A HILLSIDE resort on a Koh Phi Phi island off southern Krabi province was hit by fire that destroyed 17 of its 20 bungalows at around noon yesterday, Thai Rath newspaper reported this morning (Nov. 13, 2020).
That there were no injures is because the resort, Phi Phi Hill Bamboo, is closed as there are no tourists during the current coronavirus pandemic. Islanders had a difficult time fighting the blaze because narrow roads on this hill prevented fire engines from getting close to the resort.
Mr. Sombat Thongkerd, headman of village number seven on Koh Phi Phi Don island, said the bungalows, built on separated raised plots, were made of wood and had thatched roof. The hillside resort overlooks Loh Dalum Bay at this island.
The resort’s owner is not a local resident and was not on the island when the fire broke out having returned to his native province and also did not leave any workers behind, with this helping prevent injuries.
Police are investigating the cause of the fire with damage estimated to be around 3 million baht.
Of the Phi Phi group of islands it is Koh Phi Phi Don which is the largest and most populated, although the beaches of the second largest island, Koh Phi Phi Le, are visited by many people as well.
The rest of the islands in the group, including Bida Nok, Bida Nai, and Bamboo Island (Koh Mai Phai), are not much more than large limestone rocks jutting out of the sea. The islands are reachable by speedboats or long-tail boats most often from Krabi town or from piers in Phuket Province, according to Wikipedia.
The islands came to worldwide prominence when Koh Phi Phi Le was used as a location for the 2000 British-American film The Beach.
This attracted criticism, with claims that the film company had damaged the island’s environment – the producers supposedly bulldozed beach areas and planted palm trees to make it better resemble descriptions in the book, an accusation the film’s makers contest. An increase in tourism was attributed to the film’s release, which resulted in increased environmental degradation. Phi Phi Le is home to the “Viking Cave”, where there is a thriving industry harvesting edible bird’s nests.
The bungalows destroyed by fire at Koh Phi Phi island yesterday. Photos: Thai Rath