Phi Phi Islands and South Thailand – Before Development
I began my journey from Krabi, a fishing port that did not yet have an airport or any hotel over two stars. About three hours later we arrived in Phi Phi. The largest structure on the island was a beautiful open-air mosque made of wood and palm fronds.
The village had no central electricity, though several bungalow settlements, the only accommodation available, ran generators from 6 to 10 PM. The bungalows were made of straw and wood.
Snorkeling the pristine reefs was amazing. Lazy lemon sharks mixed with millions of psychedelic fish and plants.
Nightlife was a trek to the village to gather around a roaring fire to eat fresh grilled fish washed down with Kloster beer, fresh from the ice pit. Later the traveler’s tales would begin, fueled by the passing around of some Mekong Whiskey.
When I returned in 1995, the environment had been destroyed by greedy developers. An ugly concrete hotel stood where the mosque had been. The coral walls around the swimming pool had been dynamited from the reefs. The water was cloudy and devoid of fish. Jet skis drowned out the sound of the wind and swaying palms.
The 2004 tidal wave temporarily returned Phi Phi to its original look, but apparently the developers have returned with a vengeance.
One must now go further and further in Thailand to find Paradise. However, nearby Burma offers thousands of untouched Andaman Islands. ArcticTropic will research those islands and report shortly. If anyone is headed there soon, please let us know.