From a distance, the Koh Phi Pi island, bulging out of the sea, already looks somewhat extreme.
Its lush nature and paradisiac beaches are… very attractive.
As a result, it draws hordes of tourists …
… of all shapes and colors.
The highly instagrammable scene fuels the flux.
The mix of crowds descending on the island can be a bit surreal, and the “village” doesn’t feel like anything close to “normal”.
Some places draw tourists in with the promise of “getting beat up” …
… and most rely on the omnipresent booze.
Unsurprisingly, not everybody there looks as refreshed as one could hope from a vacation …
…. and I don’t envy the people who have to watch over this spectacle day in day out for a living. I wonder what they think of the Westerners.
(And to me it looks like one of these cameras is turning its gaze in despair 😂) – but I know I’m being judgmental here 😉.
But actually, there is a lot more to Koh Phi Phi!
Although the island mostly lives from tourism, it is also home to fishermen, professional …
… or more casual.
Like almost everywhere else in the world, kids go to school…
… but their commute is not quite like most!
The only visible marks of the devastating tsunami of 2004 which claimed close to 5000 lives on the island is the warning signs present everywhere along the coast.
Tourism in Koh Phi Phi is not all about partying wildly though.
Beautiful and preserved nature is just a few minutes of long-tail ride away … (long tails are these small rudderless wooden boats with propellers mounted at the end of long steel rods)
… including the stunning Maya Bay, made famous by the movie “The Beach” with Leonardo di Caprio and Virginie Ledoyen. (Access to the beach is currently  prohibited to give a chance for the local ecosystem to regenerate, after beaten up by the crowds for years).
Although you’re unlikely to be alone enjoying the dramatic scenery and pristine water …
… more peaceful beaches do exist …
… but they are slightly more elitist.
I leave Koh Phi Phi with mixed memories, of an incredibly beautiful and romantic place …
… outside of the shockingly crowded and loud areas.
At the end of the day, I leave definitely feel more refreshed than some 😅
If you like this article, please share it! And comments are always welcome.
You may also be interested in other articles about the same trip:
- One night in Bangkok – the urban side
- “Bangkok, Arrivals” – a street portrait in the sky…
- Peaceful Pa Pong Piang terraced rice fields
- Unexpected serenity in Chiang Mai, tourism capital of northern Thailand
- and more on the way!
More to come, stay tuned!