14.08.2011 – 19.08.2011 Sunny 30 °C
To Koh Phi Phi then. Average boat journey you could say, crossing took a couple of hours and was a bit bumpy. As we arrived we were soon hit for another donation of 20bt to ‘keep Phi Phi clean’. Only 40p each but you know it’s going straight into the government’s pockets (or the guy I gave it to).
First impressions were not overly good. There are no roads on Phi Phi so I didn’t really know what to expect. It was closed in with a market feel to it, all the shops were like stalls, set out in a grid formation with small pathways. The annoying Thais don’t leave you alone when they have stuff to sell either so these skinny paths are in their favour. We found a hotel to stay at with free Wi-Fi in the lobby and some rooms, internet is a necessity these days. The troll behind the desk assured me you could get wireless access in the room. I bartered as best I could with him but he wouldn’t go down anything and was starting to get stroppy. Miserable bastard, bartering is a way of life in Thailand and as long as you keep it friendly and don’t take the piss there is no reason to get the ump. The troll wasn’t playing ball though. We took the room anyway, which was nice, although the view of a cement mixer directly outside the sliding doors left a lot to be desired, and unpacked our gear. I switched on the computer and guess what? No Wi-Fi. I went out to have a word and as I approached, he said ‘one moment please’ which was acceptable although I’m sure he was just ponsing about on Facebook, the scrawny sod. He said ‘What’s wrong now?’ as if I complained about something before. I said ‘there is no Wi-Fi in the room when you distinctly said there was’. ‘Right, you pack and go’ he said. ‘What? What are you on about?’. He replied ‘you no like, you go, don’t waste my time’, reminiscent of Mr Chow from The Hangover. If I wasn’t suffering from shock at what had just happened I might have thought about swinging for him. I reluctantly agreed to stay one night as both of us were tired and another boat load of tourists turned up after we arrived, so we didn’t know how many rooms would be available elsewhere. First thing the next day we planned to leave.
We went for a walk down to the beach expecting to see the amazing sand and sea everyone had been banging on about since we arrived in KL. Instead we found a dingy excuse for a beach with the tide out leaving huge exposed rocks and sludge hanging around, because of this we presumed it must be on the other side of the island. Phi Phi doesn’t have the normal four or more sides you would expect, it only has two beaches, and we arrived on one. Not impressed so far.
Out for breakfast the next morning after relocating to Lux Apartments, a nice set of huts in the backdrop of jungle flora for 600baht a night, we walked back to the beach. We were pleasantly surprised, at last. The manky looking beach with the ugly slimy rocks had disappeared and in its place turquoise blue water stood which complimented the gold sand. The beach was packed, and I mean packed. There was about ten metres between the bars and the sea lapping up and every inch was being utilised by sun worshipping Europeans. We found a gap, grabbed it and sat out in the bright sunshine for the best part of the day.
The days seemed to run into each other and before we knew it we’d done four, filling them with sunbathing and decent eating. Phi Phi had been massively hyped up to us by other backpackers, the internet, tourist information services and the Lonely Planet. Because of this I didn’t know what to expect but was hugely looking forward to it. Truth is though, it’s over crowded, rammed with backpackers, most of them twats who love themselves, expensive compared to other parts of Thailand, and geared up mainly for diving and snorkelling which doesn’t really interest me. A few island hopping tours are available at inflated prices and big piss ups complete the activities available. Don’t get me wrong, I love a beer, but average bars playing crap music, very loud, full of pricks looking for a row and orange girls caked in make up isn’t my idea of a good night. I just couldn’t get into the vibe of Phi Phi. Verdict: Worth a visit if you in the area but I wouldn’t go out of my way. Overrated.