Sunday, July 2, 2017

Ko Phi Phi, Thailand - what goes through your mind when you hear about this place? Long tail boats, "The Beach", booze and party cruises I reckon are just some of the things you first think of. Well same like you, I too expected to experience these things in Phi Phi. My #destination_duo partner, Tia, and I visited the island and not only had a taste of the 'mainstream' but also the tranquil and de-stressing side of the island.

1. Where did we stay?

After Phuket, we headed straight to Phi Phi and spent 3 days & 2 nights there. We started the trip on the other side of the island where Holiday Inn was. The hotel is not in the main area of Phi Phi and is only accessible by water from Tonsai Pier. We took a ferry and paid 200 Baht for a 45-min ride to the resort. Not bad compared to the 1,000 Baht long tail boats usually charge.

Holiday Inn Phi Phi is located in Laem Tong Beach, a much calmer area of the island where you can unwind and enjoy your holiday without being bothered by a lot of tourists. Tia and I longed for some R&R and it was the perfect place to spend our first day on the island. We killed time in our beachfront villa and caught one of the most unreal sunsets at the Ocean Sunset Pool which is just one of the 3 pools Holiday Inn Phi Phi has. 

The villa was more than enough for us two and the best thing was it was only a couple of steps from the beach - like around 10! We also got the chance to try their restaurant for dinner and boy was the food good! (I had steamed fish while Tia got prawns)

Ocean Sunset Pool at Holiday Inn

Beach bag from STASH.
Breakfast area and our bedroom.

2. Why Laeng Tom Beach? 

Phi Phi is one of the popular Thai Islands and is well known for partying, well next to Koh Phangan. There's a massive number of bars, hostels and restaurants on the main area of the island! On high season, Phi Phi gets overly crowded and for such small island it can get populated quite easily. 

If you're the type of person who tries to avoid the mass tourists as much as possible, then Laeng Tom Beach may be the best fit for you. It's perfect for those couples who want to enjoy some time alone or those travellers who simply want to savour Phi Phi without being bothered. 

Thailand's popular long-tail boats.

3. What to do in Laeng Tom Beach? 

Though located far from the centre, this area is secluded yet still lively. There are a number of activities to do such as snorkelling, kayaking and beach volleyball. But if you opt for some island hopping then you can go to Bamboo Island, Mosquito Island and some unspoiled beaches. Maya Bay tour is also available; Holiday Inn offers it to their guests.

There are also a couple of restaurants along the beach--they offer happy hour and pretty sweet candlelight dinner. When you're there, you immediately sense that everybody is in chill mode, like nobody there is in a hurry which I find amusing thinking Phi Phi is known to be busy and wild. 

You can read more about the island here.

Had the beach to myself!

4. Our Itinerary - 3days 2nights 

1. 1st Day
  - Traveled to Laem Tong Beach from Tonsai Pier (45 mins)
  - Checked-in at Holiday Inn Phi Phi
  - Enjoyed the sunset
  - Dinner at the resort 

2. 2nd Day
  - Woke up 5:30am to catch the sunrise
  - Went to the gym & savoured our breakfast buffet after
  - Swam in the pool & kayaked at the beach
  - Checked-out
  - Moved to Tonsai Village (45 mins ferry)
  - Checked-in in a hostel (600 Baht)
  - Explored the main area
  - Caught the sunset at Phi Phi Viewpoint - MUST!
  - Dinner & a few drinks

3. 3rd Day
  - Woke up 5am for a sunrise boat ride to the popular Maya Bay (1300 Baht) - MUST!
  - Got to Maya Bay around 6am and enjoyed the beach before all the tourists did (will do a separate blog post about this)
  - Headed back to Tonsai 
  - Breakfast at Phi Phi Bakery  MUST!
  - Checked-out
  - Rode the ferry and bus to Koh Phangan (8-9 hrs travel) 

Office overlooking Phi Phi at the popular 'Viewpoint'
(Using HP x360 Pavillion)

5. How much to spend?

-If you're coming from Phuket then you have to take a ferry to get to Phi Phi. Fare range about 300-400 Baht / pax and takes around 2 hours.  We bought our tickets online at Phuketferry. They also offer other ferries to different islands of Thailand.

-Save : In Tonsai Village, hostels and Bed & Breakfasts range from 400-1000 Baht per night. We found ours thru Agoda (for me they always have good rates!)
-Splurge : You can score 4 to 5 star hotels around the island for as low as 2,000 to 4,000 Baht per night. Just be prepared to pay a fee for transportation since most of these hotels are not in Tonsai and are only accessible by water.

-Save :  There are vendors who sell local Thai food around Tonsai Village. For 50 Baht, you can get some Thai delicacies and fruits. Pizza take-aways are also in every corner and you can get a big slice for just 80 Baht. ( 7/11 and a couple of supermarkets are in the area)
-Spend : Restaurants are everywhere Tonsai! Just walk around the village and you can surely spot a resto that offe food you like. A decent meal would cost at average of 200-250 Baht per pax. 

Tia and I appreciating the quite side of Phi Phi<3 td="">

Overall experience - is it worth visiting? 

Ko Phi Phi in general was a great experience albeit short and time-restricted. We were able to tick off some of the famous to-do's on the island even we only had 2 full days in total.

As for budget-conscious travellers, you can definitely explore this place without spending much! Just make sure to stay in Tonsai Village to avoid paying extra for transpo. The main area is small and walkable; restaurants, bars and shops are next to each other. Just don't expect to have a real tranquil experience whilst staying in the Tonsai since this place is the bustling heart of Phi Phi and the beach isn't as nice as Laem Tong.

If you have more money and time to spare, then I recommend for you to stay in resorts far from Tonsai. Personally, I enjoyed the calmer side of the island but of course it won't hurt to spend a day or two also in the centre to at least get a taste of the real Koh Phi Phi.

Hope you enjoyed reading! I will soon after share some tips on how to avoid the crowd and take gore photos in Maya Bay (where "The Beach" was filmed) on my next blog post. Til then!

If you have questions, just leave a comment here or on my Instagram @cheyzmeister 
Follow our adventures on Instagram thru the hashtag #destination_duo.


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