Monkeys, Muay Thai and Magical Marine Life in Ko Phi Phi

April 2, 2013 by


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Ko Phi Phi has to be my favourite place that we have visited in Thailand so far. Located on the south west coast, Phi Phi is a tiny little island that is packed full of things to do as well as having scenery that will blow your mind. You won’t see a single car on the island and you can pretty much walk from one side of the island to the other in less than 15 minutes, which gives it a really intimate atmosphere.

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We splashed down onto Phi Phi four days ago and have been indulging ourselves in some unbelievably good food, copious amounts of alcohol and some truly beautiful sights. We travelled over from Koh Phangan (south east coast of Thailand) after the Full Moon party and it was one of the smoothest journeys that we have done. We paid 800 Baht (£20) and this covered our taxi to the ferry port in Koh Phangan, the ferry over to Surat Thani that took about two and a half hours, a bus to Krabi which lasted 4 and a half hours and then the ferry from Krabi to Ko Phi Phi which was 2 hours. Not a bad price at all and we simply booked it the night before through the hotel that we stayed at Koh Phangan.

The Best Food in South Thailand

The food over here is ridiculously good. If you want to taste some authentic, flavour rich food then Phi Phi is the place for you. One thing that is great about the food on the island is the variety that is available so you will never get fed up of having the same old stuff. Being the kind and generous guys/girl that we are, we have went around and sampled all of the best places to eat here so that you don’t need to worry about visiting any rubbish places!

My favourite restaurant is Papaya, which is right next to the Reggae Bar. Their speciality is the massaman curry which I can confirm as being the best meal that I have eaten since being in Thailand. If you like your spicy food then this will be right up your street. Papaya isn’t the cheapest place on the island but it certainly isn’t the most expensive either. A massaman curry will set you back 150 Baht (around £3), which you can get for around 80-100 Baht in other places. It’s definitely worth the extra though!

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If you want something a little bit different then you can take a visit to the beachside Italian restaurant, Ciao Bella. This is probably one of the more expensive places to eat on the island but it still works out a lot cheaper than most restaurants on Koh Phangan or Koh Tao. We all got stuck in to different seafood and pasta dishes which were out of this world. My recommendation is the ‘Ciao Bella Special’ that consists of some epic seafood in a blue cheese sauce with tagliatelli pasta. Your looking at spending around 300 Baht (around £6) on your meal here but you have to make sure that you visit it at least once.

The last of my favourite restaurants is Garlic. Clearly the owner of the place loves members of the onion family. Garlic has to be the best value for money on the island and bar my meal at Papya, the tofu red curry that I had here was my favourite Thai dish. They also do some great breakfasts here that will help you get over any hangover that you’re faced with. You can expect to pay around 120 Baht for a curry with rice, which is a bargain so make sure to check it out.

What’s the Nightlife Sayin?

Ko Phi Phi is slightly different to the other Thai islands as the nightlife usually comes to an end by 3am. This isn’t to say that the nightlife isn’t amazing though!

On our first night in Phi Phi we were all pretty tired from travelling there but powered through to make sure that we christened our Phi Phi debut with some heavy alcohol consumption. The night didn’t fail to disappoint and the latter stages of the night are pretty hazy to say the least.

After an amazing meal at Papaya we kicked our night off with a trip next door to Reggae Bar where they offer 2for1 buckets all night long. If you’re not familiar with what buckets consist of (in terms of drink, not molecular structure) then it is essentially a 35cl bottle of spirit mixed half and half with mixer. In other words, they’re lethal. To add to the lethal nature of the place there is a Muay Thai boxing ring in the middle of the bar that allows anyone to get in the ring with someone to earn themselves a free bucket. Considering that most of the people in the bar can barely stop themselves from falling over, watching them fight is pretty hilarious. We did find that once we had sunk a couple of buckets that we were contemplating getting in the ring for what we considered ‘a laugh’ but luckily came to our senses after watching endless people regret doing it!

Now that we were all pretty sauced (some more than others), we hobbled down to the beach to see what else was going on. Here is where we found Slinky’s Bar which has an amazing atmosphere and plays a host of house, dance and drum n bass music until around 3pm. They have this crazy pole sticking out of the ground that is around 15ft tall and has a podium at the top that can just about fit your feet on. My guess is that some crazy Thai guy put it there so that he could watch the countless number of drunken Westerners climb to the top and fall on to the sand. I witnessed some mentalist climb to the top and do a handstand on it. Risky!

The night finished with Olly, Laura, Quinn and Doug all vomitting after minesweeping drinks from across the bar. The fact that I wasn’t sick was merely a scientific anomaly. We stumbled back to our accommodation after devouring yet more food from the incredible street vendors. I say that they were incredible but the only times I eat there is when I’m so intoxicated that the seemingly simple task of placing my order feels like a challenge of monumental difficulty. Overall, a hilarious night.

If you’re looking for a more chilled night with a great atmosphere or just want to find somewhere to wind down at the end of the night then High Bar is the place for you. High Bar has the title of ‘the highest bar on the island’ and this doesn’t just refer to its prime location at the top of the beach, so for all you lovers of natural stimulants then there is some pretty good produce to sample! On top of this, High Bar boasts the best stop on Phi Phi to watch both the sunset and sunrise and I would recommend experiencing it because it really is an incredible sight.

Monkeying Around on Phi Phi Island

On our second to last day on Ko Phi Phi we booked up a half day trip over to the surrounding islands. This included Monkey Island, where you can feed the wild monkeys, Maya Beach, where the film The Beach was set and also some snorkelling on the marine-rich bays around the island.

Monkey Island was amazing, we saw loads of monkeys hanging about in the trees and Laura actually handed a monkey some fruit into its hand. I would recommend taking a visit here because it’s a pretty unique experience. Alongside this, Maya Beach has to be the single most beautiful and picturesque sight I have came across in my life; bleach white sand, plush green mountain tops and a whole host of exotic marine life. The snorkelling was awesome too and we seen some really big fish! To top it all off we watched the sunset out at sea. For 400 Baht (£10) its not bad at all.

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Final Bits of Advice

If you’re looking for a reasonably priced yet good quality place to stay then check out either Jong’s Guesthouse or Harmony House as you can get double a/c rooms there for under 1200 Baht a night (£30), which is pretty good for Phi Phi.

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About Matthew Barby

There are few things that Matt loves more than to be sitting on a sunny beach with a cold beer, listening to a bit of Joy Division. Alongside this he's a big food-lover and a seasoned pescetarian, a complete Twitter-whore and spends far too long in front of the mirror in the morning. Get in touch with Matt through Twitter, Google+ or on either his pescetarian food blog or his digital marketing blog.