I am going to assert myself here (and get some backlash I’m sure) and state that Ko Phi Phi, Thailand is paradise! Feel free to disagree with me in the comment section. But for those of you less familiar with the Ko Phi Phi islands, let me give you the run down on one of the most popular tourist attractions in Thailand.
Ko Phi Phi is actually made up of several islands, most famously Ko Phi Phi Ley and Ko Phi Phi Don. It’s been spelled many different ways. While I saw it spelled Koh Phi Phi more while I was in Thailand, it seems like most tourists spell it Ko Phi Phi, so for the sake of continuity, that’s how I’ll spell it throughout this post. For Thailand newbies, the “H” in Phi Phi is silent, same with other destinations in southern Thailand such as Phuket. It’s pronounced “Poo-ket”.
Ko Phi Phi Ley is the more famous island, known for Maya Bay, featured in the Leo Dicaprio movie, The Island. In the movie, a group of travelers set up a community on a secluded, perfect island…and the bay in indeed, majestic. See for yourself, my unfiltered pictures from my last visit.
Looks perfect, right? Almost like I’m the only person on this amazing island…
I couldn’t even get a picture of the “Koh Phi Phi” sign without a speedo-wearing tourist! Tee-hee…
Too many tourists or is it travel bucket list destination?
This is where travelers have very distinct opinions about Ko Phi Phi’s Maya Bay. It’s amazingly beautiful, no one is disputing that, but is the influx or tourists too much to be able to appreciate that beauty? Personally, I don’t think so. As you can tell, it was very crowded, but not too insane that I couldn’t get many pictures without any other people in them. I’ll post one of my fav instagram shots below.
If you want to see this beautiful place for yourself, I think you just need to go into Maya Bay knowing there will be a TON of tourists. If you’re expecting that, you won’t be disappointed. You just have to take it for what it is, a stunning place that everyone wants to see. The good news is, in my humble opinion, that the tourists weren’t annoying. Everyone was there for the simple reason of enjoying the beauty of the bay. There are no cheesy bars or any gimmicks on the island. The draw is the crystalline, azure waters and the towering, lush mountains framing the bay.
Do I think it needs to be on your travel bucket list? No. I think that the islands of South Thailand DO need to be on your travel bucket list, but not these islands specifically because of the large amount of tourists. I would actually avoid Phuket and the touristy islands if you only have a short amount of time or will only be going to Thailand once. Visit the southern isles of Thailand for the more relaxed beauty if you’re trying to check off items on your bucket list.
In a nutshell: Girls trip, yeah visit chaotic, but fun Phuket and Maya Bay, Ko Phi Phi. Honeymoon, try a more secluded island such as Krabi, Ko Samui, Ko Tao or any of the smaller more off the beaten path islands in the gorgeous southern waters.
The Luv Aviatrix