The islands and beaches of Thailand, albeit humid, touristy and pricier than the mainland, are a must-see on any travelers agenda for a reason. Many can only dream of the rich colors and luscious views provided by some of Thailand’s more popular beach getaways. Walking off the ferry onto the island of Koh Phi Phi Don, you pay a 20 baht entrance fee to ‘keep Phi Phi beautiful’ for a reason. It’s beauty must be preserved for as long as possible, it’s that stunning.
Once you’ve managed to handle the heat and the crowds of rowdy travelers, often drunk and swinging buckets of rum and coke around, you can start to enjoy the incredible dichotomy that encompasses Koh Phi Phi. By day, you snorkel with fish of every variety and color, you float at ease in the salty sea, and you hike up to the local viewpoint at sunset and pinch yourself because it’s hard to believe what’s in front of you is real.
But by night, you become one of those rowdy travelers with a bucket in hand. You walk from your hostel with a crowd of new friends who have come from every corner of the world, sharing travel stories and bucket straws. You kick your sandals off and dance on the sand and into the sea to the latest remix of some song you’ve already heard 5 times that night. Somebody decides to try the flaming jump rope and you cheer them on with all your might, and contemplate whether you’ll try jumping as well.
As you wake up the next morning, hot, sweaty and a bit woozy, you guzzle down water before heading downstairs to meet with the crew and do it all again. This day, you all sign up for and hop on a party boat that takes you and 60 other like-minded travelers to and around the neighboring island of Koh Phi Phi Lei. You jump off the side of the ship into jellyfish encrusted waters, using a lifejacket as a floatation device in a forgotten cove, splashing about while trying not to get seawater in your beer can. Then, you climb the steep ladder that takes you over to Maya Bay, revered for it’s ominous beauty and for it’s role as the infamous getaway Leo DiCaprio ran around on in The Beach, a movie nobody really liked. But you all really like Maya Bay, it’s that stunning.
Your boat ride ends with a cruise around open waters at sunset, and you eat fried rice and finish your drinks while snapping pictures of new friends in front of a melting sun. Once you’re back on dry land, you shower, maybe nap, and find yourself on that hostel porch once more. Cards are dealt, games of ‘shithead’ are continuously played, and everyone takes turns going on a beer run. And then someone shouts that it’s time to head out and you find yourself on the beach once more, dancing barefoot in the sand.