Phi Phi restaurants and bars guide

Hit the beach and be wowed by the fire dancers

Phi Phi Don is probably not the first place in Thailand that you’d head for if you were looking for reasonably priced and highly authentic Thai food, as it’s just too tourist-influenced to adequately provide either. The Phi Phi restaurants selection is reasonable, however, and while establishments may tailor their dishes somewhat to suit Western palates, the standard of food is still invariably high and consistent with other developing tourist areas in the region.

As with the hotel industry, much was wiped out by the Tsunami and never redeveloped, including a string of decent restaurants that linked Lo Dalam Bay and catered to day trippers. Visitors can go traditionally Thai, French, Italian or Japanese depending on their taste and mood. If nothing too exotic is appealing, then there are plenty of Western-oriented eateries where familiar fast food items are available.

Here is a varied selection of eateries on Phi Phi Don that we suggest. There are plenty of others also if you wander around and as chefs tend to change seasonally it's a good idea to pop in anywhere which looks busy.

Bar guide to Phi Phi

Recommended Koh Phi Phi restaurants

Tonsai Bay is home to the greatest concentration of venues with other establishments spread evenly across the main tourist drags

Papaya: is a small food outlet serving traditional Thai dishes at something like regular Thai prices. Expect food to be spicy and fragrant with favourites such as papaya salad somtam (don't try and match the chef's prefered 14 chillies in a dish!) and a variety of pre-prepared dishes available over rice. Tonsai Beach. $

Cosmic: an Italian restaurant that is genuinely Italian owned and is represented by two separate branches on the island. Both places serve great Italian food with the pizzas (150 baht) reputedly being the best on Phi Phi Don. $$

Hibachi: is a Japanese restaurant that offers a very popular all-you-can-eat deal for the unusual figure of 222 baht. It’s not cheap by Thai standards but for less than US$10 you can still gorge till you burst if the desire takes you. Tonsai Bay. $$$

Little Britain: as with any popular Thai destination, the expat crowd has made their mark and this British-owned and British-themed establishment is the place to head if you prefer a traditional English breakfast over rice or noodles. Tonsai Bay. $$

Oasis: serves moderately priced but relatively authentic and well presented Thai food, hence why there are often long waits to be served of an evening. $$

Top Ten Burger: having travelled half-way around the world, treat yourself to that popular western delicacy known as the burger. Expect Top Ten Burger to deliver the usual meaty offerings and typical sauces and trimmings. $$

Budget rating
$ dishes b30 - b70; quart of beer b70; whiskey shot 80 baht; cocktails b100
$$ dishes b70 - b120; quart of beer b100; whiskey shot 100 baht; cocktails b120
$$$ dishes b100 - 250; quart of beer b120; whiskey shot 130 baht; cocktails b150

Carpe Diem: stylish Thai and international food in a very pleasing beachside environment. The restaurant is two-tiered and of an evening, punters can watch a fire show on the beach from the safety of their tables. Located in front of Phi Phi Villa Resort. $$$

H. C. Andersen Restaurant & Steak House: offers Thai and international food at a distinctly tourist-oriented venue. Good service and respectable portions make this a good option for those seeking a break from the plethora of Thai establishments. Tonsai Bay, Tel: 084 846 9010. $$

Bars and nightlife on Koh Phi Phi

A varied selection of tourists visit Koh Phi Phi although increasingly the package holiday makers and frequenters of up-market resorts are comprising the larger portion of the annual visiting population. Nightlife is still coming around to addressing the needs of all of its visitors and currently the rustic, bamboo-constructed beach bar style establishment tends to be the norm; although there are obvious exceptions.

Upmarket dining is best found in your hotel, and the infrastructure offers scant choice as the post-tsunami development continues at a stunted rate due to bureaucracy. Don’t expect the silver service and huge choice of Phuket.

Fire shows are a common aspect of the evening drinking scene, especially at those bars overlooking the beach, but one is pretty much the same as the next and they tend to get old quick. In the high season some venues offer live music from locals doing their best Eagles renditions, but turntables and full moon partygoers are more the norm now.

Expat-owned bars offer a welcoming atmosphere. Prices can be as expensive if not more so in these establishments as they invariably offer imported beers and other foreign consumable products. Of course, everything has to be ‘shipped in’

If it’s a quiet night you’re after then seek out one of the many restaurants showing movies of an evening. DVDs or VCDs of current or popular releases generally air twice an evening with the first title being shown around 18:00. Order yourself some food or a drink and settle down for a couple of hours of relaxed viewing with nothing extra to pay.

Updated and correct: January 2013

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