Visit largest Island of Koh Phi Phi Don in Thailand
Predictable, I know, but you really can’t leave Koh Phi Phi Don – the glamorous and beloved star of Thailand – off a list like this. Koh Phi Phi Don is the largest of the Phi Phi Islands and the centre of hedonism in Thailand – a majestic escape from reality featuring crystal-clear water, coconut trees, and buckets full of Red Bull and booze.From Phi Phi Don, make sure to grab a tour of the surrounding islands and beaches, including (of course) the famed Maya Bay – best known for its role in The Beach.
Phi Phi Don is now squarely on the tourist map, and tourists from all over the world (especially Europe, Japan, China and the wealthier Southeast Asian countries, e.g., Singapore and Malaysia) flock to the island. Accessible from Phuket and mainland Krabi Province, all tourists must arrive by ferry. (The trip from Phuket takes around 90 minutes.)
This has essentially turned the island into a rush of day trippers who overpopulate the island from 11:00-15:00. The island still holds much charm that can be enjoyed in the hours that the flocks from Phuket are not there. While in former times, Phi Phi Don was a serene paradise, parts of it (especially the Ton Sai Bay area) have been exploited for tourism. Restaurants, shops, internet cafes, and shanty townsabound.
Despite my love for hidden gems and underdogs, I have to admit that this particular bay is my favourite spot on the ‘best of’ list. The bay itself is gorgeous – being essentially one big colourful reef surrounded by 100-metre high cliffs – but for me it was more about the journey there: a long tail voyage through mangrove trees and clear blue waters and precarious ladders. The trek is completed with a hike through a jungle trail. Maya Bay appears out of nowhere, as if by magic.