After Ko Lipe week 2 of S,S,S,S@S2016 was at Ko Phi Phi, otherwise known as “Gap year central” and a vastly different atmosphere to the laid back Ko Lipe.
If Lipe had a soundtrack it would be reggae mixed with Jimmy Buffet and some cool jazz at a beachside bar, Phi Phi’s would a cacophony of techno “music” mixed with the sound of spruikers from the muay thai show, the EPL “football” commentary, and the shrill voices of drunken ladettes carrying buckets of cheap cocktails.
So why did I go there ? It does have some decent snorkelling, and it is halfway to my next destination of Khao Lak and the Similan Islands. It was several hours by boat though, either 7 hours on the Tigerline fast ferry or 5 hours on a speedboat. Neither is especially appealing as the speedboat is quicker but noisy, expensive,crowded and bumpy, the so called fast ferry is slower and usually late but at least it is several hundred baht cheaper and has room to get up and move around so that’s the way I went.
As far as safety goes I do not think either would pass inspection in the real world ( nothing unusual there!) but I’ve never heard of a Thai ferry sinking or capsizing, unlike the speedboats….many incidents involving them ! Obviously I got there safe and sound to write this anyway….
When you get away from the rabbit warren of bars, shops and guesthouses of Tonsai the island is still quite beautiful, just ignore the recent story about 80% of the island’s wastewater flowing untreated into the sea and do not swim in the bay near town !
The best snorkelling I have had at Phi Phi before was at Long Beach/Hat Yao but this time I hiked over to the far side of the island to Lo Moo Dii, quite a hike but well worth it. More variety of coral, plenty of fish and not have to worry about boats passing too close, something that is always a bit of a worry at Long Beach, more of a worry than the harmless sharks at Shark Point.
I was going to go on a longtail boat trip to some of the outer snorkelling spots but I came down with a dose of tummy troubles, and had to stay close to a bathroom that day. I’ve eaten plenty of street food since I’ve been living in Thailand and never had a problem, the only 2 times I’ve been sick have both been here on Phi Phi where I’ve only eaten at restaurants. So that was one day wasted but never mind, there are worse places to be sick than on a tropical island
Next stop is Khao Lak over on the west coast, north of Phuket which means another ferry to Krabi and then a 2 hour minibus ride for an overnight stop before heading out to the Similan Islands for 3 days.