Sun, sand and palm trees as far as the eye can see – and a martini in your hand while you lounge about by the sea. You might be thinking of Boracay, and that might make you sad given it's still a few days before it officially opens (and getting an in sounds to us a bit complicated). But what if we told you we're talking about Thailand? Koh Phi Phi, specifically, an island paradise South of Bangkok in the province of Krabi, a quick answer to those craving the Boracay beach life.
A ferry from the mainland is the only way to get to Koh Phi Phi. From the province of Phuket, it’s a two hour ferry ride down South, while from Krabi and Koh Lanta the boat ride is 90 minutes long. Head over to Rassada Port if you’re coming from Phuket, while in Krabi look for Klong Jirad Pier. From there, your boat will slide into the azure seas of the Phi Phi group of islands.
As you sail out into the Strait of Malacca you’ll notice a mass of rock rising up out of the sea like a castle, verdant and green, its jagged peaks jutting out to the sky. This is Koh Phi Phi--Phi Phi Don specifically, the biggest of the islands of the Koh Phi Phi group, a forested oasis in the middle of the sea. Your ferry will dock at Loh Dalum Beach, a thin stretch of land at the heart of Koh Phi Phi Don.
Many of the island’s establishments and accommodations are located here, while many more are scattered to the north around Tonsai Village, and down South around Long Beach, all accessible by longtail boat. Book a stay at the Holiday Inn or Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort for soft beds and sunset bars.
Once you’ve settled down, you can start exploring the islands. Book a motorboat tour and marvel at the many sandy alcoves that dot the archipelago. Drop by the Phi Phi Cabana Bookings Office at Loh Dalum and book a spot on Captain Bob’s Sailing Booze Cruise for a drunken time out at sea.
While much of the island’s biodiversity suffered during the 2004 tsunami, Koh Phi Phi remains a fantastic spot for both snorkeling and diving. You could scale the rock faces of Koh Phi Phi Le, the smaller of the two main islands. Those unwilling to leave Koh Phi Phi Don can climb up to the Phi Phi Viewpoint for an unparalleled panorama of the archipelago. Maya Beach, made famous as the set for Leonardo DiCaprio’s The Beach, has been closed by the Thai government to allow its reefs to recuperate. That’s alright, though – between the depths of the sea and the peaks of Koh Phi Phi, there’s plenty for you to do.
As the sun sets and the night takes over, a different sort of fun emerges on Koh Phi Phi Don. A host of different bars and clubs line the sandy strip of Long Beach, coming to life as the stars come out. Here you can find the Slinky Bar and the Apache Beach Bar if you’re looking to watch fire dancing, or maybe just to get a little tipsy. Head North of the island to Tonsai Village and you’ll come across the Ibiza Beach Club, where you can groove to modern hits on a dance floor of sand. Tonsai Village is also where you can find the Phi Phi Reggae Bar, which hosts – get this -- Muay Thai fights all throughout the night. Enjoy a game of pool and watch the festivities.