5 things nobody tells you about Koh Phi Phi Don

The Phi Phi islands are some of the most picturesque islands in Thailand.  The have pristine white sand beaches, beautiful crystal clear waters, and some amazing cliffs.  This is what is advertised and what most people expect but there are some untold truths about Koh Phi Phi Don (The biggest and most populated of the islands) that no one tells you about.

1-It’s dirty, very dirty

It seems like as soon as your get off the ferry there is some form of garbage pretty much anywhere you look.  As your wonder through the streets you will notice some places are dirtier than others, but nowhere is clean (with the exception of the very expensive resorts, they look great).  You will notice random fires people have set in an attempt to “clean up” the garbage.  And on arrival, you must pay a 20baht/person clean up fee.  I have yet to see anyone but a tourist picking up garbage so I am not sure where that money is going.   Even the water in Loh Dalam Bay is very dirty, we were advised many times not to go into the water here although you do see quite a few backpackers going for a dip (generally once they have had a few buckets, see # 4).

2-There is a ridiculous amount of flies

Because there is so much garbage, the island has become home to probably the most flies I have ever seen.  They don’t bite but they are incredibly annoying as they land on you non-stop just to give you a little tickle.

3-It is packed with tourists

If you have been to Venice in the summer you will know what I am talking about.  Everywhere you go there seems to be swarms of people including all the seemingly secluded beaches.  After about 5 pm, most of the day-trippers have gone home but things do not slow down, the party people emerge and the place turns into a gong show.

4-It’s loud & full of drunk/ high people

The island is most definitely predominantly a younger crowd who like to party. Seriously, this place is like a frat house.   The party is real on this island day or night with booze sold by the bucket and mushroom shakes readily available, what do you expect?  Once the sun sets everyone moves to the beach for an epic beach rave with fire shows and no shortage of free shots.  I hope you like techno because you will be hearing it all night if you are staying anywhere in the main town.

5-There are no motorize vehicles and it is not handicap friendly

The only way to get around this island is with your own two feet.  There are some steep hills and steps so this is most definitely not a good place to visit for anyone with any kind of mobility issue.  While it can still be done, it might be difficult.  There are no taxis, tuk-tuks or anything of this nature to help you get around the island.   The hotel/ guesthouse you are staying at may, however, have a Sherpa type guy who will put your bags in a trolley and show you to the hotel.

Don’t get me wrong despite all the stuff nobody tells you before you visit Koh Phi Phi Don is absolutely stunning if you can get past the garbage, flies, and people.  It is worth a visit but maybe just for a night or two unless you like to party non-stop, then buy a house.

Have you been to Koh Phi Phi Don?  What did you think?  Was there anything else you weren’t expecting?

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