For those of you who have seen the movie The Beach, Koh Phi Phi existed very much like it did in the film: a laid-back, mostly unheard-of tropical island that only the most adventurous sorts traveled to, with only basic accommodations available. However, the popularity of the movie literally sparked a sort of crazed frenzy which sent people rushing in hordes to the archipelago, transforming Koh Phi Phi from a little-known tropical island into one of the hottest island destinations in the region in the earliest part of the 21st century. However, Koh Phi Phi’s infrastructure was tragically wiped out in the 2004 tsunami. It has recovered fairly quickly, but services are still not up to par with what they were prior to the devastation. Some people complain that the rush to build new infrastructure combined with mass tourism has stripped the beauty away from the area and transformed it into just another resort town.
If you can handle the crowds and the constant noise of construction in the major areas, Koh Phi Phi is still an amazing place. Technically it is a small archipelago, with several small islands that make up the whole, with the population staying on Koh Phi Phi Don, which is the largest of the islands. The rest are uninhabited, and literally packed full of wildlife and natural beauty to explore. From coral reefs to stone formations, sandy beaches and cliff walls rising out of the sea against tropical jungles and rolling hills, Koh Phi Phi is a breathtaking site at any time of the year. From places like The Viewpoint where you can see over everything to Monkey Beach or Yao Beach, Koh Phi Phi can provide you with whatever your tropical vacation needs to complete itself. From diving to snorkeling to hiking and exploring, you can find it here.
Unfortunately the recent increase in tourism as well as the lack of clean-up programs has left the once beautiful beaches of Koh Phi Phi Don looking more like a dump than an island paradise. Most tourists were at one time traveling here for the laid back attitude this island was known for and to relax on the beautiful beaches but now bars like Slicks, The Reggae Bar, and Hippy Bar which are drowning out any chance of laid back relaxation you thought you might get with their overly loud techno till 5am.
Be warned, however; there have been over half a dozen cases of foreigners dying under mysterious circumstances in recent years, with the islands being under investigation as of 2009 by the U.S. Embassy.
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