favour that the waves were too big and too choppy for the boats to stop at the beach, instead we had to be dropped off on the other side of the headland which was a 15 minute walk up and down hill. Quite off-putting for hung-over teenagers I imagine. The sand here was as soft as that in the Philippines. The sea, tropical green, crashed onto the sand (the waves really were big). We braved them though, floating on the currents until a humongous wave engulfed me! That was my limit. I’m done playing in the sea after that. Haha.
So if you are looking for that picture-perfect Google image of beaches, for a place to sit back and relax, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend Phi Phi. Not unless you have the money to stay in the high end resorts on the other side of the island. If you are reading this and you are looking for a party holiday with your pals then 100% go! Everything is easy there, you have your beach and clubs rolled into one, with an English breakfast ready for you in the morning. But then again, who am I to complain? Yes we are old and felt like we stood out like a sore thumb, but these sore thumbs can still drink! And we did succumb to buying buckets (I know, I shake my head) but they were buy one get one free! As the famous saying goes, if you can’t beat them, join them! The other difference here is, our hangovers last 24 hours, whereas these kids will be up at 11am starting all over again, having a beer with their breakfast no doubt!