It is 4.30 am and the music is blaring. I can hear three different 90’s pop songs coming from various directions and I can feel the vibrations of the bass from a pool party several hundred metres away.
This island is absolutely stunning. The sparkling turquoise water, the striking ragged edges of the tall rock formations and the bright green hues of the trees that line the white sand beach, all work in harmony to create one beautiful, Instagram-worthy picture. By day, I fall in love with this island, but by night as I toss and turn and struggle to get any kind of beauty sleep I question that love…. And then a new day begins and as the sun shines brightly on the sea, I take a few more sips of a much needed coffee, the questions disappear and I feel so lucky to be looking out upon the most spectacular view I have ever seen.
We departed Phuket on a large ferry, that was one of three, leaving the port at 8.30 am destined to arrive on the island of Ko Phi Phi Don roughly two hours later. The ferry ride over was smooth and comfortable and for the price of around $12 AUD each it felt like great value for money. Passing the Island of Ko Phi Phi Leh was a highlight of the trip and one that had me imagining the gorgeous Leo just chilling on ‘The Beach’. It was spectacularly beautiful, however there were far too many boats and people around. I guess it’s somewhat of a mental battle I find myself in here. On the one hand, I am so grateful to be able to view and experience this magnificent place and on the other, I wonder how long this beauty will remain given the number of visitors that flock here daily. But that is all I will say on this subject for now…
Koh Phi Phi Don has no roads for cars, motorbikes or scooters, only footpaths to walk on. This was a unique and fun experience for us having come from the scooter mad Bali and the traffic of Phuket. It gives the island a more laid back vibe without the hustle and bustle of fast-paced traffic in the background.
On our way to the hostel we passed many market stalls, restaurants and an alarming amount of bars all advertising cheap cocktails and these things called buckets. I have since learned these are literately buckets filled with ice, roughly 300ml of your spirit of choice, a can of fizzy drink and a Thai version of Red Bull. Starting at around $6 AUD this certainly sounds like a recipe for a crazy drunken night!!
I am not sure why I hadn’t realised this before but, Koh Phi Phi Don was a party island. Many shops didn’t even open until midday and walking around in the morning was lovely and peaceful as many people slept off their hangovers. And our beautiful, rustic accommodation, built of timber that was washed up on the island after the devastating 2004 tsunami, gave us no reprieve from the happenings going on during the evening/early morning. Sound-proofing was seriously lacking here!
I am 31. I am not 20. I know this and yet sometimes when I am mucking around with the boys, teaching them how to flip on the bars or leaving them for dust in a sprinting race (yes I did just admit out loud that I take sprinting races with my 6 & 9 year old children a little too seriously), I optimistically still feel young at heart. But being here, watching thousands of people both younger and older than myself delight in drinking bucket upon bucket and revel in being gloriously drunk on the beach until 5 am has go me feeling like an absolute Nana. Last night at 3 am, I imagined poking my head out the window and telling everyone to ‘shut up’. Then Ricky and I had a good chuckle about the responses my outburst would be met with.
Don’t get me wrong, I am no prude. I enjoy the odd alcoholic beverage from time-to-time or weekend to weekend. In fact I will admit to having two cocktails during dinner last night (rebel, I know!). And my goodness those cocktails packed a punch. I was positively tipsy as I tucked myself into bed at 10 pm to attempt to get some rest whilst the shrieks, laughs, drunken conversations and mish mash of music went on around me.
The difference I guess is that my children will wake me up at 7 am and demand to be fed, and I being their mother will have to oblige. And the truth is that walking along the eerily quiet, deserted white sandy beach in the morning and looking out into that clear aqua ocean water, sparkling like diamonds, is my favourite part of the day on this Island. I guess to summarise, I would say that Koh Phi Phi Don is the Island for stunning scenery, searing sun and probably one of the craziest parties you will attend. But it is not a place to catch up on your beauty sleep, so unless you enjoy walking around like a zombie perhaps plan on spending just a few nights here.
xx Travelling Fresh