Wednesday, March 25, 2015

7 Tricks and Tips to get the most out of Koh Phi Phi

Me and Sarah (Sarah's camera)
1. Walk around. As common as that piece of advice might sound, walk around. As in really take the time to explore the place. You'll see a lot of locals, non-locals, backpackers, and non-categorized individuals(!). What's interesting is the overwhelming number of backpackers/full-time travelers/full-time beach bums that have settled permanently or semi-permanently in Phi Phi. And as such, although I never visited before the over-exposure of the island to tourists, Phi Phi has definitely exchanged some of its raw beauty and local charm for alcohol-filled bars, bucket stands, fire shows, hookah places, and western food joints with a Thai twist. 
Fire jump ropes where drunk kids and professional muscled-up Thai men and young boys jump over with high chances of burn.
2. Don't book your hostel online before you arrive there. That's because not all accommodations are listed online and by booking online you actually might end up robbing yourself of a much better place to stay for cheaper even! Plus you really don't want to stay in the center, if you could call it a center since Phi Phi is tiny to begin with, because the places there are gross, loud, roach-filled, and will likely smell like puke at night (sorry if that was an overly gross description, just trying to look out for you!). Which brings me to...
Our honeymoon suite
3. Do book a honeymoon suite, if the opportunity presents itself. So when we arrived on the island, [we is me and 3 of my girlfriends], we decided to look around to see what we could find, preferably away from the center. We found our place at the end of the main road, as it was the last place there, and asked if they had rooms available. He actually offered us the honeymoon suite which he said the 4 of us were allowed to share which came with a big bed and a long sofa-bed and the price divided by 4 was cheaper than any other place we could've found. We gladly accepted and had the best time ever staying there. If you're a hard core back-packer, don't shy away from staying in a non-hostel just because it's not a hostel. Give it a chance especially in S.E. Asia and you might be pleasantly surprised. 
Entrance to our suite lol
Bathroom selfie in our bathroom that had a running fountain in the shower
 4. Do get a hair wrap from the awesome hair wrap guy. Ok, I do realize this is a vague statement but getting a hair wrap from the awesome hair wrap guy is a must. His name is Sit. He is really talented and besides doing very unique and creative hair wraps, he also makes leather bags, and other types of jewelry by hand. While we were there we couldn't help but notice how great his work was and really wanted to encourage him to take his work international. He said that many people ask him for his email or website so they can buy his products when abroad, but that he doesn't own a computer and has no idea how to use one. So I promised to help him out. I made him an email account before I left the island the next morning, wrote down the instructions for him on how to log into his account and send emails, and left. I hope that it has helped him make more income as the income he makes goes to support his family which lives in an island nearby. His shop can be easily missed as he has it covered with his bags and jewelry but try looking to your right while walking to the beach, across from the pizza slice place and hopefully you'll find him there crafting an awesome hair wrap for an Australian girl who has been backpacking around the world for the past 9 months :D Say hi to him for me when you see him. Tell him I made his email account for him and let me know if he's become a hair wrap monopolist in Phi Phi!
Sarah, Zoe, Gift, and I with Sit, the hair wrap guy!
Fun fact: Even though he said the wrap would probably come off in a month or two, I actually kept in on for another six or so months until it came off randomly while I was in Austria!

5. Do negotiate your way to getting a 100 baht long boat ride to any beach of your choosing. On the day we wanted to do this, the tides were really high and so we couldn't go to Monkey beach which is where we initially wanted to go. The truth they don't want you to know is (not sure who they is): all the beaches are gorgeous, relatively peaceful, and you can't go wrong. But then again you probably knew that. The long boats are an experience in themselves and if you haven't done them in any other island, then give it a try at Phi Phi. Chances of disappointment are slim to none. 





6. Go scuba diving. This was personally my first time scuba diving and if it weren't for my friend, Zoe, who's been doing this for years I probably wouldn't have gone. One thing you'll notice when you get to Phi Phi is there are a lotttttt of scuba diving schools set up there. We decided to go with Blue View Divers which was ran by two fun girls (one Irish and the other Australian). They were really helpful, understanding of typical questions and fears that might arise, and really just all around fun. Sarah and I both went with the beginner group whereas Zoe went with the professional group. This just meant we each went under water with a different instructor and a separate group of people, but we were all on the same boat together (pun intended?). 

Blue View used a long boat for transportation (pictured above), which #motionsicknessalert: made me threw up once we got off of it in the water. It could've been a mix of fear, not having had enough sleep in days, no food, I don't know but it happened so just a heads up. It's nothing too big to care about though. 
Sarah's camera, Zoe's photography, me in water
The equipment is very heavy and figuring out how to breathe with that thing in your mouth is really hard in the beginning. Plus your ears will pop and will keep popping for a few days after. Is it worth it? YES YES YES ABSOLUTELY YES. There's a reason why there are so many dive places there. It's beautiful underneath the water there. Our instructor also showed us a colorful part and on the second dive some dead corals (Which makes you really sad) just to show us the effects we can have on our sea life. Blue View was particularly environmentally-conscious, and our instructor would even pick up any plastic bags and plastic products that she saw floating around while we were under water. She held my hand and led me a few times when I had a moment of confusion under water and overall this was just a wonderful wonderful experience.

Lunch Spot before the second dive
So scuba diving actually seems to make you hungry, and Blue View provides you with your lunch of choice, but because of all the motion sickness and weird altitude changes you are not that hungry anyways. I got stung by a jelly fish on our first dive, and so my arm was stinging really badly by lunch but thankfully I didn't have to have someone pee on it since they had already came prepared with vinegar, which is your alternative to human pee!
With Zoe and Sarah :)
So to summarize I had a great time scuba diving with this particular company. I can not speak for any other places on the island as I haven't tried them. There was one that was owned by an Israeli gentleman who actually saved my life one night and I owe him many thank yous till forever. I saw him the day I was leaving standing by his shop and I thanked him for being my guardian angel, but that's another story entirely. Anyways, this was my personal experience, I enjoyed it, and I'm sure you will too whichever company you decide to go with.
7. And finally, if you are cheesy like me, don't pass up on "candid" modeling photo ops, on the beach, while dehydrated and sorta hung over. Make your friends do it with you. It's more fun that way. 
Only put this one up so you can see my hair wrap better. Don't mind the face lol

And if you still have time, go up to the viewpoint. I didn't but I would if I go back there again. 

A link I found that I think you guys might like:

Bye Koh Phi Phi!
and delicious late night Nutella Rotis! JK, I had many more rotis after that…kbye!
As always, I hope you enjoyed this read. I hope it helped you in some way or another, or maybe just put a smile on your face. Whatever it was, don't forget to leave me a comment below, subscribe, follow, so that you put a smile on my face, and share this on your social media so that hopefully you put a smile on somebody else's face as well. Till next time! :)

2 comments:

  1. Now I need to visit Thailand! Great write up Ava!

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    1. Yeyyy Brett! Glad you liked it and thanks for taking the time to comment :) That's definitely an encouragement to me. I'm happy you want to visit Thailand now, it's such a magical place :)

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