Oh Phi Phi
Rob and I visited Phi Phi two and half years ago, meaning we were prepared for all that Phi Phi has to offer as its hits you in the face the moment you get off the ferry.
I thought I might mention right off the bat that this island does not have roads and the only form of transport are bicycles that only the locals seem to use, which can be incredibly annoying and seem to be more trouble than they are worth. The island is made up of walking roads, it would take about 20 minutes to walk from one end to the other however the amount of foot traffic and bicycles can make the walk longer, and by your 4th day a little tedious. Phi Phi is intense, hot, and crazy and needs to be experienced for oneself to really understand this pulsating little island. For that reason make sure it is on the list if you are visiting Thailand – do not miss it out and make sure you stay the night.
You can find everything your heart desires on this tiny little island, although there are no roads and you are still asked to not flush your toilet paper, the 7/11’s (there is three on the island) are fully stocked with shipments coming in daily and what seems to be hourly with deliveries being run through the footpaths on trolley/wheelbarrows by locals yelling “beep beep”. The menus are lavish here and every meal we had was great, I even ventured out and had two salads while on the island which were cheap and fantastic. We usually steer away from ordering western food in South East Asia, especially salads as 1. A western salad is not usually done well by the Thai people, and I wouldn’t expect they should be and 2. Choosing something off the menu that I know will be cooked and hopefully reach above 60 degrees is usually the safer option on the tum, as anything bad hanging around would at least be destroyed in the cooking process. This little island once again amazes me that this is where I found these spot on salads, but it shows you how well they have adapted to the hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world every year. Whether this is a good or bad thing, that’s still under debate.
As mentioned we have visited before and thought to make it simple we would try get a room at the same place, however they were not able to offer us a room when we arrived at 10am as with check out being 11am most accommodation isn’t quite sure who is coming and going until later in the day. That being said we ended up next door at Anita Resort. When we originally approached the desk and saw the 3500baht price tag we slowly started to back away – “we have cheap room” one of the girls working told us and after going to check it out at 1800baht we took it for one night. To be honest I think we striked it luckily, we were paying half the usual price but still had A/C, WiFi access and were able to use the lovely pool which for Phi Phi is NOT a common occurrence. We decided to stay on an extra two nights and I egged Rob on to ask if we would get a discount for doing so, success, we scored the extra two for even an cheaper 1600baht a night.
Phi Phi is an incredible party island, but the fact we ended up with a pool it meant it was quite a relaxing stay for us this time around – however without it your stay can be hot and uncomfortable, made even worse with the obligatory hangover.
Rob ended up doing a morning dive from Phi Phi, this set him back 3200baht and included a refresher course, two dives, lunch, fruit and water – it ended up being 1000baht cheaper than Koh Lanta so it was a good choice to wait until we were on Phi Phi. While Rob was out for the morning I visited the Bayan Resort Gym, at 400baht a visit this was a treat, but also included use of the showers, steam room and sauna (broken!), review below.
We took it easy two out of three nights and got to bed before 10pm, ear plugs most certainly stuffed in our ears. But night three was a biggie, indulging in buckets, giant slices of pizza, Reggae bar with a Muay Thai ring in the middle where punters can whip off their shirts don the silk boxers and fight each other, referee and Thai music included and a dance at one of the clubs/bars on the beach, Slinky. The beach bars go until there is no one left to go, you seriously need to take ear plugs to Phi Phi if you want to sleep, as the music can still be heard LOUD even at 5am, we lasted until 2am and I was very chuffed with our performance.
Tips: You will be charged 20baht when you first enter the island via the pier, have this ready to go. You will also be inundated with people offering assistance with accommodation the moment you get on land – they have big walls covered in advertisements and prices for hundreds of hotels/resorts/bungalows and even if you try take a look on your own you’ll get pestered to choose something. For a first time visit I would suggest prebooking accommodation via agoda or hostelworld and see if they can even meet you at the pier, if you have your pack on your back and you end up having to roam this frenetic little village searching for somewhere to book into, you and Phi Phi may very well get off on the wrong foot.
Banyan Villa Fitness Center:
Banyan fitness center is part of the Phi Phi Bayan Villa complex, where guests from partnering hotels, Phi Phi Hotel, Phi Phi Casita and Phi Phi Palmtree can also benefit from a reduced daily membership, so the rumor goes – don’t quote me on this. However these lovely resorts come at a hefty price and I also feel are unnecessary on the island of Phi Phi – I really don’t know how well luxury can be done on this tiny island.
Anyway it was my treat to visit one morning whilst on the island at 400baht a pop, longer membership are available – weekly/monthly/yearly. The gym unfortunately only opens at 10am which really doesn’t suit me personally as I like to workout post-instant coffee but pre-breakfast, and for me by 10am I am already on to my mid morning snack. Nonetheless I managed to entertain myself until 10am (Rob was off diving until 1pm, his treat) and hit the gym soon after. The 400baht includes use of the showers, steam room and sauna, the latter being broken unfortunately as I was contemplating using it for once. I was also given keys to a locker on a wrist strap which was good to keep with me while I trained, not that the gym was very busy, and a small gym towel along with a larger towel for my shower.
The gym was huge and was cardio machine a plenty, if cardio is your thing it will be sight for sore eyes, however I was there for the weights as I prefer to not spend money on cardio training when I can just run down the road. The facility itself is massive and even has a Muay Thai training ring in the middle should you require this, but I felt let down by the rest of its offerings. There were two sizes of Swiss balls which was good to see, giant size or baby size, I went with baby size, it wasn’t ideal but almost did the trick.
The dumbbells are in pounds so unfortunately for me I was either lifting too light or too heavy, I did have my iPhone unit converter out but still couldn’t quite nail the weight I was after. I would have liked to have seen some kettle-bells floating about and in an ideal world a bosu ball would have been a dream come true. The gym that boasts “one of the best in southern Thailand” was also missing any sign of medicine balls and the few mats kicking around were pretty sad looking and need to be replaced if you ask me.
There were plenty of weight machines to keep you busy although I only tested out the lat pull down and leg extension machines as I am more of a free weight type of girl.
The gym was good and I would visit again if I had the chance and I had a spare 400baht to spend, it was also very quiet – I only saw 5 other people while I was there for my 75 minute workout.
Post workout it was on to the plush changing rooms where I indulged in my first decent shower in a while, I was sure to pack my shampoo and conditioner as I had an inkling this would be a fine opportunity to give my hair a good scrub. I didn’t test out the rest of the facility’s but it really felt like luxury freshening up here, I had forgotten what a fully functional bathroom with hair dryers and fluffy towels felt like.
The gym also had a small cafe, that looked rather lonely as doesn’t look to have many visitors however they stocked the protein we use which was a nice surprise although I didn’t indulge myself. They have a large variety of health mags too which I intended in flicking through, once again another 1st world luxury I’m missing, but I ran out of time.
Give yourself plenty of time if you intend on visiting Banyan Fitness Center as to get your money’s worth you may need at least a couple of hours to fit in your workout, steam, shower, protein shake not to mention a quick peak at your Facebook at the two computers on offer.