The Ultimate Gay Travel Guide
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Your first question should be where to stay on the island. Party people have got to stay in Ton Sai. Outside of Ton Sai, the island has no roads or taxis, so you better stay within walking distance to the bars.
If you want to avoid the nightlife then check out some of the options outside of Ton Sai. The remote beaches are so relaxing, with plenty of lovely hotels and bungalows to choose from. These spots tend to be very secluded, and only accessible by boat, which means no popping down to the central bars for a few drinks.
If, like many visitors, you sit somewhere in between, your best choice is to book more than one hotel during your time on the island. For instance, you could spend a couple of sleepless nights partying in Ton Sai village and then move on to a restful and regenerative stay at one of the beautiful high-end resorts.
Koh Phi Phi is an extremely popular destination, which also makes it a relatively expensive one. Accommodation here is likely to be pricier than on other, less-visited islands, especially during the high season. A mid-range hotel room or bungalow will usually cost around 2000 THB-3000 THB ($60-$90), while high-end resort accommodation can cost upwards of 6000 THB ($196).
If you want to save money, consider visiting during low season (May to October), where prices can be significantly slashed. There are a few good budget options throughout the island, especially if you have someone to share with: private beachfront bungalows can be found for less than 1000 THB ($33), depending on the time of year.
Koh Phi Phi landed on the Thailand tourism map in the 90s, after being featured in the film The Beach. People from all over the world started flocking to Koh Phi Phi, seeking out the stunning natural vistas they had seen in the film. Nowadays, after decades of development, this group of islands is no longer the serene, remote paradise it once was, and the beach that started it all – Maya Beach – which is currently closed due to over-tourism.
However, that doesn’t mean that Koh Phi Phi is not worth the visit. Many spots on the islands remain as beautiful and remote as they ever were, with most of the development focusing on the thin, central strip of land in Koh Phi Phi Don. And while you won’t find pristine stretches of untouched coastline in this area, you will find some of Thailand’s loudest, rowdiest, and liveliest island partying.
Koh Phi Phi is one of Thailand’s most visited islands and is very gay-friendly for tourists. Almost all hotels across Thailand can be described as gay-friendly. It would be highly uncommon for a hotel or guesthouse to make any an issue of a gay couple checking in.
The central island, Koh Phi Phi Don, is the only one that is inhabited. You would think that having all the accommodation concentrated on one small island would mean you don’t have a lot of options, but you’d be very wrong. Every beach and bay in Phi Phi Don has its own distinct vibe, and many of them are separated by impenetrable jungle and rock. As a result, there are several areas that can only be accessed through longtail boat (or a relatively intense hike).
Due to this unique layout, visitors to Koh Phi Phi have a choice when they come to the island. Staying in a luxury resort and heading down to the main strip at night is not really an option (and neither is getting a longtail boat, since they don’t have any lighting). You either stay within walking distance of the central area around Ton Sai Bay, or you head out to a more remote corner of the island.
The former is for those who want to party, the latter for those who want to chill out in style. If you want a bit of both, you may want to consider booking two different hotel stays. This will allow you to observe both sides of the island and get the full Phi Phi experience.
Ton Sai Bay
Ton Sai Bay is the “center” of Phi Phi Don. This small bay sits along a narrow stretch of land that concentrates most of the island’s tourism and party development, and it is where you will find the bulk of bars, cafes, shops, and restaurants. Unless you are staying in a remote resort with a private boat service, Ton Sai Pier is also where you will be arriving on the island.
Accommodation in Ton Sai Bay tends to be party-oriented. That said, there are a few high-end resorts in the area, as well as some quality mid-range options. If you do want to both party and relax, look for hotels that sit slightly outside the main party hub – places near the pier are good for this.
Loh Dalam Bay
Loh Dalam Bay sits opposite Ton Sai, on the northern side of the narrow part of Phi Phi Don. Both areas bleed into each other, since it’s only about a five-minute walk between the two bays.
Hotels on the western side of Loh Dalam Bay can be quieter, but the eastern part of the bay has one of the largest (and loudest) groups of beach bars and nightly parties. If you’re in town to party, look for hostels in this part of the island – you’re guaranteed a good night out.
Hat Laem Thong
Hat Laem Thong is known as one of Koh Phi Phi’s most beautiful and idyllic areas. It is home to some of the best luxury resorts on the island, each of which offers everything you need to keep you entertained during your stay.
This is necessary, since most hotels in Hat Laem Thong can only be accessed by boat. Do make sure to count this into your budget, since you will have to pay (usually about 2000 THB each way) every time you want to go somewhere else on the island.
