then and now........
17.02.2007 36 °C
We stayed on Phi Phi 13 years ago on honeymoon and were told then (and repeatedly since) - largely by people who had fallen in love with it and had gone home and told all their friends about it - that tourism and rampant development has ruined the place.
Well, it is still beautiful. The quirky, laidback nightlife has gone - it's all a bit too Ibiza for our taste now, and the longtails provide a raucous ongoing accompaniment to your idylls, and prices are high, but it's still beautiful.
The 2004 Tsunami devastated Phi Phi. The island is shaped like a capital 'H', the central bar being a low lying, densely populated sand spit about 400 metres wide. The wave split when it reached the side of the island and swept into the village from the north and the south simultaneously. 2000 people were killed outright and 104 local children were orphaned.
It is impossible to imagine the horror that was suffered on that day - the resiliance of those who survived the catastrophe, lived through the heartbreak and then stayed to clean up and rebuild is truly remarkable.
Our week here was lovely. We watched the kids chasing blacktip sharks over two metres long in crystal clear water less than 50 metres from shore (at the far end of Long Beach), saw Lion Fish, Stone Fish, Sea Snakes, Leopard Fish, Squid and various schools of reef fish. We ate well and enjoyed Thai massages on the beach (Rhiannon had 4 - paid for herself at 3 pounds per half hour!).
Phi Phi still holds a place in our hearts.
Now onto Phuket Town and Chinese New Year............