Koh Phi Phi – not so ‘Pure Shores’…

We had been warned by several people before arriving at Koh Phi Phi that it has been spoilt by tourism but I don’t think we really prepared ourselves for it!

When we arrived at the pier, we were a bit overwhelmed. There are no cars on the island but there are thousands of people! There are people riding bicycles and beeping you to get out of the way. There are huge metal wheelbarrow things that take up nearly the whole path shouting “beep!” to get you to move… they use them to ferry building materials, produce, travellers’ bags etc around the island. We were hoping to meet someone from our hostel with one of the aforementioned wheelbarrows at the pier but unfortunately they were a no-show so we had to walk. We were absolutely exhausted by the time we got to our accommodation, JJ Bungalows, little did we know that our trek had not finished. We checked in and were down to our room. It was up a flight of stairs, then another, then along, then down a flight, then along, then up again and along, then down and along and up to our room. Seriously.

When we got in, we collapsed on the beds, decided that there would definitely be no future army career for either of us… and relished in the air con room for a while before heading to the pool.  That evening, we went to explore the island. It was heaving with people and we were being handed flyer after flyer offering cheap buckets, fire shows, film screenings etc. One person handing out flyers was dressed as a banana – clearly living the dream!

We wandered down to the beach, it was so vast!



There is a strip of bars and restaurants along the beach front. We decided to head back later and catch a fire show.




It was mad! Some of the boys doing it were so young but they were amazing! All of a sudden, the wind picked up and we all had to run inside before the rain started, it was like a monsoon! When it finally stopped, we headed back to the room, up the many stairs…

The next day, we’d booked yet another boat trip, which included a trip to Maya Bay, a.k.a The Beach-beach. It was a half day trip starting at 2pm.

Our first stop was Monkey Beach, so called because…



They were so tame, other people were blatantly ignoring the ‘Do not feed the monkeys’ sign and hand-feeding them nuts and crisps. It war nice to see them in a free environment but a shame that people weren’t enforcing the rule.

After Monkey Beach, we drove past Viking Cave. It’s amazing that people live in there!


After that, we headed to a snorkeling spot at Koh Phi Phi Leh.

The surroundings were gorgeous but the water wasn’t as clear as in other places… after three bouts of snorkeling, we are a little snobbish haha!

Finally, we assumed that we were heading to Maya Bay, our main reason for booking the trip. Oh what’s that Mr Longboat driver? We aren’t going directly there? We have to jump out of the boat, swim in low tide over rocks sand coral before clambering up a lethal rope construction, climbing up wet, uneven steps before climbing down the other side, walking barefoot over broken coral and other debris and walking through the jungle before reaching the beach? Oh right. What’s that? I have to pay 100 baht for the privilege? Smashing.




Kim had a headache so she (wisely) stayed on the boat but I bravely (stupidly) ventured forward. I split my toe open and grazed my hands and legs making my way to the rope ladder. As I limped through the jungle, pleased that I hadn’t opted for my strapless bikini that day, I was frankly quite angry that I’d had to do that. It was so dangerous! But, the beach was beautiful! White sands, turquoise seas. However, within minutes, the beach was filled with tourists – yes I know we are tourists…but it was a lovely beach, spoiled slightly by my injuries and several groups of tourists doing the whole, 1,2,3, JUMP IN THE AIR AND SCREAM! Which gets old.

After an hour, we had to attempt to get back the way we came. Great.  This, as expected, was horrendous. When I finally got back on the boat, there was no way I was going back in the water that day.  We headed to another snorkeling bit but most people weren’t really in the mood after the previous experience… we then headed to our last place, the middle of the ocean to watch the sunset. This sounds better than reality. It was so rocky that a few people were getting seasick. So after finding out that we would have to wait there for over an hour…we decided to head back to land. 

That evening we had dinner at a place called Reggae Bar:


There was a Thai boxing ring in there! After dinner we headed back to the beach, via an ice cream stall with a difference!





We ate our ice cream rolls on the walk to the beach where we found a completely different atmosphere. There were fire shows going on all around but with audience participation…wise?!

There were loads of different things going on! Fire limbo, an actual ring of fire for people to jump through, it was madness!

During the ring of fire, we spotted an old man jumping through it! He received a huge cheer for making it through. We spotted him later on, dancing on the podium! He was pulling some serious shapes!

Luckily for us, he decided to come over and chat to us for ages… We found out that he was called Greg, he was 65 and Australian. He was also a party animal!

This is Greg.


He was a character! We escaped and laughed all the way back to the hostel.

On our last night, we went back to Woody’s bar yet again to watch the fire show. There were loads of different shows at other bars along the beach, yet we chose to go back to the same one each night as they were the most…talented on the beach, and girls like boys with skills…if they’re half naked, muscular boys with skills, that’s even better!

So there we go, that’s what we’ve been up to in Koh Phi Phi. We are heading to Phuket next!



8 responses to “Koh Phi Phi – not so ‘Pure Shores’…

  1. Reading this brings back good memories. I remember the dangerous swim to ‘the beach’. It was awful at the time but has actually now become one of the stories I tell over and over again but now with a smile on my face. Strangely, it’s the odd and scary moments that you remember and laugh about. I’ve been following your blog and sounds like you are having a great time. Enjoy girls. I leave in 3 weeks to begin my adventure! 😀

    • It was pretty horrendous but I’m pleased, in a strange way that I did it! I’m a bit battered and bruised now though! Where are you off to?

  2. I struggled with it too, but was so pleased I did it. It’s all about the experience after all. I fly into Bangkok and travelling to the north of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and then Australia. So excited.

      • Chiang Mai is where I will be heading straight from Bangkok, so will be looking forward to reading what you have to say about it. Really looking forward to seeing a different side of Thailand. Thank you. Hope you continue having an amazing time.

    • There is a pic of him, it just didn’t load properly when the post was first published…bruises are fading now, was a bit of a nightmare at the time haha! X

  3. Hi you two gosh what a day you had how brave were you Laura , I have tried tanging you a few times with no luck perhaps its no good where you are, enjoy Phuket, Your great Auntie Rosie nans sister went there so many times with my cousin Sandra her daughter they love you loads missing you hope we get to tango soon . love granma xxxxxxwe .

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