Long Beach offers a great compromise for travelers who want some freedom of movement, but also want a more peaceful beach experience than you would find in Ton Sai or Loh Dalam.
The beach is accessible by a 20-minute hike on a jungle path from Ton Sai. This means it’s easy to get around during the day, but – and this should go without saying – it’s not a viable option for going out at night. There are a few entertainment and dining options in Long Beach, but they are limited. However, the area does maintain a chilled-out, family-friendly, hippie feel that has been lost in many parts of the island, and accommodation options here tend to offer good value.
Hat Phak Nam
Want to get away from everything? Hat Phak Nam is the place for you. This tiny bay is especially quiet and remote, with only a couple of low-key, eco-friendly resorts and a small fishing village. Perfect for nature lovers and those looking for a real piece of remote island life.
This Ton Sai resort manages to combine a party vibe with a more relaxed, grown-up resort atmosphere. Both the Deluxe rooms and the Pool Villas are spacious and stylish, with a simple contemporary design. The Pool Villas are an especially good choice, however, since the main pool closes at 7 pm most nights.
PP Princess Resort has a great location close to plenty of bars and restaurants, and there is also a good selection of them on-site. There are two pools, one large central infinity pool and a smaller, quieter one. The bigger pool is home to a weekly pool party on Fridays, which is attended by people throughout the island and is a good place to meet new friends.
Sitting on a massive cliffside overlooking Ton Sai bay, Phi Phi Cliff Beach Resort is one of the newest hotels in Ton Sai, and one of the classier choices around. The hotel features plush and elegant design in its spacious rooms, most of which feature exceptional views. We particularly recommend the pool rooms, which give you direct access to the hotel’s infinity pool, as well as the beachfront rooms.
Phi Phi Cliff Beach Resort has limited facilities, but it’s only an easy 15-minute walk to Ton Sai pier and the local bars and restaurants. Since it’s a little bit removed from the main action, you are guaranteed a much quieter stay than you would get in a hotel in the center.
One particular quirk of Phi Phi Cliff Beach Resort is that there are quite a few monkeys in the area. While they are generally friendly, many guests have complained about the creatures coming into their rooms and stealing their food. In short – remember to lock your door!
Since it is a little bit removed from the pier and the main hub of nightlife, Gypsy Sea View Resort presents very good value for money on the island. It goes without saying that, given the size of Koh Phi Phi, this still places you within very easy walking distance from everything you need – about a 10-15 minute walk from Ton Sai pier.
The hotel itself is nothing special – both the rooms and the bungalows feature very basic decor and could do with a refresh. If in doubt, the rooms are nicer but the bungalows give you some more privacy. However, it is a good option for cheap, convenient accommodation on the island, especially if you’re not the type to spend most of your vacation in the hotel.
There is a good-sized outdoor pool with plenty of loungers for when you do want to just chill out. Alternatively, it’s just a 3-minute walk to the nearest stretch of beach.
ChaoKoh Phi Phi Hotel & Resort is located a short walk away from Ton Sai pier. This places it conveniently close to all the bars and restaurants that make up the Phi Phi nightlife, but far enough that you won’t be kept up by all the noise.
The hotel features well-decorated, modern rooms with a touch of traditional Thai ambiance. The rooms are not always as well-maintained as you would hope, but they are clean and pleasant. The Deluxe rooms are particularly attractive, with large windows, colorful mood lighting, and plenty of space.
ChaoKoh Phi Phi Hotel & Resort has a very nice outdoor pool as well as a decent gym with weights and cardio equipment. The on-site restaurant has great views over the bay and serves a varied breakfast with plenty of Asian and Western choices.
This beautiful Hat Laem Thong resort is designed to make you forget the rest of the world. It sits along a pristine, powdery-white private stretch of beach, fringed by palm trees and facing the stunning blue expanse of the Andaman sea. Like most resorts in this part of the island, it is completely remote, accessible only by boat, placing you worlds away from the rowdy nightlife in Ton Sai.
All the rooms are modern and elegant, combining dark polished woods with comfortable furnishings. However, if you’re going to enjoy Phi Phi in style, you might as well go all out. Opt for a private beachfront bungalow to wake up every morning with the sound of the waves, or book one of the new hilltop Ocean Sunset Villas. These come with your own pool and a deck from which you can enjoy the best sunsets on the island in complete privacy.
There are three pools to choose from, including two gorgeous infinity pools, as well as a range of activities to keep you busy during the day such as yoga, Thai cooking classes, and Muay Thai boxing. The resort can also help you discover the beauty of Phi Phi with experiences like diving, snorkelling, island hopping, and even fishing. If you like to keep up your workouts on vacation, there’s a compact but well-equipped gym sitting among the tropical gardens. Then, wind down with a massage, either in the spa or right on the beach.
