We spent the past few days on Koh Phi Phi, and while it is a beutiful island, its beauty, however, has been heavily tarnished by uncontrolled development and countless tours of the surrounding islands and reefs.
Koh Phi Phi was hit extremely hard during the tsunami in late 2004, almost everything on the island was leveled. Since this island is part of a National Park (but was never protected… Thai park officials would not set foot on the island due to fears of violence against them) the Thai government attempted to use this tragic event to protect this island as it should have been protected all along, and establish a low use, low impact tourism economy much like those found on Koh Surin, and the Similan Islands.
This did not come to pass, and again Park officials do not dare set foot on the island. The island has been overrun with uncontrolled development. Bungalow operators have started building on what ever land they can (all the land is owned by the government); no plans have been made to ensure that the local beauty of the island (which draws most of the tourists) is not destroyed. It is a perfect example of the tragedy of the commons; while it is in an individual bungalow operators interest to expand and build more bungalows, it is not in the Islands best interest when every bungalow operator feels the same way. Once the islands beauty is lost how will these bungalow operators make a living?
It is not just the Bungalow operators, that are to blame, tour operators from Koh Phi Phi, Phuket and all the surrounding towns come to explore the waters and reefs just off shore of Koh Phi Phi and the surrounding Islands. The reefs are already exhibiting lots of damage by careless anchorage, and garbage is a far too common sight in the waters. It truly is a shame that these beautiful islands located within a National Park should be so poorly protected.
We did not take any that show the rampant development, as it is very difficult to photograph that which one does not want to see.
Here are the rest of the pics