At times, all one wants to do, is to relax in the sun, surrounded by the luxury of a picture-perfect and marvellous white sandy beach. If this is done on an island of lush greenery and crystalline blue waters, then all the better. This month, HOT Magazine has the pleasure of taking you to one of Thailand’s most fantastic sites: the paradisiac islands of Koh Phi Phi.
As always though, we begin with some history. Legend has it, that this island may have derived its name from Krabi, meaning “sword”. It is said that an antique sword was found and removed from the deep of its soil before the town came to be formally founded. The name itself does not have its origin in the Thai language, but in Malay: its original name was Pulau Api-Api, which translates to “The Fiery Isle”. This references the Pokok Api-Api, meaning “Fiery Tree” in English, due to the many grey mangrove trees that are found throughout the entire island. It has been deduced through the discovery of archaeological remnants, that Koh Phi Phi was one of Thailand’s oldest communities and that it is so old in fact, that it is said to date back to times of prehistory, over twenty-two centuries ago. Today, we have just hints of what the Island’s ancestors left us with, for instance, the art of batik painting which is still today practiced by the locals. In addition, there is a large availability of Krabi handicrafts, such as the very rustic pineapple paper.
Koh Phi Phi is 38 Km southwest of Krabi, off of Thailand’s Andaman Coast, The Phi Phi islands are some of the most visually stunning in Southeast Asia and are accessible via a mere forty-five-minute speedboat trip or a ninety-minute ferryboat ride from either Phuket or Krabi. This means that one can, in less than an hour, be in Thailand’s ultimate tropical getaway to indulge in all its classic white sandy beaches, incredible rock formations, and translucent turquoise waters.
Koh Phi Phi possesses a great range of wildlife with all colours of the visual spectrum. In the water, there are varieties from the mighty lionfish to the famous clownfish, as well as moray eels and large majestic tortoises. On land, we find the iconic macaque, a cute friendly monkey found in many other parts of Thailand too. We find equally interesting reptiles of different species, from sea to land snakes and monitor lizards.
Koh Phi Phi’s marine wildlife, along with its crystal clear waters, makes it a very popular site for scuba divers and snorkelers alike. The most popular beach for this purpose is Yao Beach. This stretch of sand is south of Ton Sai and provides all of the visitors there some spectacular sights of fantastic coral reefs. Naturally, it is easy to deduce because of its unique natural beauty that Yao Beach receives the greatest quantity of visitors at once, thus if you prefer a quieter holiday spot, you can venture to somewhere like Hin Tao. Hin Tao is a much quieter beach that can solely be accessed by foot. The short journey on foot makes it a remarkable little adventure and once the beach has been reached, its splendour will not disappoint.
Phi Phi is actually a group of six islands. The two main islands are Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh. The bigger and inhabited Phi Phi Don attracts the most visitors to stay in the beautiful shores while the smaller uninhabited Phi Phi Leh has stunning bays and beaches, including the world-famous Maya Bay. Currently closed to tourism to repair the ecosystem, it is where the movie “The Beach” starring 2016 Oscar winner Leonardo Dicaprio, was filmed. It was after the release of the movie that the islands came to have real notable worldwide prominence. All of Koh Phi Phi’s natural beauty is protected by national park status, which means that any infractions or damages to the environment, theft, or activity that compromises the environmental integrity of the island are severely punished by law as a serious crime. It is these strict laws however that have made Koh Phi Phi one of Thailand’s most popular destinations for scuba diving and snorkeling.
One of the “musts” on Phi Phi Don is to check out the viewpoint. It is a ten to twenty-five-minute walk around 186m above sea level which takes you to a spot where one can enjoy the jaw-dropping view of the island in all its entirety. If this walk is too much for your fitness regime, you can also enjoy a similar perspective of the island at the Banana Bar, where you can enjoy some scrumptious snacks and an exotic cocktail while soaking in the magnificence of the view. Other activities on this larger island include a visit to Monkey Beach, where one can try to make friends with its cute little inhabitants but with care, since they can get a little aggressive at times While on the island be sure to take in one of the highly skilled and entertaining fire shows held at night in distinct venues such as Carlito’s, Apache Bar, and Carpe Diem. For quieter moments you can visit the Tsunami Memorial Garden, a peaceful place for some meditation, and paying respect to all the victims of the tragedy.
Ko Phi Phi is known to be heaven on earth. A place made to encounter peace of mind, and which will with its energy cleanse both body and soul. The island’s stunning looks, crystal clear water, and white sandy beaches make it one of the top ten places to visit in the South East Asia region and with international tourism on hold, it is the best time to visit, uncrowded, as it should be. Although many people visit just for the day, booking accommodations on the island for a several day stay is highly recommended!