Ko Phi Phi should be renamed to Ko Poo Poo. That’s what the island smells like. What a terrible place. Smelly, cramped, overcrowded, dirty, polluted, covered in rubbish, expensive, noisy and crawling with obnoxious shirtless males sporting Calvin Klein underwear and a backwards cap.
The narrow walking malls serve to stifle any breeze and concentrate the smell of sewage. Combine this with the tropical heat and crowds of people and it provides quite an unpleasant experience. The air is thick and suffocating and you just want to escape. What makes it worse is that there is no escape – the island is small and there is no option to hire a scooter and cruise out of town. Actually you can escape by staying in a resort out of the main village and taking a boat or kayak to one of the less smelly beaches. We probably would have enjoyed that better but opted to leave for a more attractive island instead. Stayed just one night in Ko Phi Phi.
The beaches, apart from smelling like sewage and leaving a sticky residue on your skin, are overrun with noisy boats. If you want to brave the smelly water and go for a swim you need to pick a spot on the beach in between the boats.
We paid about $37 for what I’d call a dog box. This sort of price usually gets you a resort in Thailand. Instead we got a small, dirty, moldy room with a mattress on the floor.
One thing Ko Phi Phi is famous for is the bucket – a small bucket with a bottle of spirits and usually a can of coke and a can of redbull that can be bought from most shops on the island. This typifies the culture on Ko Phi Phi.
Ko Phi Phi looks nice from a distance when you’re far away enough to not be able to smell it. I am sure it was once a beautiful island. Today it’s terrible. Over developed and over exploited to a degree never seen before with no regard for the environment.
When we were on Fraser Island I heard a hippie environmentalist say there are too many tourists on Fraser Island and it is not being looked after. That person needs to re-adjust their perception with a trip to Ko Phi Phi. Fraser Island, and the rest of Australia for that matter, is pristine by world standards. Most spots we’ve visited in Asia are dirty and smelly to a certain degree, although not to the extent that Ko Phi Phi is. Although expensive and over-regulated, when we return we will enjoy the Australian wilderness with a new appreciation.