Phi Phi on the cheap!
Many people claim that Phi Phi on a budget is an unattainable goal and should only be reserved for the 2 week tourists that want to drink up and party large.
Even though this may be true to an extent, and we weren’t there for very long, it is possible to do Phi Phi on a budget.
Obviously accommodation is one major way to save money on Phi Phi island. It is extremely hard to find good, cheap accommodation. We booked ours before we got to the island because we heard it was extremely busy and booked out quickly but unfortunately, when doing this you pay more. Booking through websites such as agoda and the such is good because it is very convenient but be prepared to pay more. We payed nearly 30 dollars for a very basic double bedroom – fan and no hot water but the manager told us if we were to stay another night he would have charged us the actual rate which worked out to be just over 21 dollars. So if you are prepared to jump off the pier and walk around in the sweltering heat comparing prices of hotels/hostels, then do it cause that will definitely save you a few dollars. It is definitely possible though to find some cheap accommodation! Maybe just do some research first and then hit the island and find somewhere to stay. We did see one place offering rooms with a fan for 600 Baht!
Drinking is another obvious one and depending on what you are there to do will depend on how much you spend. We had a few beers from 7 Eleven and other little stalls which, at the time of writing, for a big bottle of Chang or Leo we would pay 60 Baht compared to the 70 or 80 Baht you would pay for a small bottle at a beach bar. I know we have mentioned this before but buying drinks in bars is always going to be more expensive so depending on how cheap you want to be will make up your mind. Also look out for happy hour specials as they are everywhere and if you are with a friend this can often save you some dollars. Everywhere sell buckets and if you look around the little milk bar type places will often sell these cheaper than the bars too.
Tours of the island will also be where your money is spent but I am a big believer of skimping out on things like accommodation, food and drinks rather than experiences. If there is something you want to do then you should do it if you can. Who knows if you’ll ever get the chance again! We chose to do an open tour which picked us up from Phuket and included snorkeling, free soft drink and water and lunch was provided, along with an open ticket to Krabi for 33 dollars. Again, it’s worth it to do some research and ask around at a few places near to where you are staying. We booked ours in Karon while we were staying in Phuket down “Old Phuket Town” street and found him to be the cheapest option. Also, just booking ferry tickets to and from can work out cheaper if you aren’t interested in snorkeling or anything like that.
Eating at local restaurants in Phi Phi is kind of hard and we found that even after walking around for ages, it was hard to find one of those hole in the wall, plastic table and chair eateries that we have grown quite fond and accustomed to. The food isn’t terribly expensive at most of the restaurants, just steer clear of the really flashy ones – you’ll know the ones when you see them. Otherwise, we did find a little place down an alleyway that runs off from “Moody’s” bar at the beach front. Pad Thai ( a good comparison ) was 50 baht there compared to the 80 baht we spent. Even though the price isn’t THAT differing, it’s money in your pocket and you get to eat at the cute little places that you’ll only find locals at rather than sitting next to overbearing drunk idiots in their flouro phi phi shorts.
Doing things that are free is also awesome and you should do that as much as possible. We went on a walk to the “viewpoint” which was quite far away from the party beach and what not but was seriously the highlight of Phi Phi island for me. You have to pay 20 baht to go up there, so technically it’s not free, but if you can sook about 20 baht after you check out the views then you’d have to be crazy. Also, if you are in Ton Sai Bay take a walk, not with thongs, to Long Beach on the quieter side of the island. We didn’t get a chance to do it, but spoke to people who did and definitely would recommend it. Just grab a free map from one of the many tourist information centers/shops and you can map out the trek easily!
Here is a run down on the money we spent in Phi Phi over 2 days –
Tour: This included transport from Phuket to Phi Phi and then an open ended ticket to Krabi, free water and soft drink, lunch, snorkelling and along the way seeing all the “sights” of Phi Phi.
Cost: $33.00 AUD
Dinner: Dinner on night one consisted of Pad Thai and a Cashew Nut Stir Fry that came with rice at Cosmic Cafe. It fed both of us perfectly and the meals were quite generous. We also got to listen to the obscenity of Biggie Smalls as we ate which was quite entertaining.
Cost: $6.00 AUD
Accommodation: We stayed at the Golden Hill Bungalow Resort which was a backpackers and had private rooms. We paid 29 dollars but should have only paid around 21 and dorms would be even cheaper than this.
Cost $29.00 AUD
Viewpoint Walk: is highly recommended as you see amazing views from the top of Phi Phi and you feel like you are in heaven. The views are breathtaking and gorgeous and you shouldn’t miss it.
Cost: .60 cents
Lunch: Lunch was at Anna’s Restaurant and was really yummy. There was locals sitting around as well and it is run by a Thai lady and her Brit boyfriend. Very cute. We had three mains cos there was no breakfast in our bellies and after the walk we were quite full.
Cost: $10.00 AUD
Drinks and Miscellaneous: We did splash out and buy a few amazing fruit shakes and beers but it was well worth it as we are still in a little bit of holiday mode.
Cost: Around $20.00 AUD
All up we spent about $100 total, which is, obviously, 50 dollars each for two days and definitely in our budget of hoping to spend 50 dollars or less a day.