Traveller's Tips to Phi Phi
The Phi Phi Islands are some of the world's most beautiful and even though they are almost always very busy with visitors from all around the world they still remain resolutely Thai.
This means that things are very different from back home and that Thai traditions and cultural values very much apply. Have a look at our handy hints below to get a brief sketch of how things are on Phi Phi.
Getting or changing money is no problem in Tonsai Village, there are several banks that open into the evening that will change cash and travelers cheques. ATM's are on many street corners.
Banking facilities are not yet available on the east coast, you should take money with you or stop at Tonsai Village on the way.
220v with European or US style 2 pin plugs (flat or round), adapters are common in shops.
Hospital and Doctors
There a newly built hospital in Tonsai West which can treat minor ailments. Evacuation to Phuket can be organised for those with serious conditions.
Prevalent throughout Tonsai Village and open fairly late.
Located 500 metres from the pier in Tonsai Village, on the way to Tonsai East. The tourist police generally have a person who speaks English.
You can use the local post office for postcards and inbound mail, but if you have to send important mail, it's better to use the main post offices at Phuket or Krabi.
There are public phones on the island. One is located at the pier. Most tour agencies will allow you to make both local and international calls for a small charge.
Satellite TV, CNN and BBC are available around the island. Most bars show important sporting events.
Phi Phi has many internet cafés and the upscale hotels offer WiFi in their lobbies and even in some rooms.
Good ideas and Bad ideas
Thais are very tolerant people, but if you want to make the most of your visit, you should be aware of some Thai customs and sensitive areas.
Always be polite...
Make an effort not to lose your temper in frustrating situations. Remember the pace of life is much slower in Thailand so adjust accordingly. Losing your temper is considered a great loss of face.
On the islands, especially Phi Phi, the dress code is very informal, but smart-casual is appreciated in the better quality hotel restaurants. When travelling, especially on boats, it's better to cover up as you can get sun burnt in a very short time!
In general, Thais do not shake hands, they wai. The hands are placed together with the palms together in a prayer-like way. Although many Thais will often greet you in this manner, you shouldn’t wai back to everyone, especially to people of lower social standing to you – a smile and a nod of the head is adequate. But if you're meeting Thais in a social situation, a wai will be appreciated. Shaking hands in the western way is also acceptable.
It is not necessary to tip a flat 10-15% on everything. In local restaurants it's not expected, although appreciated if you do.
It's not a good idea to...
Buddhists believe that the head is sacred and the feet are the lowest part. Try not to point at objects with your feet, or touch Thai people's heads.
The Thai Royal family is treated with great respect, so do not make any untoward or rude remarks.
Although you won't be imprisoned for sunbathing nude, Thais find this offensive to their culture. While topless bathing is accepted in the tourist areas like Phi Phi, it can attract unwanted attention. It's tolerated but not welcomed. Some hotels have notices requesting no G stings or topless bathing.