Scam of Phi Phi Island “The Beach”
Have been very excited to see “The Beach” or to say the place where the film with Leonardo Di Caprio has been filmed in 2000. I heard lots of stories that it will be a big disappointment (crowds and not looking as good as in the film) but would not have thought that the boat will not stop even there. There are 6 Phi Phi islands and made sure I choose the right Phi Phi island as one of the scams is taking people to another island.
The day started with over 30 minutes waiting for the minibus to pick up. Then arrived at boat where there were thousands of other tourists. About 600 were crammed on a ferry where you did not have enough seat for everybody. So I ended up baking in the sun on the top. The ferry should have been 1 hour 20 minutes but took us over 2 hours to reach Ko Phi Phi Don where we dropped some people off.
After turned back and headed to the well anticipated Ko Phi Phi Lee where the Maya bay is which was “The Beach”.
Upon approaching we were told have a good look as we not stopping there because big boats are not allowed there and off we went.
As you can see the beach is crammed as expected, and no palm trees just overgrown greenery. This is because the film crew in 2000 bulldozed the place and planted palm trees to make it look like “paradise”. But the tsunami hit the island hard in 2004 and it washed away the palmtrees and the old original vegetation took over again the bay.
After cruised around the island and lady was telling stuff on loudspeaker but could not understand her.
Finally stopped snorkelling (was promised snorkelling at Maya bay too) at Monkey bay. Just not to make us feel good they said at the moment it is high tide and there is no beach (not sure why we did not go at low tide). Parked next to another huge ferry so basically you were crammed in the water. There were plenty of coral and the fishes to see though. Also there were lots of monkies on the beach
40 minutes snorkelling we headed back to the lunch place which was actually something well above the expectation. It was a buffet style lunch just on a stunning beachfront.
If you would like to see Maya bay either take a speedboat from Phuket or Krabi (quite expensive around 2000 bhat). Or as one of the dorm mate advised after, he just took a ferry to Phi Phi Don and from there he took a longtail boat to the Maya bay.
Visited also to tourist police to make sure that they know what is happening as every single travel agency offers this trip. The officer was very nice and said there is a loophole and all these tourist offices can get away with it.
I knew that I have to take over and sort out myself. In the evening went back to see the agency and the lady said “Yes of course this big boat does not stop there.” However she offered half the money back (after a bit of pressure). So I got back 500 bhat. It was not a bad trip for that money after all:)