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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Ko Phi Phi: Of natural beauty, an island atmosphere and man made blunders

Ko Phi Phi, a small group of islands in Thailand’s upper Andaman coast is true paradise. It’s limestone karsts, mountains that rise out of the sea, dense and steamy forests, emerald waters, rich marine life, a relaxed island atmosphere with a permanent party mood, great seafood and pristine beaches ensures that you will stay longer than what you planned for. But, that is the rosy side of the story. Increasing influx of tourists has lead to lots of unplanned development and this has led to destruction of trees and increased garbage levels. This garbage and sewer ends up in the Andaman sea and this is not at all a good sign.

Impressive Loh Dalum Bay of Ko Phi Phi
Having said that, let’s not take anything away from the natural beauty of this island. The place is beautiful. It’s bays, its loving and kind people, it’s long beaches and its stunning view points ensure that you will always be in awe of nature’s beauty. The fish and seafood found here is as fresh as it can get. The atmosphere here is so relaxed that people can stay here for months together. But, sometimes it is the same tourists who lead to a loud party atmosphere, drinking and smoking well into the morning. I am not against that as young people need to let out their energies, but the noise from the parties ensure that the entire island stays awake till the party dies down.

View of Loh Dalum Bay and Ton Sai Bay from Ko Phi Phi view point 1
There is no garbage disposal system here and a lot of the plastic waste ends up in either the forests on on the beaches of the island. The tourists add to it by throwing their cigarette buds into the water and on the beach.

Long Beach, Ko Phi Phi
This island has definitely resurrected itself after it was battered in the 2004 tsunami, but it is fast undoing all the good work and is on a fast path to self destruction. Such is the rate of the destruction that scuba diving shops don’t dive near the island anymore as all its coral reefs are dead and the marine life have moved else where. Instead, they dive in the nearby Phi Phi Ley national park islands.

Ton Sai Bay during low tide
Either the government should restrict the number of tourists coming to the island or build a good clean environment practice. There are some areas where I have to close my nose as the smell of the sewers irritate my senses otherwise and after a heavy spell of rain, it gets even worse as the sewer overflows onto the walking path.

Phi Phi in the sands
I really like the island and would like to return here many more times, but I sincerely hope that things happen for the good.



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