Catch up with part 1 here.
We’d arrived at our hostel on the island of Koh Phi Phi. We had picked a hostel called Stones, which is on the back of the island, right on the beach. I’d been recommended this by a few friends, who said it was cheap, right on the beach, and also where the party is at on the island at night. Koh Phi Phi is well known with backpackers, so it’s no surprise that once it falls dark, the idyllic paradise becomes party central.
Stones cost us around £7-£8 a night, plus a 500baht security deposit when we checked in, which we got back when we checked out. Each dorm is in it’s own little beach bungalow, which can only be accessed by key card. This means only those staying in your dorm can access the beach bungalow you’re in. The problem we found when we stayed there, is that people just left the main door open to our beach bungalow, so people that weren’t even in our bungalow, could easily walk in and out. This is obviously down to those that are staying in your bungalow, but it’s worth baring in mind when leaving valuables in there. There are little safety boxes by each bed. You set it to your own code when you arrive, so only yourself can access it, unless you tell someone your code. These are really small, and ideal for storing your passport, money etc. But certainly couldn’t hold a tablet or laptop. I just about managed to get my GoPro in there, so for the duration of my time on the island, I kept all my camera gear on me, even at night, which was a bit of a pain. The bungalows were clean, and modern, although slightly cramped. There was 14 of us in the dorm we stayed in. There was barely any room on the floor to walk around, by the time we all had our backpacks or cases by our beds, as there were no lockers or storage holders to store your bags. There were plenty of light coming into the room, so although it was cramped, it wasn’t too bad, as it was quite light in there. Everyone was really friendly, and it was a really social hostel, so great if you’re travelling solo. The only downside to this hostel, was that because it’s right on the beach, sand does get everywhere! Everyone made a point of taking their shoes off outside by the door, to try stop bringing sand into the beach bungalow. But I still went to bed every night with a bed full of sand! It was ok for a few nights, but I think if I’d of been there longer, it would have drove me mad! This is also to be expected anywhere by the beach, so I didn’t quite understand those that were complaining about it!
We introduced ourselves to those in our hostel room, then headed into the main town to get something to eat, which was less than a 5 minute walk away. People in our hostel had told us to avoid eating anywhere along the beach front, as it is expensive. Out of everywhere I’ve travelled in Thailand, Koh Phi Phi was definitely up there being one of the most expensive parts of Thailand. But the prices weren’t unreasonable, just similar to prices back home in the UK. It is an island, and there’s no transport on the island, so everything is imported by boat. It’s going to be more money than elsewhere. It only seems expensive at first, because everywhere else is so cheap. But as I say, when we compared the prices to what we pay back home, it was similar, so we couldn’t complain! If you do want to avoid paying through the roof for food, there are 7 11 supermarkets on the island, and as our room mates recommended, avoid anywhere on the beach front or near. We found a little street food place that was in the middle of the town where all the shops and restaurants are, and I paid around £2 for a Massaman Curry, which was a full sized meal. When it came to paying our bill, we noticed that the lady had charged us almost double for everything, than it was listed on the menu. And also added a huge service charge, something you don’t have to pay in Thailand. It was hardly a 5 star service, and was just a little basic street food cafe, so we were a little confused to why she added it on. We showed her the menu, and showed her that the prices were different to the ones she had wrote on our receipt. Suddenly she spoke very poor English. This isn’t uncommon in Thailand, and happens in lots of places, not just Koh Phi Phi. Make sure you always check your receipt, and don’t be afraid to say something if it isn’t right. Eventually we gave her the exact money for our food from the prices on the menu, then refused to give her anymore and left. She looked unhappy, but we were left just as unhappy. It wasn’t the best start to our island experience!
The rain began to pour again. An English guy, who was a bar rep, was stood in the middle of the street with an umbrella. “Welcome to paradise ladies.” We all stood there and had to laugh. We’d come all the way to Thailand, and the weather was just as poor as England. The only upside being that we were all stood in shorts, and it was still humid. So there was that at least! We found an Irish bar, which looked quite lively (no surprise) and decided to go in for a drink, as we couldn’t really do anything else with the rain. The bar was called Jordan’s Irish Pub. It had pool tables, as well as sports tv showing a football game. So it was no surprise that the place was full of British. The buckets were also quite cheap, although still more expensive than the rest of Thailand, but as I said before, this is an island with no transport. We later discovered this bar was probably the cheapest place to get a bucket, so another reason it was so packed with the British. If there’s one thing us British are good at, it’s finding cheap beer!
Irish Pub with cheap buckets
After a few buckets, it was starting to get dark. We decided to just get drinking, and make a night of it, as we had heard Koh Phi Phi was a good place to party. We found the English bar rep again, who recommended a rooftop bar called Banana Bar. We got up there, and it looked a really nice quirky bar, popular with backpackers. The only problem being, it wasn’t really lively with music. Everyone was chilled as there was a film on, on a big screen. So everyone was trying to be fairly quiet. It turns out the place put films on now and then, so people can just have a chill out and watch a film if they wanted. It’s a nice idea, but not what we had in mind for the evening. We had a drink, and decided the place was far too quiet for us, so we decided to move on. There are plenty of choices for bars on Koh Phi Phi, so if you don’t like to party, then this island isn’t for you at night. We headed back to the beach and back to Stones, our hostel. We could hear the music from the bottom of the beach, and we could see the fire dancers putting on a performance. When we got there, the buckets were expensive, so if you’re on a budget, go to a 7 11, buy a bucket, and fill it up with your own alcohol. Or as we did, we headed back to the Irish bar, bought a bucket, and then took it to Stones, as the Irish bar had started to quieten down by this point, as most people had headed towards the beach. Not sure if it’s allowed, but it worked out better for us!
Fire show – Stones Bar
The rest of the night becomes a bit of a blur. My friend ended up with another drunken bamboo tattoo. We met a bunch of people that we suddenly became best of friends with, but never saw again for our time on the island. Despite that night, planning to spend the rest of our time in Thailand together. We ended up paying a 500baht deposit for an all inclusive booze cruise the following day, which wasn’t the best idea. I’ll explain why, later! If you’re looking for a decent party, then Koh Phi Phi definitely is the place to be. It was easy to see why it was so popular with backpackers. The only downside is the price of drinks, so it is worth mixing your own in 7 11, or not starting as early as we did. We must have started around 5pm, and were still going at 3am, so it turned out to be an expensive night. Even the bars doing drink deals, they were still expensive compared to everywhere else in Thailand. I felt sorry for those who said they lived on the island, and were working in bars or as bar reps. But funnily enough, they were all sober, and afterwards we understood why!
Follow my blog to read part 3, coming up soon.