An overnight sleeper train took us from Bangkok down to Surat Thani, which is the launching point for ferries to the islands. Definitely book the train in advance as it books out pretty fast. It’s a really comfortable way to travel long distances even if it is pretty bumpy at times, meaning minimal sleep. We then hopped on a very rough ferry ride to Koh Pha Ngan. Once reaching solid ground (thank god!) it was pretty easy to find some accommodation from the many people advertising places to stay. We spent a night on the quiet side of the island (Ao Thong Nai Pan) which was a nice reprieve before heading to the Full Moon Party.
Staying on the party side of the island is a lot of fun and we found a really nice (and cheap) hotel at Baan Tai Beach. It was a great place to soak up island life i.e. lying on the beach and drinking cocktails.
We then headed to Hat Rin Beach for the Full Moon Party! It is a brilliant party, with lots of vendors selling literal buckets of alcohol. There was fire limbo and a fire skipping rope, which Sophie managed to trip over! Don’t worry, no harm done. We had a blast and you should definitely go!
After a bit of recovery time we then hopped on a ferry and headed over to Koh Phi Phi, via a town called Krabi. Koh Phi Phi was an absolute highlight of our time in Thailand and a fantastic way to end our trip. We loved everything about this island, it is incredibly beautiful with sheer jungle clad cliffs dropping straight into the clear blue ocean. We lined up some accommodation near the beach, in some bamboo bungalows, and immediately went for a swim accompanied by mojitos.
There are many places offering snorkeling trips to various spots around the islands. They all seem to follow a similar route and pattern so it pays to shop around for a good price. We paid approximately US$10 each for a half day (so cheap!). The boat trip was a great way to see the area and we never got tired of the limestone cliffs and clear blue water.
Koh Phi Phi is all about having fun. The drinks are cheap and there are endless amounts of activities to do. We even discovered a place where you can get in the ring and have a crack at Muay Thai boxing with your friends (we weren’t drunk enough to attempt this). Our time in Koh Phi Phi was incredible and I highly recommend a visit here if you’re in the South. Cost wise it was pretty similar to what we spent in the rest of Thailand because we did do a lot of activities and drank a lot of cocktails. You’re looking at about NZ$60 (US$40) per day, if you stay somewhere cheap.
Editor’s Note: Visited Thailand in 2012, updated in 2017.