Phi Phi Islands Gay Travel
Phi Phi Islands gay travel advice for hotels, stunning beaches, day trips, bars, parties and gay scene.
The Gay Travel Experience: Phi Phi Islands, Thailand
Koh Phi Phi is my second favorite place in Thailand. The stunningly clear blue waters, wild beach parties, endless excursions and cheap beer make the island a place I will continue returning to. I always tell friends and acquaintances how much I love Phi Phi!
I’ve been to the Phi Phi Islands twice, and I discovered different things during each visit. The first trip, it seemed as if there were no other gay men. There were a ton of younger straight men and women. However, the second time on the island I noticed quite a few gay guys about, just not in large numbers like Phuket or Bangkok.
The Phi Phi Islands are hugely popular with younger travelers as well as with couples. It really is an amazing gay couple destination. Even though there are lots of parties on the beach, it is still easy to find seclusion.
Not many older travelers visit Phi Phi from what I saw. At the beach parties, you will find primarily a 25 to 35-year old crowd. The older travelers that are there seem to either keep to themselves in their resorts, or hang out at the Irish Pub in town.
First impressions of Koh Phi Phi are deceiving in my opinion. As you arrive, the first things you see are droves of tourists scurrying away from the pier, a McDonald’s, currency exchange booths and tacky shops. But, this only exists right near the port.
The rest of the island is much calmer and more authentic. Local Thai culture still thrives here and luckily has not been eroded by over-tourism.
Gay Koh Phi Phi: Where To Stay
While choosing amongst hotels in Koh Phi Phi, it is important to consider whether you prefer to be in close proximity to the town center, or if you will be comfortable being secluded.
The island is shaped like the letter “H” and most of the activity takes place on the small center strip of land between the two bays. The “legs” of the “H” shape are largely uninhabited, but there are some resorts located in these areas.
Staying close to Ton Sai Bay in the center of the island is ideal, especially if you prefer to be in the center of everything. Accommodations here are also best for experiencing local nightlife.
Farther away from the island’s center, resorts are usually set into the mountainside. Typically, they will have an on-site restaurant so you don’t always have to walk into town for food. The most remote resorts are only reachable by boat. These are at the northeast part of the island.
The ferry to Koh Phi Phi will stop at a second pier up north after Tonsai Pier. Walking to these resorts from the main town is not possible due to the mountainous and rocky terrain.
Hotels in Koh Phi Phi
I chose the Charlie Resort because of the iconic oceanfront pool. And also I could get the amenities of PP Princess with the budget price of PP Charlie.
Honestly, my PP Charlie hotel room wasn’t that great. But you do get what you pay for. If you have the budget, I definitely recommend staying in the adjacent PP Princess resort rooms.
However I can say that I absolutely loved their pool, which is right on the beach, as well as the amazing breakfast buffet. Perhaps staying in PP Princess would better suit those who are looking for more than a relatively budget accommodation.
Hostels in Koh Phi Phi
There are dozens of resorts and several hostels in Koh Phi Phi inland along Chaokoh Road. Many backpackers show up to the island without any reservations and find them day-of (although there is some inherent risk of them being full).
I stayed in Detox Hostel my first visit to Koh Phi Phi. It is a pod hostel, so you get the privacy of your own personal enclosed space. The air conditioning was super cold and they have very large lockers.
An adorable fact for cat lovers: many of the hostels have and take care of one of their own little cats. I found myself playing with the one outside Detox every other night!
Pro tip: if you’re visiting the island at the same time as the Koh Phangan Full-Moon Party, the hostels will be pretty empty! Most of the younger travelers anchor their Thailand travels around that party, so hostels in other areas of Thailand are typically under-occupied in the meantime.
Hostels will typically keep your passport as a security deposit. Make sure to get the passport back the night before you leave. This way you can avoid any issues finding the staff in the morning.
Phi Phi Islands Gay Travel Experiences
Most people who visit Koh Phi Phi wish they had stayed longer! Although the island is small, there is a huge amount to see and do. Snorkeling, beach trips to nearby islands, massages and kayaking are just a few things!
Phi Phi Islands Gay Travel: Best Beaches
Ton Sai Beach is the famous main beach in Koh Phi Phi. It is located on the north side of the island, opposite of where you arrive at Tonsai Pier. The coolest thing about Tonsai Beach is how dramatic the tidal shifts are.
At high tide, the water will be right up to the beachfront establishments, and during low tide, the water will recede thousands of feet since the majority of the bay is similar in elevation. It’s stunning, and the little sand bars that show up during the tide change are beautiful.
Feast your eyes on the clearest, bluest water around with a boat ride to Nui Beach. You can also rent a kayak on the shore of Ton Sai Bay and paddle about 30 minutes around the southwest tip of the island to reach Nui Bay.
Nui Beach has a small beach without any establishments or restrooms. Just nature, long-tail boats and snorkelers! It’s perfect for traveling gay couples or anyone seeking something more remote. It’s quite romantic.
The infamous Monkey Beach, located a few minutes away by boat from Ton Sai Bay, is actually not a place to swim. Visiting this beach is only possible by organized day trip.
In fact, visiting Monkey Beach is quite dangerous. In my opinion, gay travel to Koh Phi Phi will be just as glamorous without a visit here! Read more below in the section about Monkey Beach.
Phi Phi Islands Gay Travel: Day Trips
There are essentially three day-trip options for exploring the Phi Phi Islands via organized tour. If you shop around you will notice the same maps appear at every booking stand.
