A day away from the crowds on Kho Phi Phi
Are you wondering how to get away from the crowds on Kho Phi Phi island? Somewhere I read it cannot be done. Challenge accepted. Firstly, let’s be clear, it’s not technically getting away from tourist crowds in Kho Phi Phi but on Phi Phi Don. That is the main island of the archipelago of Kho Phi Phi, Thailand. I tried and here is what my experience has been.
Planning my hiking route away from the crowds
As I am a girl with a DLSR and always up for a good view, I decided to hike to all the view points. To do that, I used the All Trails app. I’ve used that one elsewhere and had good experiences. They have a trail called Kho Phi Phi viewpoints, so that was easy to identify. The map also shows several other trails connecting to the gorgeous viewpoint number 2.
Related: There is also worthwhile hiking on other Thai islands! Check out this extensive guide to Kho Samui for places to see.
What to expect on your way to Kho Phi Phi viewpoint 1 and 2
There are signs to the viewpoints all along the way. Take plenty of water, even if you can buy more along the way. Wear proper footwear. You’ll cover around 100m of elevation in this first bit, which is a bit of a hike in this humidity and heat. Then I had to pay 30 Baht to enter viewpoint 1 & 2. Since the tourist crowds were all at viewpoint 1 and 2 I decided to hike to view point 3.
Kho Phi Phi viewpoint number 3
It’s not a long hike to viewpoint 3. There are decidedly fewer people on this bit of the trail. However, the view is very similar to viewpoint 2. As I had to pay another 20 Baht for this third viewpoint I was a little disappointed.
But, I heard the north of the island is supposed to be deserted and beautiful. So I picked a route north via another viewpoint.
Kho Phi Phi viewpoint 4: finally away from the crowds
I was the only one on this trail and the only one at the viewpoint near Haad Phak Nam. It looked like a ghost village of a few run down wood huts. Deserted. The view is nice, but not spectacular. And the trail is quite an adventure. I highly recommend hiking boots, insect repellant and long pants. My legs are scratched all over from the overgrown trail. I headed further north to the beach at Ao Loh Bakao.
Kho Phi Phi away from the crowds
There are several ways to the beach. One is a paved road for the most part. So that is the one I opted for, unaware it leads through a resort property. Nobody stopped me, so I hiked on down to the beach. What can I say. I did it. Ao Loh Bakao is isolated. So isolated that arrivals to the luxury resort get there by boat. In order to assist them across the shallow water from where they anchor, an employee drives a tractor with trailer up to the boat. Guest board the trailer, staff moves their luggage over. Then the tractor drives them to check-in. No cars anywhere. I’m pretty sure all the tourists on that beach stay in the adjacent resort. The best Kho Phi Phi beach I have seen, by far.
I walked through the clear, shallow water along the beach. Around noon I relaxed in a hammock on the beach with a view of the Adaman Sea. I thought the day couldn’t get any better. And since I had so much time left, I decided to hike up to another viewpoint and visit Lana beach on my way back.
Another viewpoint on Kho Phi Phi
From the road that connects Loh Ba Kao Bay with Loh Lana Bay, watch out for signs to different viewpoints. Just across from one of the little restaurants, you’ll see an inconspicuous signs to the right. As with every viewpoint. They warn you not go up there after 6pm. I recommend you don’t go up at all.
The trail is not maintained and heavily eroded so footing is tricky. Especially without proper hiking boots. There are no signs on the way up, I used GPS on the all trails map and still got off the trail once or twice. The elevation gain is strenuous on the short distance. And the view is so overgrown, it is not worth it. Yes, I was the only one there, but probably for a reason.
Loh Lana Bay
I struggled back down to the road and went for a swim in Loh Lana Bay. From there I was going to take the trail through the jungle and then along the beach to get home. The Alltrails Kho Phi Phi map shows another viewpoint and an info stand. The first bit is a shared trail that also leads to viewpoint 2, so I met some other hikers there. At a barely visible intersection I turned right.
Let’s just say this: Ain’t no view point and ain’t no infostand. There’s not even a trail. Sometimes I thought there used to be one and it was just very overgrown. I was for sure the first person in years to attempt this. Sometimes I thought I was just walking along the path of the monsoon water to the sea. I disturbed some wild monkeys in their natural habitat.
There were a lot of animal sounds around me I cannot identify. I walked through the jungle, crawled under trees. Sometimes, on steep slopes I grabbed one tree stem after the other, like a chimpanzee. I crossed spiderwebs larger than myself. It was just wild.
The last bit of the supposed trail leads along the coast. Once I finally got to the bottom of the hill, I saw the water. Now, I jumped from rock to rock towards a familiar beach. I knew how to get home from there. At some point the crevasses in the lava rock became too deep and wide for me to attempt a jump.
So I crawled upward and ended up next to some guy’s balcony on a hotel property. “Hi” he said in a very perplexed state. I lifted my hat up a little, nodded and replied “hello” Then I walked towards the exit, bought a bottle of water at their bar, and finally got on a village path I am familiar with. It may have been a short cut, but DO NOT TAKE THAT TRAIL! It does not exist.
Resumé of my day of Kho Phi Phi island hiking
In the end, yes, I managed to spend a day without meeting many other tourists. But I had to go through quite a bit to achieve that goal. Most of the trails are nice, even if challenging in the heat. Two of the trails I took that day, I discourage anyone to hike. No matter your fitness level. It’s just destruction of habitat.
Ao Loh Bakao beach is worth a visit! Especially if you combine it with the viewpoints 2 or 3. Either way, you’ll need water, proper footwear, hat, sunglasses, the best sunscreen money can buy and insect repellant. The weather is much more predictable than on my hike in Montseny, Spain if you remember that post 🙂
I had a fantastic time exploring the island by myself. Some of the views and beaches were true once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Hiking is a very budget friendly alternative if you don’t want to spend money of private boats to take you away from the masses.
Have you been to Kho Phi Phi? Did you find other nice spots without tourist crowds? Comment below!