After watching the sun set on 2013 back home with friends and family, I’m back in Thailand for a Long Beach sunset on Koh Phi Phi. Though I’m travelling with a motley but friendly crew of Thailand-lifers, I’m the only member of the LBT team here this week. As a part of the Lost Beaches prep for the 2014 tour dates, I’m dropping in on some of our accommodation and activity partners to lock everything up tight for those party rockers arriving in the coming months. And seeing as I’m LBT through and through I definitely couldn’t turn down the chance to drag some close peeps along with me for the ride. #bestjobever
When I first visited Thailand back in 2008, Phi Phi was the first non-mainland location my group shacked up on (specifically the island of Koh Phi Phi Don, the same place Lost Beaches visits today). My favourite memory from that first island day was the Viewpoint hike, to check out, from high above, where the water nearly meets at the ‘skinny’ part of the island. Despite the solid sweat it took to trek up the several hundred concrete steps, the moment I saw those two lagoons of crystal-blue water surrounded by lush, green forested mountains, I knew I had come to somewhere special.
And to be honest, the amazing experiences didn’t, and don’t, stop there. Many of the activities that Lost Beaches has again committed to in 2014 have become customer favourites, including the half-day boat cruise to Monkey Beach, Phi Phi Leh, and Maya Beach. Outside of the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan, the best beach parties in Thailand are on Koh Phi Phi, and they are always some of the high points on every LBT tour. Every night there are 7 or 8 restaurants serving dinner and cocktail hour, while you are entertaining by local fire dancers. And then right before your slightly inebriated eyes the same restaurants convert to dance clubs and party bars, each offering something slightly different. People have a great time well into the early hours of the morning, and as the dance floors spill out onto the adjacent beaches, the courageous join the locals on the fire jump rope!
There is just so much energy here all the time. Sometimes I tell myself that I’m going to take a slow day, enjoy a walk on the beach, and then this happens:
For those Lost Beaches travellers looking to break away for a few hours during their time in KPP, there are bicycles for rent that be used to travel around the island. If pointed in the right direction there are loads of secluded beaches, mountain tops, and hiking paths that are not scheduled as a group activity.
During the day the beaches are happening spots for group-travellers and mainland day-trippers alike, whether you’re down for beach play, swimming, or lazy hammocks. Lots and lots of places to enjoy a midday booze bucket too – check out this bucket selfie!
The air and landscape is amazingly pristine, helped by a local ban on motorized vehicles and a 20 baht island entrance fee that is used to preserve the local environment. The lack of formal roads and gasoline helps keep the island running at a staggeringly relaxing pace (often referred to as “Thai Time” by us travellers), despite the wave of tourists these islands have experienced since the ‘The Beach’ was famously filmed on Phi Phi Lei. The main town on Phi Phi Don features an Irish pub, pool table bars, a wide selection of Europeanand Thai restaurants, and some of the only pizza-by-the-slice in Thailand – thankfully served late into the night.
These two islands hold a special place in my heart not only because it was my first mind-blowing island experience in Southeast Asia, but also because so much of what makes this corner of the world special is on display here! For that reason, as well as the countless others you’re sure to discover here, we always make sure that all of our 23 and 35 day travellers make it here no matter what! #LIVEFREE #THAIHARD