You may not be able to get to the bars on the other side of the island, but that doesn’t mean there is nothing to do at night. The resort boasts several great bars and restaurants, from the low-key beachfront Mongthalay Bar to Cha Bah, where you can dine on fresh grilled seafood with your feet in the sand.
Located along on a party-heavy stretch of beach just north of Loh Dalam Bay, this hotel is made for enjoying the Phi Phi nightlife. The area gets very loud at night (and the rooms have less-than-ideal soundproofing), so it’s very much not for those who want a quiet, peaceful experience. If, however, you just want somewhere pretty to nurse away from the previous night’s hangover, this could be the place for you.
Indeed, the views from Cobble Beach Hotel are some of the best in the bay, something which the layout of the hotel very much takes advantage of. Whether you’re chilling by the pool or having some drinks at the bar, you can take in the bright blue Andaman sea and the green-topped limestone cliffs of Koh Phi Phi in all their glory. Then, at night, you can head out to one of the many bars and beach parties in the area, the bucket of vodka in hand.
The accommodation itself is very simple, made up of basic rooms and bungalows. It does, however, provide good value for money if you are on the island to party. Make sure you get in touch with the hotel to arrange pick-up from the pier, as the hotel is up a steep hill (a porter carries your luggage for you) and can be hard to find.
For the ultimate remote island experience, you can’t do better than Zeavola. This resort is all about luxury island style, with stunning teak villas surrounded by lush jungle greenery. Each villa features impeccable decor set within windowed walls so that you always feel like you are right in the middle of nature. If you want an extra slice of luxury, go for the sprawling hillside pool villa, which is perfect for a romantic getaway.
If you can drag yourself away from your villa, you’ll find an exceptional spa, a swimming pool, a fitness suite, and even a diving school offering PADI courses. In fact, the resort is perfect for those wanting to explore Phi Phi’s legendary reefs, since it specializes in organizing diving and snorkeling experiences for its guests.
There are two restaurants on-site, both of an incredibly high standard. On the beachfront, Tocada specializes in Mediterranean cuisine, while Baxil serves up authentic Thai food set under a canopy of trees.
Zeavola isn’t just gorgeous: it’s also sustainable and eco-friendly, which has earned it an award for World’s Best Sustainable Boutique Hotel Award.
Located in tiny Phak Nam bay, this is as remote as it gets on Phi Phi. The accommodation is made up of stunning Thai-style island bungalows, featuring thatched pointed roofs and exclusively natural materials.
The amenities are decidedly rustic: all the rooms are fan-only and do not have hot water (not that you are really likely to need it in this neck of the woods). There is an on-site beachfront restaurant serving authentic Thai and Western cuisine, and Thai massages are available. This is very much a place for getting away from everything, with the beauty of the Andaman coast doing most of the entertainment.
As always, Phi Phi Relax Beach Resort can help you plan some activities around the island. In particular, it offers some great fishing packages, which include the opportunity to cook your catches right on the boat.
P.P. Blue Sky Resort is less luxurious than some others on the list, but it’s a great option for those who want to enjoy Phi Phi’s more laid back side without breaking the bank. The location on Long Beach means you can enjoy a more relaxed atmosphere than you would in Ton Sai, while still being within walking distance from the bars and restaurants of central Phi Phi.
Independently owned and run by a lovely team of staff, the resort is made up of 13 charming bungalows. They are all decorated in a soothing palette of white and blue and feature all the standard amenities. The beachside bungalows are a particularly good deal, offering sea views while still feeling private and secluded.
The facilities are limited, but P.P. Blue Sky Resort can help you organize activities to keep you busy on the island. There is also some great snorkeling to be done directly on the resort beach, and equipment rental is available from reception.
PP Charlie Beach Resort sits on the edge of Loh Dalam Bay, about a five-minute walk from the bars, restaurants, and shops of Ton Sai Bay. This means it’s both convenient and quiet, perfect for those who want to party but also get some rest. It’s a 3-star resort with very good facilities, for a more modest price than some of the more upmarket hotels in the area.
The pool, in particular, is a big draw. It’s both large and well-designed, with plenty of lounger space (including Balinese beds that sit within the water itself) and a lovely view of Ton Sai Bay. Unlike many mid-range resorts in the area, the food at the on-site restaurant is genuinely good, especially the fantastic breakfast buffet.
The rooms are relatively basic, offering little in the way of design or amenities. Some of the cheaper categories of room can also be quite small and noisy – ask for a room far away from the hotel bar if possible. We recommend booking the Superior Double Room for more comfort.