Koh Phi Phi, a tourist haven off the west coast of Thailand made famous by Leonardo Dicaprio’s The Beach, has, over the past decade, morphed from a tropical paradise into an island trampled on by the over-indulging, inconsiderate Western foot.
It has been reduced to an overpopulated party wasteland, where throngs of drones congregate ocean side in awe of row upon row of fire shows, which is followed subsequently by vomit-inducing “top 10” American playlists featuring the likes of Britney Spears (sorry, it’s Britney, bitch) and other talentless, technologically modified mainstream artists.
About a dozen bars snuggled back to back play the cringe-worthy noise for what seems like an eternity and, to make matters worse, on repeat.
I know it sounds like a rant from an old, out-of-touch geezer unwilling to let his inhibitions go, but my experience was quickly soiled when witnessing numerous drunkards, within a stones throw, urinating in the Andaman Sea.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a tipple as much as the next functioning alcoholic, but I become disillusioned when drinking – one of the most relaxing, warming and fulfilling pastimes – is transformed into a hedonistic zombie fest.
Then again, maybe Phi Phi isn’t an idyllic setting for a 29-year-old on the verge of entering his dirty 30’s. I harbour no contempt for younger partygoers, as three years ago my inaugural trip to Phi Phi was filled with drunken debauchery and unworldly splendour.
And while the alcohol-laden vibe hasn’t changed much, its temporary inhabitants are more brazen than I recall. Resorts, to accommodate the throngs of arriving tourists, are popping up like pimples on a pre-pubescent teen, stacks of rubbish litter the island and locals berate visitors to make a quick buck.
Also, cost of goods are quickly increasing and the Andaman Sea’s murky consistency dissuades some holidaymakers from wading in the calm water.
Phi Phi, however, will retain its tropical paradise label for anyone in search of an off-the-wall party where booze and drugs are as easy to locate as promiscuous women. I am sure most of you are wondering, “what is this boring sod complaining about?”
It is, I reiterate, a partygoers utopia.
I am only dismayed by the fact a formerly quiet, serene and secluded spot, only reachable by boat, has become another generic place where friends and strangers alike have one goal in mind: to get pissed and take advantage of an island that used to offer so much more.
I won’t be returning for if I see one more Same, Same But Different T-shirt my reaction would be one of cataclysmic proportions.
Just like Will I Am says in his latest horror show with Spears, “I want to scream and shout and let it all out.”