Island Hopping, Binge Drinking And Playing With Fire In Ko Phi Phi

The ferry finally arrived into Ko Phi Phi. As we neared the main island we pass smaller islets that are stunningly beautiful. Their tall rocky cliffs tower over the sea and are covered with green canopied forests. I stare out of the boat window mesmerized. I feel like I’m at the pearly gates of heaven and I’m about to step into paradise.

Excited, my travel buddy and I grab our bags and get off the boat. Paying a 20 TBH environment fee, we make our way onto the congested pier. We jostled for space and fought back aggressive locals vying for attention. Past the mass of bodies, I glimpse the shoreline and the parked longtail boats. My heart skips a beat, it looks exactly like the movies.

We’d booked at a hotel (The White 2) which turned out to be further from the pier than expected. In Phi Phi distance is relative, because you’re never more than 10 minutes away from anything. The walk to the hotel was pleasant, at least for me. I was only carrying a backpack. My friend (God only knows why) had large suitcases with rollers; by the time we reached the hotel entrance, he was red faced and puffing.

Immediately I notice that the hotel is next to several bars. I take a step back and realize everyone around me are in their mid-twenties or younger. Hmmm, maybe I should’ve done some research on the island before coming here.

Whatever, I don’t care – I’ll be the old dude on the block.

We throw our bags in our room and immediately go out exploring. Which doesn’t take that long, Phi Phi Don Village isn’t that big (check out the map below).


First impressions of the island? There were things that I liked and things that I disliked (borderline hated).

The ferry ride into the island was spectacular. I liked how compact the village was and that I could walk to any beach or attraction that I wanted to. From afar the beaches looked beautiful, but on closer inspection the water turned out to be very muddied. What threw me off the most though was the island’s dive bar atmosphere. Of course, I did zero research before coming to Phi Phi,  I wasn’t aware of its party reputation.

The first night, my friend and I went out and to enjoy the nightlife. We came across one club that had a really great singer. I mean this guy had the whole bar (and an overflow crowd outside) singing with him. Sure, most of the people there were piss drunk and would’ve sung along to anything,  but I thought he was damn good.

Too good for that place.

In Phi Phi they were selling bucket of whisky, vodka and more for 550 THB
In Phi Phi they were selling whiskey, jagermeister and more in buckets.

The next morning, hung over, we headed out to do some scuba diving. There was a dive center right next to our hotel (Sea Frog Dive Center). Being the lazy sloth that I am, I decided they were – THE BEST – dive center on the island based on its closeness to the hotel. I don’t remember exactly how much we paid (somewhere in the range of 2000 – 2500 THB) for two dives.

As with most dive centers, the dive masters were friendly; the equipment though had seen better days. The dives where good (the visibility under water was average) but I got to see some cool marine life.

At the end of the second dive, I just laid out on the boat’s deck enjoying the high that I always get after a dive. Keeping to myself, I silently took in the stunning natural beauty that surrounded us as we returned back to shore.

The diving in Phi Phi was fairly good even with average visibility.
The diving in Phi Phi was fairly good even with average visibility.

After the scuba dive, we went back to our rooms to shower and change before heading out for dinner and drinks. Whatever charm I saw in the bars in the first night completely evaporated on the second. Not to be judgmental (ok maybe a little judgy), but how the hell are these kids not experiencing liver failure? They’re drinking alcohol by the bucket.


I saw more sloppy drunks in one night than I’d seen in my entire 40 years on this Earth. Not a pretty sight.

The other side to drinking so much, it leads to stupid decisions. Some are temporary regrets, like sleeping with someone you don’t know that well. Others a little more permanent, like getting a tattoo of someone’s name that you don’t know that well.

Both will leave you asking: “What the hell happened?”

Every night on the island massive fire shows are held on the beach, most of them on Loh Dalum Bay. It’s  an orgy of drunk partiers, EDM, lights and fire.

Half way through the shows performers would corral spectators to join in. Either by exposing themselves on stage or playing limbo with a bar set on fire. I’m not against nudity or someone getting second degree burns, but everyone was recording the proceedings on their phones or Instagraming it.

Is waking up to realize that your naughty bits are part of the internet ether a temporary or permanent mistake?

Either way, we enjoyed the chaos on the beach and again returned back to the hotel late that night.

By the end of the night, drunk partiers were joining in with the fireshows
By the end of the night, drunk partiers were joining in with the fireshows

I woke up the third day with a piercing headache. Somehow I managed to drag myself out of bed to get ready for an island hopping tour that we’d booked on a longtail boat. Begrudgingly I dragged myself to the pier.

Our island hopping tour covered a lot of ground. We got to snorkel, swim in lagoons and experience some amazing beaches including the famous Maya Bay. The beauty of the places we visited is undeniable. The problem was they were overrun with tourists, which definitely took away from the experience. Thankfully when we stopped at Maya Bay, at the end our tour, it wasn’t congested. Which is surprising given how famous this beach is. We got to enjoy this incredible beach in peace as the sun disappeared for the day.

It was the perfect way to cap our time on Ko Phi Phi.

I enjoyed the longtail tour of different beaches and lagoons near Phi Phi.

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