This will be my first trip to Thailand, and I will be spending most of my time on Ko Phi Phi .
Is there a significant advantage at saying at a luxury resort versus a backpacker bungalow organisation closer to the ko phi phi town? I don't need luxury comfort or fancy restaurants, but I do want to have access to pristine beaches with spectacular snorkeling. Are the beaches on Ko Phi Phi privately owned by the resorts, or will most of the beaches have sections that are generally open to other travelers staying on other parts of the island?
Another question: is five nights on Phi Phi decent, or is that too many nights and I'd be better off splitting my time between the island and someplace such as Railay?
#1 Tallybalt has been a member since 2/9/2009. Posts: 1
No private beaches, so you don't need to stay somewhere especially upmarket to be able to use their beach. Lot's of budget places on the island, and you don't have to stay right in "town" unless you're on an absolute cheap budget.
You may find this story of help (it's a bit dated, but still useful): Phi Phi on a budget
And this one: Good places to stay on Phi Phi
Also, if you're happy to stay on a quieter beach, Relax Beach gets steady and excellent reviews.
The beaches and snorkelling are certainly better at Relax Bay and neighbours like Rantee and Ao Toh Koh. Some good backpacker/flashpacker places to stay.
The nicest beach close to town (and it does have reasonable snorkelling off the beach) is Long Beach. There is a range of accomm from budget (not so cheap, but PP these days aint cheap) to upper midrange.
You wrote... "...I do want to have access to pristine beaches with spectacular snorkeling....
I'd suggest you go look at a photo of a typical Thai beach that is on SBE's Flickr site here .
The point being that I doubt you'll find a pristine beach anywhere (accessable) in SE Asia. And, as for spectacular snorkelling... :(
Crikey Bruce, I don't think a shot of an area suffering badly from wet season build up of domestic and fishing junk is a fair representation of all Thai beaches.
I put together a few shots from my site of what I regard as some of the more pristine beaches in Thailand. Let's define that as having nice sand, clear water, cleaned of wet-season/fishing junk, with no development or unbtrusive development and being uncrowded (at least uncrowded away from public holidays or weekends for those easily accessed by Thais).
There are more certainly others which fit this description - plus quite a few really nice beaches which don't meet the no/low development rule.
Shots are here - http://tezzasthaiinfo.blogspot.com/2009/09/pristine-beaches-in-thailand.html
As far as other SE Asian beaches - I won't bother you with my shots of what I regard as some of Indonesia's and Malaysia's pristine beaches.
I agree, a photo is a bit like statistics - any meaning can be derived with the right presentation.
As you'd know by now, I don't need to go half way round the world to see a beach. Here's a couple to show where I live:
Like your photo's, these make a great presentation.
Stone the crows, Bruce - Currumbin!! Yer a lucky man.
I used to camp in the back of the tezza-surfin-wagon in the car-park near the rock so I could hit the break 5am before even the locals got out there. Did the same at Rainbow Bay, Green Mount and Durambah. Oh and down the coast a bit at Cabarita which I personally love.
Nowdays I take the unit at Burleigh.
Do you have a house up on the hill overlooking the break?
As brucemoon says, much is about the presentation.
Kep beach on one of my visits:
Not a flattering photo, but then on another day:
Still not world class, but high tide and a sunny day do make a difference.
When the breeze is right, the tide high and the skies suitably blue, even the crappiest beach can look lovely. And it works the other way too of course, for example this pic on Ko Phayam:
On another day a friend of mine found a body on the beach (about maybe 200m out of shot) -- a Burmese fisherman who had washed up on the beach. Not only would none of the Thai staff at any resorts "do" anything about it, more than one commented that it happens all the time and that they should just wait for the tide to come back in...
Would have made a nice pic for a TAT brochure...
On undeveloped (and so unswept) beaches, you'll always get refuse -- personally I don't think it is a big deal -- glistening white sand with nary a water bottle or chip bag in sight is a bit of a myth unfortunately -- I've only ever come across two beaches like that -- one a long way offshore in Thailand with strong tidal currents (so the trash don't stay) and the other in Malaysia, well I'm not going to announce exactly where here ;-)
But to come pack to the OP's point -- PP is trashed in some many ways, but there are, as tezza suggests, still some great strips of sand -- especially around the SE point enroute to Rantee etc by longtail... swam with dolphins there once -- can't vouch for the coral, but the dolphins were cool!
I don't like Gold Coast beaches at all. I grew up on Forresters Beach down NSW way.
These pictures pretty much are the view I lived with for I guess 10 years or so before the folks traded the joyous (NOT) Central Coast for Sydney's North Shore (Clontarf)...
The most beautiful beaches I have ever seen are in Aitutaki, Cook Islands. Now those are beaches that I could live on.
#10 smash has been a member since 21/6/2009. Posts: 162
Forresters ... I had many a great long and messy weekend on that beach (friend had a weekender there) -- terrific spot, but wouldn't want to live there.
It was nice enough to grow up there but the Central Coast is a boring, dead-end, wannbe extension of Sydney
#12 smash has been a member since 21/6/2009. Posts: 162
Home is what you make of it.
Several decades ago, I was living in an ashram on Mangrove Creek. The (very) rare 'expeditions' to Foresters were like manna from heaven.
No, tucked in behind the bird sanctuary.
Strewth BRUCE - Lorikeet heaven!
Actually, anywhere in Currumbin would be pretty sweet.
I'm also a big fan of Currumbin Creek.
SMASH and SOMTAM - small world. I used to spend lots of time at Bateau Bay just up the road, and Forresters was my favourite alternative beach.
