Last week we spent a few days discovering the beautiful Phi Phi Islands, or as they say, “Koh Phi Phi”. After almost 3 weeks in Phuket we decided it was time to hit the “ocean” in search of some new adventures. During our time there we found so many unique places and with a little bit of digging we were able to have an amazing time.
Our trip also included a few bumps that we were not prepared for! This made me realize how helpful it would have been to have some “islander” insight before making the trip. So I’ve decided to jot down 6 of the most important tips that are sure to help you have an amazing time as an “islander”:
1. Travel Light
The trick to island living is to travel light! This is not only beneficially for the island itself, but for the ferry trip as well. Getting on and off the ferry is where the trouble comes in – it becomes a heavy situation when you have to drag a big suitcase across one narrow little ramp! Once you get on the island it is also important to note that there are no vehicles – no taxis, no scooters, no nothing. Just porters who push these huge metal wagons from one side of the island to the other, passing through the narrow cobble stone streets. So traveling light really comes in handy when your own two feet is your only source of transportation. If you feel like you need to pack more because there is “nothing on the island” – don’t worry! They have amazing clothing boutiques, pharmacies, 7-Elevens, and more to take care of all those things you may not have packed. So trust me, travel light. You WON’T regret it!
2. Understand the Hotel Agents
Right when you disembark onto the island, as you walk along the docks you will be greeted by hotel agents, transporters, and other sales people. Now, if you’ve booked into a specific hotel there will be someone there to greet you and to transport your luggage to the hotel. However, if you are feeling a bit more adventurous (like we were), and you didn’t book a hotel, then feel free to check out some of the offers that the agents might have for you. However be aware, the deals they have require you to pay them and not the hotel. This isn’t always the most secure option, so use your discretion. Also remember that even though the hotels say they are full, there may still be open rooms offered online. So overall, if you need a little bit of extra help with your luggage it is great to either book ahead or use an agent. However, you will also find great hotels around if you have some time to explore the island first (see tip #3).
3. Check out The PP Insula Hotel
So as I mentioned, we went to the island without booking ahead to find a local hotel that isn’t found on every online accommodation site. Our best find was the PP Insula Hotel. It is situated in a great location – in the middle of the island, which is away from the mid-night noise yet still close enough to walk to either side of the island within 5-10 minutes. There are also several restaurants, shops, and super markets right in the vicinity which was great. It is really an awesome deal for amazing service with clean and comfortable rooms. But remember: it’s not found online so the hotel is cash-online and requires a deposit upon arrival just to cover the potential loss of the hotel room key. Overall, we had a great stay and will be back!
4. Enjoy a Fire Show
Every evening the island comes a live – both in the town itself and on the beaches. After the sun sets, head over to the main beach (opposite side of the island from the port) to see the incredible fire shows! The beaches really come alive and the island presents an incredible nightlife for all. Many of the beachside bars provide cushioned seating on the sand where you can comfortably enjoy the show while having an ice cold drink. Important tip: do NOT forget your mosquito repellent! If you didn’t bring any with you to the island, they are available for purchase in most any of the super markets, 7-Elevens and Fresh Marts. Truly an island that stocks for any demand!
5. Book a Long Tail Boat trip
This was one of our favourite parts of the entire trip. Be sure to find and book with a company right on the island. This is a much better option and value for your money than it is to book online. Look for an agent that presents set packages, and avoid the ones who want to sit you down and “figure it out”… this leaves too much room for interpretive pricing! We booked a whole-day trip around the islands which took us to the most amazing places. They take you on a tour to the most popular beaches and some of the best snorkelling spots. They provide you with a breakfast, lunch, and fresh fruit for the day as well as plenty of drinking water. You are also fully equipped with snorkelling gear to enjoy the beautiful natural scenery at every stop.
6. Reserve Your Taxi-Bus Through the Ferry Company
When coming to the islands we had pre-booked an open-end return ticket which allowed us to stay as long as we wanted and return whenever we had had our fill of island living. Upon leaving we also asked about their package deals for once we got back to the mainland. The ferry companies have amazing deals for taxi-busses that will take you either straight to your hotel or to the airport. A regular taxi to the airport costs between 800 and 1000 baht. Through the ferry company we were able to book a spot in one of their tax-busses for 200 baht per person – score! This secured us a comfortable drive and bag service all the way to the airport.
So there you have it! Keep in mind, these are just a few tips for a short trip to the islands. Once there you will discover that there is oh so much to do and so much more to see!
If you are more interested in a full scuba diving experience, there are several great diving companies to take you on some amazing guided scuba tours at famous spots around the island. Along with this there are also numerous little authentic restaurants, big slices of pizza, and even some great boat tours for water sports enthusiasts!
My hope is that you will take these tips with you to make your very own island experience more than you could have ever imagined!
As always, desire to inspire!
Featured image: Unsplash