The best way to travel between Phuket and Krabi is by ferry – it might not be the quickest means of getting from A to B, but it’s dirt cheap, super simple, and the black and green islands jutting out of turquoise water make some seriously stunning views. Sit up on the top deck, catch some rays, and treat it as a sight-seeing day as you glide smoothly along.
I chose to split up my journey between Phuket and Koh Lanta with a night in Koh Phi Phi Don. I’d heard mixed things about Phi Phi, but the overriding opinion was that, being the grumpy old early-to-bed loner that I am, I’d hate it. Nevertheless, I thought I’d give it a try – I mean, have you seen the photos?!
I picked a place to stay without too much thought – Phi Phi Sunset Bay Resort looked cool from the pictures – wooden stilted cabins nestled in amongst the cliffs – but other than that it was a bit of a mystery to me.
It turned out to be one of the best places I stayed on my entire trip. If you want to see a different side to Phi Phi, away from the hoards and thudding nightlife, book into Sunset Bay, a serene, secluded little paradise.
The resort was a boat transfer away from the bustle of the port town, organised seamlessly by the hotel, and included in the price.
After about 10 minutes in our little boat, watching the fish and coral through the perfectly clear water, we pulled up to the resort. It was every bit as picturesque as the photos – with a small private beach and wooden huts cloaked in thick green, disappearing into the side of the cliff.
I was greeted with the warmest smiles by the members of staff, checked in, and followed one of the boys who had somehow managed to lift my obscenely heavy suitcase out of the boat without capsizing, and was sprinting up the side of the hill with it on his shoulder, towards my bungalow. Getting up to the rooms isn’t easy, and by the time I’d caught up with him, I was out of breath and more than a little bit sweaty. It ain’t glamorous but staying at the resort is definitely a fun experience.
If you’re after flawless white stretches of sand, Sunset Bay’s location might not be for you. However, they do offer regular transfers back over to the main town where you’ll find those picture postcard beaches. Personally, I loved the more rugged setting of the resort, and there were no sunburnt budgy smuggler-clad tourists or fishbowl cocktails to be seen.
My beautiful cabin felt perfectly secluded.
Inside was immaculate. Decorated simply and traditionally, but with everything I needed (other than air con – although the fan was actually way more efficient than I was expecting, thank god), it was comfortable, relaxing, and quite frankly a bargain.
But it was the view from the balcony that was the real showstopper. Who needs a TV when you can watch that all day?
I’m now a big fan of outdoor showers – washing your hair amongst the flowers is like starring in your own shampoo ad. A warning though; brace yourself as the water is cold – heavenly after a day in the muggy Thai heat, but not to everyone’s taste.
I took approximately 8473 photographs of the view from my balcony at sunset, but look, can you blame me?
The owners were so incredibly welcoming and friendly – they instantly made me feel at home. The lady seemed pretty keen to feed me up (typical mother figure), and I was served the best Pad Thai I’ve ever tasted as I watched the sun go down over the bay. Unforgettable.
The owner told me that she takes a photograph of the sunset every night. I loved that she doesn’t ever take it for granted and even after all this time still appreciates the beauty of the island.
Staying at Sunset Bay was a bit of a back-to-basics experience – no air conditioning, no hot water, no wifi other than in the restaurant area (I only realised this the next day), no television or fridge, clambering up uneven and steep rocky steps to get to the rooms, and the sense of being cut off from the rest of civilisation, which made a wonderfully refreshing change. If you’re expecting 5* luxury, you’ll be in for a shock, but with surroundings and views of such incredible natural beauty, the simplicity of the accommodation helps you appreciate it even more, and as far as I’m concerned, that makes it worth every penny.
At night, with only the lapping of the waves against the shore, and the chirping of the crickets, the resort was the perfect peaceful retreat from Phi Phi’s highly frequented party towns. I’m not gonna lie though, listen carefully and you can make out the low hum of the music from the bars across the water. To some people this might be a major distraction, but in a weird way it felt more comforting than annoying to me.
Be prepared to lose your flip flops as you climb along the sheets of black rock, watch the crabs dart into the crevices, and hop across the rockpools. Good balance is a must. Long legs are preferable.
Breakfast was basic – toast and jam and a fried egg (an odd combo but whatever), yet you kind of don’t care when you’re sitting out on the bay in the morning sun, watching the fishing boats and listening to the birds singing.
I was honestly gutted to leave Phi Phi Sunset Bay after just one night – the owner even said I could stay on if I wanted, but I decided to stick to my plans and head on to Koh Lanta. I wrote my thank you message to the hosts on one of the stones in the communal area, In the communal area, and they insisted on having a photo with me on the tree swing before I left. If I ever end up in Koh Phi Phi again, I’d love to go back. The staff were the kindest I’d met, and they, coupled with those views, made my stay unforgettable.
I found Phi Phi Sunset Bay Resort on Booking.com. I spent one night in a one bedroom chalet for 1,350 THB, which included breakfast and free boat transfers to and from the ferry pier.