I don’t know if it’s because we came from Koh Lanta (oh, how I miss Koh Lanta) but my first impressions of Koh Phi Phi weren’t great. First of all, we were made to pay 20baht per person on arrival to help fund the clean up of the island due to the “hundreds and thousands of tourists” that come to first every year. I have no problem with this and I’d happily pay some money to help keep such a beautiful island… beautiful. What I had a problem with is that for every 20baht received, they give out one “receipt” to say that it had been paid. Surely one way of starting to clear up the rubbish would be not to hand out hundreds and thousands of unnecessary pieces of paper which will no doubt just get thrown away…
That aside, our journey from the pier to our hotel was mildly stressful. The streets were narrow, there were people everywhere and we couldn’t find our hotel. Our hotel was actually quite close to the pier, but we didn’t know that at the time.
Checking into our hotel (PP Charlie Beach Resort) felt like meeting a teacher on a first day of school. We were given a list of “rules” and fines that we could incur if we “had a guest stay past 9 o’clock” or “got dirt or colour on a towel”. I’m not a hotel snob or anything but this place just wasn’t all that nice. If there’s heavy construction on site, it’s nice to have a bit of forewarning before your arrival (or before booking would be even better!). Our room was small and stuffy, the toilet seat had stains on it and the shower couldn’t decide which direction to spit water so ended up just doing it everywhere. We also had a kind reminder not to “flush any condoms down the toilet”… It was what I imagine a cheap and cheerful Ibiza/Magaluf hotel to be like.
After a half an hour rest, we decided to go for an explore; this is when my opinion of Koh Phi Phi changed. Koh Phi Phi is stunning. The beach was still relatively quiet despite all the hustle and bustle in the streets and the surrounding scenery was beautiful.
Of course, it’d be rude not to check out Charlie Beach’s “infinity pool”… Or lack there of. Don’t get me wrong, the view from the pool is awesome. And the pool itself is pretty nice. But, when booking the hotel, a lot of what it prided itself on (and a lot of the positive comments left in the reviews) was it’s infinity pool. I’m not too fussed if a pool is infinity or not, but I don’t think a hotel should be calling it that if it’s not going to put enough water in the pool for it to be so…
After a drink on the beach, Harry and I met up with our friends later that evening and ended up coming away with a few pretty nifty tattoos (even if my parents would disagree). I’ll write another post about that, but let me just say that I’m now happy to be the proud owner of a traditional Thai bamboo tattoo!
Honestly, Koh Phi Phi is an undeniably beautiful place and it strives from tourism, but sadly I feel that tourism has ruined it slightly. When I walk along the beach at night, I want to hear the sound of the sea, not pumping club music and disco lights. It’s also nice to see some authentic Thai shops and restaurants, not just piles and piles of the same touristy stuff being sold and the same overpriced dishes in most restaurants.
I’m glad I got to see this amazing part of the world but, unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be returning to Koh Phi Phi any time soon. In my eyes, it’s similar to a “club holiday” destination in Europe. Maybe I’m getting old, but I just want to chill out instead!