The legendary backpackers’ paradise of Ko Phi Phi is certainly not the Thai backwater it was a decade or so ago. But progress (translation: hotels, dive centers, and beachfront bars) hasn’t obliterated its essential allure.
Ko Phi Phi (pronounced ko-pee-pee) is actually two islands: Dramatically beautiful Phi Phi Don, with its long, soft-sand beaches and limestone cliffs rising from the sea, has grown into a resort offering both simple bungalows and larger hotels. Phi Phi Le, no less beautiful and only a short boat ride from its larger sister island, has no accommodations at all.
What’s there to do? During the day, not much – and that’s the point. Sure, the cliffs have drawn world-class rock climbers, and kayaking and diving are available, but the real attraction is no surprise: the beaches. This is a place to unwind, read a book, enjoy good Thai food, and spend time in, near, or under the water – at least until dark, when the bars come to life.