Phi Phi After the Storm

 |  August 27, 2010

Many of my friends in Chiang Mai told me to be wary of visiting Phi Phi Island. It was over crowded, they said. Far too developed, they complained, the consensus was that it was not what it used to be. I can empathise; but as a first time visitor to South East Asia’s beaches and islands, all I saw was utter beauty. You may be spoilt for choices in Thailand, but when you come from cold Toronto, sitting on the white sandy beaches watching the sunset over Phi Phi’s vista simply had no downside.

Disarmingly beautiful and serene, Koh Phi Phi is truly an island lovers’ paradise.

Easily reached by speed boat or ferry from either Krabi or Phuket, the islands of Phi Phi are a scenic wonder featuring mountain side panoramas and some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. After the wreckage caused by the tsunami, it was quite a feat to rebuild Phi Phi. The islands of Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh are bordered by surf worthy seas on either side, making it one of the hardest hit areas after the tsunami. Although the rebuilding efforts have taken years, the area has quickly reclaimed its reputation for boasting some of Thailand’s most beautiful natural attractions.

Loh Dalum, one of the more popular areas, features powder like white sands and turquoise waters all set within a bay surrounded by mountains. The shallow waters run far from the shore which keeps them warmed by the sun’s touch. It’s the kind of place the melts you into the breathtaking scenery and inspires hours of relaxation.

Phi Phi is known for its abundance of coral reef systems, making the islands and its surrounding areas one of the country’s best places to dive or snorkel. For many years divers the world over have been travelling to Phi Phi to take in the underwater bounty. Maya Bay and Shark point are frequented dive points.

Monkey Beach, another Phi Phi attraction, is a deserted tranquil beach nearby Tonsai Bay. Initially lured by the fruit trees growing there, the beach is home to many monkeys. Now, monkeys have taken up residence due to the number of tourists that come to photograph and feed them. While it may seem harmless and enjoyable to do so, the island is one of the only places in Phi Phi that is heaped with garbage peeking from beneath every tree. Unfortunately, many tourists who partake in feeding the monkeys also leave their trash behind from the treats. When visiting the enclave, be sure to take your wrappers with you so as not to contribute to the ecological spoil of a pleasurable attraction.

Although more sombre than other activities, there is also a tsunami memorial garden on Phi Phi Don. A portion of the island has been dedicated in remembrance of the victims and there is an underwater monument to them which can be viewed by diving. This is a quiet area, good for reflection and quiet contemplation.

Although worthy of a full vacation in its own right, day visits to Phi Phi are simple to schedule as part of a larger trip. The islands are not to be missed when taking leisure time in Southern Thailand.