There are various tour companies that do the same route, only with different kinds of boats. Some are 25-person “longtail” boats and some are larger ships.
Koh Phi Phi Lee
Pileh Lagoon was my favorite stop on the southern route day trip. This hidden oasis in between the rock formations of Koh Phi Phi Lee has shallow, crystal clear waters. The dreamy white sand makes the water a beautiful, pearly blue. Not only is the water clear, but it is unbelievably still!
I had no idea about this spot until our tour boat sailed in. I’ve seen many blue-water beaches in my life, but this one really made my jaw drop. Pileh Lagoon is a must-see.
The Dangers of Monkey Beach
Monkey Beach is a huge attraction in Koh Phi Phi, however I don’t think it is worth seeing. In fact, dozens of tourists are bitten by wild aggressive monkeys every day. Heed this advice and don’t approach the monkeys. Don’t bring any items with you onto the beach, and to stay safe, keep your feet in the water.
These monkeys will grab absolutely anything you’re holding, including a simple bottle of water. Most importantly, remember that if you hold on to it, they will bite you.
I made the mistake of following the crowd onto the beach, and I saw this cute baby monkey with its mother. As I slowly approached for a closer look, 5 monkeys started growling at me and chased me several hundred feet until I reached the water. I was terrified and just thankful I managed to outrun them to avoid being bitten.
Restaurants in Koh Phi Phi
I tried a decent amount of the restaurants in Koh Phi Phi, and in general, the price of the restaurants does not seem to correlate with quality. Most of the time, the cheaper places were much tastier. They simply weren’t as flashy.
The restaurants along the shore that usually catch every traveler’s eye are very pretty. Be judicious about what seafood you order, though. I chose squid for dinner and it was chewier than rubber. Perhaps fish is best!
Sabai House is my go-to spot. Chicken Pad Thai is only 80 Baht, and it’s a sizable portion. It may not be the prettiest place, but every meal I ordered here was delicious. I highly recommend gay travelers in Koh Phi Phi try out this restaurant to get an authentic taste of good Thai food.
Right next door is Calabro Restaurant, best for breakfast. They also have an international menu, in case you want a break from Pad Thai.
Please don’t eat at McDonald’s. In my opinion, large chains don’t belong on these wonderful remote islands. The prices are absurdly high for low quality food too. Plus,why anyone would eat at a McDonald’s when you have so many delicious Thai restaurants at your fingertips?
Massages in Koh Phi Phi
Massage parlors are everywhere in the Phi Phi Islands. Some are right on the main couple of streets and some are tucked away in alleys. I must have tried three or four of these places, and there is one that really blew me away.
This specific massage center isn’t on google, but to get there, just search online for Detox Hostel. It is south of the hostel, located on the corner of the street, across from a diving school. I had several massages as well as a pedicure there, and the staff are incredibly talented.
If you’re a gay traveler visiting Koh Phi Phi with your boyfriend, it’s perfectly acceptable to get a massage together! In Thailand, there is absolutely no awkward perceptions about two men wanting to get massages next to one another.
As with anywhere in Southeast Asia, if you are cat-called to receive a massage by the staff sitting outside the shop on the street, you can probably assume it’s not a high-quality establishment.
Phi Phi Islands Bars & Parties
Koh Phi Phi is known to be a party island. Nightlife thrives every night of the week and hotel pool parties are held on the weekends. I love the fact that you can party all night on a Monday. There are always travelers looking to have a ton of fun dancing on the beach.
Apache, Stones Bar and Slinky are the main beach nightclubs in Koh Phi Phi, all located next to one another on Ton Sai Bay. Parties here get wild and the crowd has usually filled in by 10:30 PM. No need to wait until midnight to go out! Make sure to wear sandals here, as depending on the tide, the party may physically be in the water.
Locals set up spots to do the limbo and jump rope games at all of these beachfront bars. Everyone who participates gets a free shot (albeit cheap sugary liquor). Many expats also work in these bars handing out shots to travelers. I talked with one British girl who was working at Slinky, super interested in how she ended up working on Koh Phi Phi!
Check out this short clip of the fun beach parties I went to.
If you prefer to avoid the beach parties, there are several large bars in Koh Phi Phi town center. You can’t miss them! Play a game of beer pong at Dojo Bar or chill out and sing your favorite songs at The Dubliner.
Phi Phi Islands Gay Travel Tips
There are no cars or motorbikes on Koh Phi Phi, which is one more reason I fell in love with the island. You can truly escape here, away from traffic in similarly popular tourist locations.
Since the only way to get around is on foot, you will need to carry your luggage to your hotel, or arrange for the hotel to bring a hand cart to the pier.
For day-trips, I highly recommend wearing a pair of adjustable-fit water shoes to protect your feet. Many sites have extremely sharp rocks and most people who don’t wear them will leave with cuts and scrapes.
If you are interested in kayaking, a fair price is about 100 Baht per hour. If you’re paying any more, you are probably getting ripped off. Remember, bartering is common and not rude!
For the partiers who drink alcohol, take note that the alcohol served at these bars is of very low quality. It is the kind of stuff that will give you a killer headache the next day.
To avoid this, you can pick up “buckets” on the street that come with ice, a mixer and a brand-name alcohol of decent quality, like Absolut.
On another alcohol-related note, 7-Eleven does not sell beer and wine for a portion of the day. You will notice covers on the fridge sections at two different periods of time in the afternoon.
Other mini-marts on the island however, will sell you alcohol any time of day. They are usually only a few steps away.