Sep 12 2011

Ko Phi Phi on a budget

Published by at 11:22 am under Andaman Sea islands


A lot of people show up on Phi Phi ready to spend like drunken sailors, and the prices have been rigged accordingly. One way for budget travellers to save money is to simply not go there.

Not surprisingly, sometimes it is cheaper to swim.

Not surprisingly, sometimes it is cheaper to swim.

But it’s definitely worth seeing, of course, so we’ve come up with some ways to visit without emptying the bank account.

Once you get to the island, the biggest bite will be accommodation. Unless you are staying in a dorm room (which start at 200 baht in low season, Mr Local’s are the best), it’s realistic to plan on spending 400 baht a night in low season, and 600 to 800 baht in high season.

There are a quite a few places in the Ton Sai village area, around past the water treatment centre, that charge around 400 baht in the low season and 600 baht in the high season: Harmony House, New Wave Bungalows, PP Valentine Bungalows and others. All these rooms are doubles, and not that you don’t already know this, but even if you’re travelling alone, you can save a ton by grabbing another backpacker in the same straits and splitting the cost.

If you want to stay out of the village, Ao Poh Resort and Phi Phi Hill (both closed in low season) are solid budget bets, though don’t forget the cost of a longtail if you’re going to be commuting back into the village to party.

To save money on food on Ko Phi Phi, eat where the Thais eat — in the centre of the village. No more steak and pizza, lots of rice and noodles at cheap prices. You can easily get a healthy meal here for around 50 baht.

Since you don’t want to live like a monk, you may want to have a beer at some point. Phi Phi has plenty of convenience stores, and prices there are only a few baht more than on the mainland — to the extent you imbibe, buy your booze here. Also, local shops sometimes offer even better deals on bottles of Chang — keep your eyes peeled for signs. If you’re looking to meet some fellow travellers while you tipple, steer clear of the bars along Ton Sai Beach, to be sure, and head out to the viewpoint road.

For a low-cost activity, consider hiking over the viewpoint to one of the three bays on the other side, if you haven’t already holed up there — Rantee, Ao Toh Koh and Pak Nam beach. All of them are much better beaches than the ones in town and they all have affordable restaurants to grab lunch at. Be sure to plan your return before sundown to avoid having to take a longtail back.

Easy on the wallet, hard on the head.

Easy on the wallet, hard on the head.

The most affordable evening of fun with friends can be found at Reggae Bar, which offers Thai boxing nightly — if you don the gloves and get in the ring and win, your table gets two free buckets. Do remember though that getting in the ring after two buckets is really dumb.

Being a budget traveller in Phi Phi doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the fun. In fact, by seeking out its cheap little corners, you’ll probably meet more interesting people, learn more about the island and have a much better time than all those suckers lining up for drinks at Apache Bar.

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