Traveling to Phi Phi Island on a budget
Phi Phi Island Accommodation | Backpackers traveling to Phi Phi Island
Traveling to Phi Phi Island has been immensely popular in the last 20 years but it has not always been like that. While backpackers were exploring the larger islands of Phuket and Koh Samui, the more remote destinations of Phi Phi, Taru Tao and Koh Mook, were relatively hidden and stayed very much untouched.
Back then, Phi Phi island revolved around the Birds Nest Soup harvest from the Viking Cave, coconuts and cashew nut harvesting and fishing and the first backpackers arrived by longtail boat to find paradise lost, but very much in a Robinson Crusoe fashion. The first bungalows at the main beach on Phi Phi Don Village, where the present day Phi Phi Island Cabana Hotel were a very simple thatched hut, maybe with a mosquito net, without fan or air con and the obligatory shared wash rooms.
The island is 90% cliff and mountain and so while the village has grown up as one of the best holiday destinations in Thailand, the views and landscapes that first greeted the early backpackers remains much the same . The towering cliffs of the main Tonsai Bay still soar above the hotel near the pier, the view point still defines the main view of the village as 2 beaches in the shape of a dumb bell.
Since the advent of tourism, Leonardo Di Caprio made the movie "The Beach" in Maya Bay and raised the profile of Phi Phi Island as both a sensationally beautiful island but also a paradise that is visited by thousands of Backpackers every year.
Main draws for backpackers to Phi Phi
- No cars. The flat part of the island is so small there are no cars and this means you walk and what better way to get around than with a backpack. It also means it's not a dressy place where you need more than a couple of changes of clothes.
- The are many guesthouses on the island like Baan Thai Guesthouse which are great places to meet and greet other travelers, swap stories and work out where to continue on their travels. These guesthouses are relatively inexpensive in low season when there are less people around but can and do go up and down in price 2 -3 times a week depending on how full the island is when this island is full or near full.
- Diving. The island has over 20 dive schools and divign is taught in almost all languages (including Korean, Japanese and German) and though they have a price moratorium many backpackers come to Phi Phi island expressly to learn to dive, do dive courses and have great party dives. Diving is very serious in terms of safety but the social side of Phi Phi Diving marks the islands as some of the most fun places to hang out in all Thailand.
- Nightlife; As a fun place to party with great prices, Phi Phi has all the fun buzz of Phuket and Koh Samui with out the girly bars and any of the formality. Many beaches are half on the sand, like Hippies Bar and the other famous destinations are in the village like the Reggae bar where there is nightly Thai Boxing and prizes for those who want to have a go at boxing themselves! There are probably to many bars on the islands and so many travelers head to the island because of the great deals like 2 for one, half prize cocktails etc. You have got to be there to experience it it is wild.
- Dining; The Phi Phi Island food experience varies between the high end resorts at Zeavola Phi Phi Resort or one off restaurants like Unni's and Le Grand Bleu and the street markets of the Phi Phi Village. In between you have a multitude of Thai restaurants some specializing on the National Thai dishes of the mainland and many on the beach celebrating the the seafood specialties of Phi Phi island. There are bakeries and you can get a decent cup of coffee without Starbucks and the like.
- Cool Beaches; The beach at Loh Dalum is a hot favorite with people traveling on the island. Overlooking world class view of Nui bay cliffs backpackers hang out here enjoying the sun, the friendship, the sublime Phi Phi paradise.
In the high season when prices for guesthouses and hotel rooms start to climb for the Christmas, New Year, Chinese New Year, Thai New year peaks, the island is a wonderful mixture of the moneyed staying at the suites at The Phi Phi Cabana Hotel and backpacker all wearing the easy going clothes of the beach. It is the joyous eclectic mix of people that make Phi Phi Island one of the best small island tourist destinations of the world.
Last Updated: 01 Mar 2012