Thursday, 22 September 2011

Ko Phi Phi

Hello Family & Friends -

So we awoke on Tues morning to no rain and the sun trying to break out!  Woo-hoo!  After breakfast we were all ready for our 10am pickup, as we were told the boat to Ko Phi Phi leaves at 10:30.  A few minutes to 10 we confirmed with the most competent lady at the desk that it was truly 10.  Yes, yes she said - "Not 10 yet."  At 10:10 we were getting a bit concerned, and politely interrupted her dealings with some other not-so-happy customers, and she says "Oh, you're still here?"  Yes, we're still here, where's our pickup, we can't miss this boat!  After much confusion and 5 phone calls, she confirmed the boat is actually at 11 and the pickup is 10:30.  Great, thanks for that.
We ended up having a very scenic 2 hour boat ride to Ko Phi Phi and found our accommodation no problem on arrival.  We were right in the middle of both bays, about a 2 minute walk to the beach.  Nice!  We spent the day swimming, lounging, napping.  Tough life I know!  We booked a 1/2 day trip tomorrow to Phi Phi Leh where "The Beach" was filmed.  We had to prepay in full and afterwards we all felt a bit uneasy with that, esp given our "receipt" was hand-written on a piece of notebook paper.  Bao, you had better show up tomorrow!  :)

Dinner was at Tonsai Seafood and everything was so fresh and delicious.  We all split this huge red snapper, massive fresh prawns, mussels and crab.  A feast!  After dinner we found this bar called Hippies with a fire show going on.  It was a cool atmosphere with some people sitting up front in the sand.  Until one of the fire sticks flew into the crowd...I was glad we were in the back!  :)  Later that night we found the backpacker area and the wild & crazy danceclubs on the beach.  We were so glad our place was far enough away we couldn't hear the loud bass thumping.  As we approached our room that night however, turns out there was a bar right next door to us blaring the music til all hours of the night.  UGH!  Lucky for me I can sleep through anything and Yazz had her earplugs.  Not sure if Kim and Matt fared so well.  :(

The next day we showed up at 9 to meet Bao, our longtail boat driver.  He showed up about 9:10 thankfully.  We had given up on him appearing, since he had our money and all.  Esp too since the others at the kiosk were very uninterested in helping us. 

We got onto the longtail and made our way out to Phi Phi Leh, the island where The Beach was filmed.  Upon getting off the boat we were greeted with someone asking for 200 bhat each for the park entry fee.  Of course nobody mentioned this!  Luckily Matt had some money on him and covered us.  Thanks Matt!  :)

We took a million photos because the area was gorgeous.  We had a swim in the crystal clear aqua water and within 20 minutes about a thousand more tourists were dropped onto the beach, which was just a sliver of sand.  It was pristine but the sheer # of people detracted slightly from the experience.

Next we rode out a bit a did some snorkeling.  The masks were leaky and there weren't too many fish to be seen except about 20 feet down.  But luckily visibility was good and you could see some of the tropical fish below.

We were done snorkeling about 30 minutes later and thought Bao was also ready to go.  When the engine wouldn't start we knew there was a slight issue.  He spent the next 20ish minutes tinkering with the engine while we sat there.  I guess it's par for the course.

We next went to a gorgeous lagoon and swam.  There weren't as many boats in this one, so it's probably the highlight for me.  We were diving and flipping off the boat.  Good times!

We were supposed to stop at the Monkey Beach to see loads of monkeys, but when we got there the tide was in so there was actually no beach.  And no monkeys.  Sorry Kim and Matt.  :(  We also didn't have time for the cliff jumping.  Maybe if your boat would have worked we could have done this activity.  Oh well, overall it was a really good 1/2 day trip.  Expectations were just a little bit skewed from reality.  Again, to be expected I guess.

Back on shore we hit the beach and swam and lounged the rest of the day.  Dinner that night was at another great seafood place.  After dinner we hit up Reggae Bar and saw some Thai boxing which was really cool.  They also had a "special" going that if anyone from the audience got up to box they'd get a free bucket.  The buckets were just that - a bucket you'd build a sandcastle with filled with alcoholic concoctions.  We did see 2 girls fight it out as well as a few guys.  It was pretty funny I must admit!  And to say we'd tried a bucket, the 5 of us did split one.  5 ways it's not so bad, but everyone you passed on the street each had their own.  You can only imagine the chaos.

We saw some of the crazy beach dancing and joined in for a few dances before calling it a night.  We had a great time in Ko Phi Phi and it is gorgeous, but I was ready for the next location.  It was a lot busier and overrun with 20 year-old backpackers than I expected.  I guess that is typical of cheap, exotic, gorgeous locations.  Stay tuned for the last destination of our Thailand adventure...

 - Jenny and "enjoying his vacation from the blog" Sam

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