Thailand’s Phi Phi Islands: Like Alcatraz, but with nice scenery

Thailand’s Phi Phi Islands: Like Alcatraz, but with nice scenery

An airline pilot gives a scathing but accurate review of "a stupefyingly beautiful place ruined by throngs of young and obnoxious visitors"

Phi Phi IslandsA rare moment of calm in Phi Phi Islands' Maya Bay. He might be a fan of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport, but Salon.com’s Patrick Smith, an airline pilot who writes a regular column for the website, has little nice to say about Thailand’s popular Phi Phi Islands. 

“It's a kind of Machu Picchu of the open sea -- scenery so vertically preposterous as to have been rendered by a five-year-old with a green crayon.” 

But the bad part, he says, is the people. 

"That such a stupefyingly beautiful place could be ruined by throngs of visitors is one of the great scandals of global travel ... Hundreds of thousands of tourists -- let me correct myself, hundreds of thousands of young and obnoxious tourists -- come to this watery corner of Asia each year to behold the Phi Phi Islands. 

"And to drink, and to party, and to stay up till 4 a.m. listening to hip-hop music out at the beach, and to whoop and screech and holler and pass out naked in the sand and SLAM SLAM SLAM their hotel room doors."

The best part about the trip for Smith? Leaving.

“On the third afternoon we are on the ferry back to Phuket. The motors crank up and we feel like high-fiving. It's like escape from Alcatraz. Funny how the excitement of traveling can sometimes work in reverse.” 

The worst part about this article is that Smith’s assessment is bang on, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you’re a party-loving backpacker. Otherwise, head elsewhere.  Click here to read the full piece.  

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