It kinda meets my above criteria for pristine - clean sand and water, not crowded, no rubbish - and when you are up close to the headland which is a lovely sheltered position when the old nor-easter blows, you couldn't see the local houses - only buildings at Terrigal some 5km south. So no apparent development.
Used to be a lot of dodgy looking guys lurking in the sand-dunes about mid-shot in SMASH'S pix - I thought they were voyeurs on account the local young mums and other cuties back in the good old days weren't real keen on wearing much in the way of swim-wear - then I realised the dune area was one of the local gay beats. Okay, I'm a bit slow.
CLONTARF? Jeez Smash, is that Sydney or Brisbane? If Sydney, thats not too shabby a location - and Clontarf beach is sweet (okay, gets a bit crowded weekends).
I take your point about Gold-Coast beaches - development is high and a lot of people get turned off by a background of sky-scrapers.
But what about South Stradboke Island just north? The ocean beach is as pristine as any and completely without development - yet not too far south you have this dramatic backdrop of Surfers' Paradise skyscrapers.
Um, Bruce - I noticed a MINUS 1 alongside yer comment 2 up. I couldn't figure why someone would rate it like that unless reacting to thread-jacking - in which case plenty more here should be negatively rated.
Anyway I tried to nullify it by hitting the THUMBS UP button - except I hit the THUMBS DOWN instead!
Duh! Sorry. At the time of writing you are rating -2!
Anyway, not too sure about this HELPFUL rating thing. Besides confusing dufuses like me, I reckon it gives someone with an agenda one more tool.
Thing is, the OP and the rest of us can work out how useful a response is.
People with grudges can screw the system - and lazy people who don't rate (most of us most of the time) can leave good posters thinking their efforts are unappreciated.
Thumbs up for both of you...i dont know why, but growing up on the Gold Coast, none of the beaches impress me anymore, byron seems to be nicer...
Lemme see if i can link u a real beach
the bottom few are my personal favs i think.
We really do have alot of amazing scenery in our own backyard
#17 furneburner has been a member since 5/9/2009. Posts: 180
It wasn't that long ago that Byron was a no swim area because of the abattior deposited waste. That said, I've always liked Broken Head, and I can 'handle' Watego's, but Main Beach - with all that OS tourist riff raff!!! - Mmmmm!!!!
If I'm in that region, I like Brunswick - now that's laid back!
You pics, I doubt any are from Byron. Care to name them?
Yeah Main beach where the tourists are is annoying, but in saying that, with the right conditions it is an attractive place.
It wasn't that long ago that i hadn't even been to the lighthouse! Upon going there i found cozy corner, which in the right conditions is beautiful as well.
Fingal as you say, it great, besides the sharks.
You are right, those places are White Haven towards the top, and towards the bottom are on Great Keppel Island, probably my favourite place i have stayed....but where i stayed not many know about.
#19 furneburner has been a member since 5/9/2009. Posts: 180
By the way, my name is Jess but I am a male...just so you's know haha
#20 furneburner has been a member since 5/9/2009. Posts: 180
Also the ones in the middle are Rainbow Beach
#21 furneburner has been a member since 5/9/2009. Posts: 180
TEZZA – Small world indeed! I do love Forresters – it’s great it not being patrolled - never busy, could run the dogs around… Nice and relaxing and actually quite calm most days due to the reef. Unfortunately there were a few dodgy incidences – Spoon Bay end there were a couple rapes I believe. I remember being about 11 or 12 walking back from the beach with my younger sister and a strange man standing on a corner beckoning us to come to him. Needless to say we ran home… I don’t remember there being any gay stuff going on – and I am gay. Though at that age (not that I’d do it now either!) I wouldn’t have dreamed of doing dodgy stuff with dodgy guys in sand dunes!
And yes, Clontarf in Sydney. And yes, it is a lovely spot.
My favourite Gold Coast beach is Rainbow Bay.
I have fond memories of the Byron area. We used to holiday at Rae’s on Wategos in the September school holidays (April was either Gold/Sunshine Coast, July Port Douglas, Summer overseas). The first time I ever swam/surfed with a sizable pod of wild dolphins was at Wategos. Was amazing.
#22 smash has been a member since 21/6/2009. Posts: 162
Jeez SMASH, along with Bruce and Jess we are turning poor old TALLY'S thread into a notstalgia trip.
I've spent hundreds of hours no exagg at Rainbow sitting in the take-off zone off Snapper Rocks or Greenmount (actually paddling like crazy usually, the side-drag being so strong), not to mention sunning on the sand checking the scene.
As for Wategos - spent plenty of time surfing that - plus I love taking my ride-a-wreck Cannindale out onto the beach at low tide and cycling the 10km down to Broken Head.
I have a page on Byron with lots of beach shots - and it shows MY FAVOURITE BEACH ANYWHERE, White Beach south of Broken head, about 55% down page http://tezza-thailandbeachesandislands.blogspot.com/2009/06/byron-bay.html
Despite what some people may be thinking, that dodgy guy you and yer sitser saw wasn't me - I'm dodgy but not desperate.
Just going back to the original post. The picture posted as 'Typical Thai Beach', doesn't reflect my experiences.
Without question, there are several pristine beaches to found at Phi Phi.
And I've done some memorable snorkelling there too.
Just a few pics below to give a different opinion. These photos cover a period of four years, just a few of our many visits to Phi Phi.
These shots are typical of our experiences on the north east coast.
I've only seen dirty beaches here on one occasion shown on link below. However, just a quick look will explain why.....