Old Pictures of Krabi in the Late 80’s Including Phi Phi Don

Between 1987 and 1990 the American Jim Carter choose to serve as Peace Corps volunteer in Lam Thap, Krabi working with the Thailand Department of Agriculture. My wife was born and raised in Lam Thap, and thanks to my blog our World Wide Web roads were crossed and Mr. Jim could share his amazing story with me. Back in the 80’s, it was just the most adventurous traveler who knew about Krabi, and Jim had the good fortune to visit some places that are hugely popular today. Below are some pictures I have been granted permission to share.

Happy children swimming in the clear water next to a wooden pier at Tonsai Bay, Koh Phi Phi Don in 1988. What makes this picture so cool for me is that I took a picture at the very same spot this year — 30 years later!

A small house surrounded by coconut trees on the top of a hill on Phi Phi Don 1988. Before 1950 Phi Phi Don was uninhabited and Muslim fishers from Phang Nga Bay became the first to settle here, and later the island became a coconut plantation.

Fishing houses on Tonsai Beach, Phi Phi Don 1988.

Jim’s wife on Phi Phi Don who he was dating back then. Jim remembers how undeveloped the island was at this time of period. Today there are hotels everywhere, and the former idyllic island has now become a party island.

Jim on his Suzuki filling up with gas at a station in Bang Khan. The road to Lam Thap was a challenge in the rainy season, and Jim used to joke with his co-workers and tell them Thailand has two seasons; kee klong and kee foon which translates to muddy dirt road and dusty dirt road. Today, most of the roads are paved.

Ruen Paen floating restaurant in Krabi Town 1987. The restaurant is still there, floating and serving food.

Coffee tree plantations in Lam Thap. After Jim got married, he used to ride his motorcycle from Bang Khan to Lam Thap, and he remembers how amazing the ride was — especially during the season when the coffee tree flowers were in bloom. Coffee was one of the main cash crops in Lam Thap until the 90’s, but it became unprofitable, so the farmers cut down most of the trees and grew palm oil and rubber instead.

Many families grew their own rice in Lam Thap in the 80’s, but today it’s rare to see a rice field and the hills are now covered in rubber and palm oil.

The Provincial Government Building in Krabi Town 1987.

View from the Provincial Government Building.

Jim and his friends.

One of Jim’s friends having fun in Khoa Din Village, Lam Thap.

Thank you, Jim, for letting me post your pictures!

Koh Phi Phi Don 1987 vs. today

In the picture from 1987, it looks like there is not a single hotel on the narrow stretch of land. Today, there are not many coconut trees left. A quite sad development. Photo credit: traveling canucks


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