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Phi Phi Island

 

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Welcome to Paradise

The Phi Phi Islands are located in Thailand, between the large island of Phuket and the western Andaman Sea coast of the mainland. Phi Phi Don, the larger and principal of the two Phi Phi islands. There are no accommodation facilities on this island, but it is just a short boat ride from Ko Phi Phi Don. The rest of the islands in the group, including Bida Nok, Bida Noi, and Bamboo Island, are not much more than large limestone rocks jutting out of the sea.

Ko Phi Phi is considered to be one of the most naturally beautiful islands in the world (in fact, there are six islands in Phi Phi). They lie 50 km south-east of Phuket and are part of Hadnopparattara-Koh Phi Phi National Park which is home to an abundance of corals and amazing marine life. There are limestone mountains with cliffs, caves and long white sandy beaches. The national park covers a total area of 242,437 Rai. Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Le are the largest and most well-known islands. Phi Phi Don is 28 sqm: 8 km in length and 3.5 km wide. Phi Phi Le is 6.6 sq/km.

Krabi province the home of Ko Phi Phi is a melting pot of Buddhists, Thai-Chinese, Muslims and even sea gypsies. The majority of the population in the rural areas is Muslim. The province however, does not suffer from any religious tension and the folk live in peace and harmony. Outside of the provincial town, the rural folk speak with a thick Southern dialect which is difficult for even other Thais to understand. With this kind of mixture, the province is often celebrating something be it part of Thai Buddhist, Thai-Chinese or Thai-Islamic tradition. Visitors can also enjoy the annual boat-launching ceremonies of the sea gypsies and various long-tail boat races.

Phi Phi Don was initially populated by Muslim fishermen during the late 1940s, and later became a coconut plantation. The Thai population of Phi Phi Don remains more than 80% Muslim. The actual population however, if counting laborers, especially from the north-east, from the mainland is much more Buddhist these days.

Ko Phi Phi Leh was the backdrop for the 2000 movie The Beach. Phi Phi Leh also houses the 'Viking Cave', from which there is a thriving bird's nest soup industry. There was criticism during filming of 'The Beach' that the permission granted to the film company to physically alter the environment inside Phi Phi Islands National Park was illegal. The controversy cooled down however, when it was discovered that the producers had done such a decent job of restoring the place that it finally looked better than it had done before.[citation needed]

The Phi Phi Islands were also the setting for the hide-out of Scaramanga in the James Bond Film "The Man with the Golden Gun."

Following the release of The Beach, tourism on Phi Phi Don increased dramatically, and with it the population of the island. Many buildings were constructed without planning permission.

Ko Phi Phi was devastated by the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004, when nearly all of the island's infrastructure was wiped out. Redevelopment has, however, been swift, and services like electricity, water, Internet access and ATMs are up and running again, but waste handling has been slower to come back online.

Ko Phi Phi Don is actually two islands joined by a narrow isthmus with the prized beaches Ao Ton Sai and Ao Lo Dalam on either side. It’s here that the tsunami wreaked the most havoc. Boats dock at the large concrete pier at Ao Ton Sai and a sandy path, crammed full of tour operators, bungalows, restaurants, bars and souvenir shops, stretches along the beach towards Hat Hin Khom. The maze of small
streets in the middle of this sand bar is equally packed and is called ‘Tourist Village’. Hat Yao (Long Beach) faces south and has some of Phi Phi Don’s best coral reefs and one of its most impressive swimming beaches. The beautifully languid and long eastern bays of Hat Laem Thong and Ao Lo Bakao are reserved for several top-end resorts while the smaller bays of Hat Phak Nam and Hat Ranti play host to a few simple, low-key bungalow affairs.
Prices vary wildly by season on Ko Phi Phi Don. As soon as you arrive at the pier you’ll be assaulted by touts trying to book you into one of the bungalow operations (they all give the same spiel about it being the last available bungalow on the island in your price range; it’s usually not). The touts will direct you to an official-looking info desk at the pier (in reality it’s just a private tourist booking office) and try to force you into booking a room. Unless you’re travelling alone with tons of luggage and desperately need someone to carry your luggage
– Ko Phi Phi is vehicle free, so luggage is transported by porters pushing wheeled carts; travellers hike alongside or if you’re staying
further from the pier you may both go by longtail boat – don’t book here. It’s not that the prices are worse, but you’ll be forced to pay in
advance, thus will be unable to see your room first. As prices in Ko Phi Phi are ridiculously high and quality isn’t always great, it’s best to
see what you’re booking first (unless you book in advance over the internet, when you’ll likely get a lower rate; or it’s the holiday season and it really might be the last room. If the boat’s half empty in October though, hoof it).

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Climate

Weather in the region is tropical - there are only two seasons: the hot season from January to April, and the rainy season from May to December. Temperatures during the year average 25°C to 32°C (77°F to 89.6°F) and the yearly rainfall averages 2568.5mm. The rain in this region comes down heavily over short periods.

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