Ko Phi Phi Is Very Beautiful And May Kill You
Koh Phi Phi, an island off Thailand’s Andaman Coast, is most famous for being the setting of the Leonardo DiCaprio movie The Beach. Most people come to Koh Phi Phi expecting a pristine island paradise.
Don’t get me wrong – the island is beautiful. Exquisitely beautiful. But it’s so bloody overrun with tourists that it’s extremely difficult to truly enjoy. Sadly, overdevelopment has ruined this island.
Go to Maya Bay, the beach from The Beach, and this is what it looks like now:
Not exactly untouched.
Beyond that, Koh Phi Phi is quite a dangerous place:
Dangerous for your wallet. Of all the places I’ve visited in Thailand, Phi Phi was the most expensive by far. The cheapest lodging is about 500 baht ($17) for a 16-bed dorm. And I had to pay 10 baht to use a SQUAT TOILET. (THEY SHOULD HAVE PAID ME!)
Dangerous for your feet. While visiting Maya Bay on Koh Phi Phi Leh, where The Beach was filmed, we climbed on some rocks – and my shoeless friends nearly killed their feet on their needle-like surfaces. What shocked me was that there were tours leading tourists, many of them older and ill-prepared, across these slippery, sharp rocks while holding onto ropes for support.
Dangerous for your nose. The sewage treatment isn’t the greatest, due in part to the overwhelming volume of visitors. Expect quite a few odd smells.
Dangerous for your liver. The party scene here is insane and it seems like everywhere offers 2-for-1 buckets. I thought I partied hard in Ao Nang – Ao Nang has NOTHING on Phi Phi. I’ll leave it at that. Dangerous.
Dangerous for your body. If you don’t burn yourself while jump-roping with fire, like a friend of mine did, you’ll get punched in the face until you bleed from the eyeball in an amateur Muay Thai fight. I did that, and it was one of the biggest mistakes of my life. More on that later.
Should you visit Phi Phi? By all means. I’m glad I got a chance to see it. Just make sure you go in knowing exactly what it is: an overpriced, overdeveloped island that is good for partying but little else.
If you do go to Phi Phi, build in time on another island as well. I’m currently on Koh Lanta and I am absolutely in love with the place.
Koh Phi Phi is worth a brief visit, but it absolutely should not be the standard by which beaches in Thailand are measured. Find hotels on Koh Phi Phi here.
That said, when you’re on your iPhone in an infinity pool overlooking the Andaman Sea and gorgeous limestone cliffs, it’s hard not to think that this is the greatest place you’ve ever been.