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Back to Phi Phi

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Rebekah Joy
Rebekah Joy

The Bangkok protests have done some strange things to this year’s high season. Some are willing to sell no haggles, some remain resolute and bargaining is not an option. The travel shops are full of sale signs, I found a deal to Phi Phi with snorkeling tour, buffet lunch and one nights accommodation for 1600 baht ($80NZD). A few weeks before I had paid 1000 baht just for the return crossing and 1000 baht per night for a basic, non flushing, cold shower bungalow. The sale of the century had started and before I knew it we were back to Phi Phi. We wanted to stay somewhere Thai style, the old fashioned bamboo bungalows that used to be dotted here there and everywhere. Times have changed and resorts seem to be the key player in Thailand now. Trekking the back streets of Phi Phi we did find one little gem - Chunut House. (The Ao Lo Dalam/Ton Sai Road, Ko Phi Phi Krabi Province Tel: (081) 894 1026) Tucked away in its own jungle like foliage, the bungalows are made of cross sections of bamboo, rattan and feature mosquito nets, tubs of flowers, excellent shady seating and stone steps. It is difficult to determine the price, but because its a ten minute walk to the beach it seems to be a little cheaper than the concrete monsters you’ll find by the seaside. We got a beautiful hexagon family room(sleeps up to 5) for 1500 baht per night ($75NZD). Breakfast is advertised at 50 baht but was actually 100 one day and 110 the next. Oh well you got to take the good with the bad when traveling.


The good thing about Phi Phi is there are none of those obnoxious chairs that you have to pay 100 baht for to sit on the beach. Grab a towel and plunk yourself down, no one will disturb you. After a few days you’ll be looking for something else to do. A longtail to Maya Bay (think 'The Beach')is a fun way to fill in sometime. A longtail (depending on the season)is anywhere from 900 baht($45) for three hours to 1200 ($60NZD). Hire a snorkel and mask for 50 baht ($2.50NZD)and stop along the way to see some beautiful tropical fish and coral. The trip will also take you past the Viking cave where they collect nests to make birds nest soup. Marvel at the rickety scaffolding, if your lucky you might see the men in action. A kilogram of white nest can cost up to $2,000 USD, and a kilo of “red blood” nest can cost up to $US 10,000. People who climb the rocks without permission may find themselves facing a rifle or exploding booby trap. Luckily the longtails don’t stop there but head around to the impossibly beautiful Maya Beach. Now be warned, when you arrive at the beach, the minute your foot hits the white sand, a ranger will be on your case for the 200 baht ($10NZD) national park fee that nobody told you about. We got there about 5pm and didn’t bring any money with us. They let us on anyway...strange system.

There is an amazing assortment of food places on Phi Phi, but none better than the wee food stalls just behind the jetty. Feast on Thom Yum Kung soup for 80 baht ($4NZD) or spicy Thai salad at a similar price, or go to the beachside and pay up to triple the price. A word of warning, we were dining in a restaurant and the chef got bitten on the toe by a rat and was taken to hospital. Grossed out I complained to a friend who had lived in Thailand for years. She just laughed and said all the restaurants and stalls had rats, so why pay more? Head to the stalls and save your money. The Sunflower Bar, is an excellent if very low key night out. Located right beside all the fire shows and light shows and every other kind of show (head to the Ibiza Bar and keep going) it has cushions and a seesaw on the beach. Somebody has made a rock garden out of coral and the building is a collection of bits and pieces - a ship of sorts. Owned by an Australian woman and her Thai partner there is a fair bit of Kiwi and Aussie music to lay back with. Or if your young and hardcore just stay at the Ibiza bar, loud music, light and fire shows and cheap grog.

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