I recently wrote an article published on Pink Pangea where I discuss how Koh Phi Phi, Thailand surprised me. Whereas I normally shrink away from party destinations, I got off the ferry on Koh Phi Phi, reluctantly paid my 20 baht entrance tax and went with the flow. I didn’t fight the parties and I didn’t judge the wild partiers. I didn’t beat them, I joined them.
And I had a blast.
In the Pink Pangea article, I discuss the fellow travelers, the activities, the nightlife and the accommodation, but there is so much more. I loved all of the strange occurrences and odd details. If you think you’re not into Phi Phi, consider these 14 reasons why it’s the best place on earth. And think again. And then maybe decide it’s not. Like you were right all along. YOUR LIFE, YOUR DECISION.
1. Vodka the beach dog and Paolo her beach dog son
Read this post. Enough said. A furry friend to comfort those hangovers and a mischievous attitude to inspire your inner-prankster.
2. Hot Diving Instructors
You are walking barefoot through the pedestrian-only streets. You pass a tattoo shop to your right and glance to your left, only to be caught off guard by the most beautiful Swedish diving instructor you’ve ever seen. “Hey,” he says. “How are you doing today?” You think he’s interested and you slowly approach him. Little do you know he’s only trying to get you to pay for his diving classes. What a tease.
After this happened several times, I wasn’t any smarter. I was still lured in by the tan skin, man buns and sparkling eyes. My sister was waiting for me at the Indian restaurant we were eating at while I ran to the ATM. I passed by a delightful half Australian, half Dutch 20-year-old and almost stopped on the way there and on the way back. Good thing I was hungry, because if not, things might have gone a little differently…
3. Being Barefoot
Who needs shoes? Especially when you’ll probably take them off to dance with more freedom and leave them in an unsuspecting location.
4. Dancing massage parlor employees and ladyboys
Walking from Stones Bar to “town,” we passed by a massage parlor after massage parlor. Many of them are also rumored to offer “other” services. Because we are female, they very rarely assaulted us with their shrill “masssaaaaaaaage” cry that males complained of. Instead, we often gave each other the nod. After dark, they played loud music and danced, and when I joined in, there was hooting and hollering.
5. The Best Ice Cream
There was always a long line to get the ice cream made right in front of you. Using a cold stone slab, the makers poured milk and other sugary goodies on top. Then, the let it freeze for a few seconds before curling the flat rectangle of milk and candy into a roll. Topping it off with whipped cream and caramel, it’s delightful. There were two stands on the island, one on the “party” side and one on the “less party” side. Here is a video if it being made.
6. The Best Chicken Tikka Masala I’ve Ever Had
There was a Burmese-run Indian restaurant close to Ao Lo Dalam beach called “Royal Indian Palace” near the side “street” of massage parlors. I’ve never been to India, but I can assure you this was exquisite. With garlic naan on the side, I inhaled the oily sauce and rice. Unfortunately, my sister had a dismal meal at the same time and wasn’t happy about my abundant exclamations of “HOW GREAT IT WAS.” She often goes for the healthier option and is disappointed most of the time. I went back for a second round before I left for Krabi and aggressively suggested it to all fellow travelers.
7. Carts Carrying Luggage
You’re either rich or lazy if you hire a small, Thai (but probably Burmese) man to carry your luggage to your accommodation in a cart. Or maybe I’m judging and your hotel offered the service anyway.
Regardless, it was hilarious. They frequently got caught behind drunk tourists or frightened people with their loud warnings. After meeting a sweet Thai woman who turned out to be an under-the-influence prostitute (she was still sweet, regardless of her choice of profession), we went with her from the Muay Thai Reggae Bar to the beach bars on Ao Lo Dalam. On the way, several carts passed. When she saw them coming, her eyes would get really big and she would find all of us and push us against a wall. When it passed, she would yell, “BEEP BEEP, CART, BEEP BEEP.” She knew what you had to do.
8. Tattoo Parlor Boys
Flirtatious and goofy, the tattoo artists around the island were full of personality. There was even the Thai Jon Lennon, a tattoo artist who had long, straight, jet black hair and wore round glasses, a peace sign necklace and bell bottom jeans. One night, we bought buckets from a street vendor and sat with some of our favorites. One of the cutest would watch tourist go by. He often got a kiss on the cheek or a wave from some transplanted locals.
Shout out to the employees of an antique store who gave us their extremely spicy pork and let us sit with them for a while one night!
9. Children Running Around at All Hours of the Night
We love children. We love Thai children even more. While their mothers might be out promoting a restaurant or club, the kids would run around and scream. I had ample opportunity to throw them in the air, give high fives and chase them.
10. Asian Pharrell Williams
Every night at Kong Siam bar around 11:00pm, the most talented acoustic singer comes on. I asked his name on several occassions, and he said “We’re the Kong Siam band.” To which I usually screamed, “No, what’s YOUR name?!” He never responded. Maybe he’s had too many creepers in the past.
Either way, we went to go see him every night and listen to the soothing sound of his voice. His enthusiasm, happiness, and talent made our trip that much better.
11. The Tide
The extremely low tide resulted in boats being stuck in the beach. Right along side the washed up bottles, condoms and other ocean debris. We were laying on the beach one afternoon as a tour group went out to jump on a long tail boat. A few minutes later, the group came back. “Tide’s too low,” they said. “The boat is stuck.” After the water was coming up 45 minutes later they jumped back in the boat. I walking out to take a dip and save myself from drowning in my own sweat and saw everyone disembarking. Then, they all collectively helped dislodge the boat from the grip the sand had on it. A few pushes and shoves got it out of there and they were on their way to see monkeys!
12. Fire Shows
Besides the tattoo parlor boys (and everything on this list), nothing made me happier than the attitude and determination of the fire show boys. Read about them on this post.
13. There is a place called “Ibiza House”
I will literally never be able to escape my past. Ibiza follows me wherever I go. I usually jumped over to their beach party at some point in the night and bumped to the house music. Brought back great memories.
14. WHO CAN EXPLAIN THESE
Everyday this pink painted devil made its way to different parts of the hostel. I don’t know who moved it, and I don’t know why. I asked the employees and they all shrugged.
I later found this fancy bug hanging out on one of the poles. Nice to meet you!
Featured Photo: Jennifer and I with one of our favorite waiters at the bar Stockholm Syndrome on Phi Phi. If that name alone doesn’t elicit feelings of how ridiculous this island is, take a moment to let it sink in. And love it. This particular man could usually be found jamming to Usher’s “Yeah” or Pretty Ricky’s “Grind on Me.”