Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

Phi Phi seems popular with three types: holiday makers looking to escape to a secluded beach for some peace and quiet; divers looking for new adventures; and full-moon party revelers looking for another excuse to drink.

Although the area around the main pier on Phi Phi Don was a bit of a cesspool (filed generally with the last of the three types on Phi Phi), a nice hike around the island revealed some stunning views and many clean and peaceful beaches, many of which were tiny and nearly private.

During my trip, I’ve bumped into an inordinate number of Canadians and Australians. Koh Phi Phi was the first place where I’ve encountered a large collection of Israelis. It seems that a stop in southern Thailand is de rigueur for the kids following their stint with the IDF. Although I don’t think it anyone would believe me if I said it was nice to hear Hebrew, it was nice to see falafel shops. I love Thai food, but after weeks of Pad Thai and green curry, I was interested in something, ummm…foreign.

On Phi Phi, I stayed in the Tara Inn. I was able to get a single room with a fan for about $12 a night, which isn’t inexpensive by Thai standards, but I wasn’t in the mood to spend much time bargaining: I wanted to play on the beach. So, I checked into the hostel, left the geckos to munch on the ants (who, I presume, were there to each the cockroach I stepped on) and hiked to the top of the island before making my way to Long Beach to splash in the ocean. It was only after I returned to my room that I noticed what all the humidity had wrought: mold. Pulling back the cover on my pillow case, I noticed that the entire pillow was covered in black spots. Some times, ignorance really is bliss – and a stuffy nose the next morning.

I loved Phi Phi, but after a few days on Phi Phi, I had had my fill of beach and sun. I spoke with a great travel agent who told me all about her kids, recounted stories about the Tsunami and shared her dinner with me while she booked me tickets for the ferry to Krabi and an overnight bus to Bangkok. A few more days and I’ll be off for cooler weather in New Zealand.