My tour of the Phi Phi islands has most definitely been the highlight of my trip so far (that or the 50 cent beers in Cambodia.) Like I mentioned, seeing these islands is absolutely breathtaking (no really…I couldn’t breathe). I booked the tour through my hotel. The brochure listed the price as 1800 baht but my hotel got me a discount and I only paid 1000 baht. Sweet! It was an all-day tour that included hotel pick-up/drop-off, unlimited drinks, a tour guide, speedboat ride to five of the Phi Phi islands, lunch, and fruit/cake on the ride back to Krabi. 1000 baht is a little over 30 US dollars. Holy shit that’s a good deal. Even double or even triple that price would have been worth it.
I am staying in Ao Nang beach, and the speedboats run from the next beach over called Nopparat Thara. A baht bus came to the hotel about 8:20 to pick me up. I was the first on the bus and we stopped at what seemed to be 20 other hotels to pick up other people for the tour. Once we had everyone we finally got to the beach to catch the speedboats. In case you are wondering, the beach here looks like this:
|Ao Nang Beach, Krabi
|Ao Nang Beach, Krabi
Tough way to start the day.
Just an FYI – all of these pictures were taken with my shitty iPod Touch camera. Some were taken using the ProHDR app, some are just the regular camera. If you think the pictures are nice, I tell you now that the pictures are not even close to what this stuff really looks like. You should book a flight to southern Thailand right now.
Anyways, we finally got to the boat, loaded everyone on and took off about 9-ish. I was the first one on again and picked a seat right up front (obvi). After 30 minutes of loud, fast, wind in your hair sun on your face speedboat travel we were at the first stop.
Phi Phi Don Island
Phi Phi Don was one of the islands hit hard in the tsunami several years ago, but I certainly couldn’t tell. We didn’t actually get off on the island at this point. We anchored the boat off shore and had about half an hour to go snorkeling. Coral, angelfish, little nemos, huge sea urchins, all right next to you. I loved every second of it. These babies wore life jackets and it looked so hard for them to get around! I’m a decent swimmer and didn’t see much risk of drowning in calm waters with 30 other snorkelers nearby so went without. I think it made the snorkeling much better and easier and even made me feel like kind of a badass. If I could go back in time I would have bought a waterproof camera for this trip.
|Snorkeling with some nerdles
|I bet those are out of my budget.
Viking Caveand Phi Leh Bay
We drove by Viking Cave and the tour guide was explaining something about it but it was hard for me to hear him. I think I half didn’t know what to look for and half there just wasn’t much to see. It looked pretty cool from afar but I bet it looks even cooler inside. Damn. Maybe next time. Phi Leh Bay was most definitely the best part of this tour for me. It was absolutely gorgeous to me. The were so high and impressive and the water was clear and the most perfect green-blue color. I was filming the scenery, but I bet if I was filming my face it would be all wide-eyes and mouth-dropped. A few boats were anchored and people were swimming. I was jealous. There was even one spot with a rope swing! Again…Damn. Maybe next time.
I was so pumped for Maya beach. This was one of the locations used to film the movie “The Beach.” People call it “the Beach beach.” Ha. After we left Phi Ley Bayit was only a few minutes to Maya beach around the rocks. I knew it was coming around the bend and was so excited to see this:
Unfortunately what I saw was this:
I was sooooo disappointed. It looked like a freaking parking lot. There was at least 30 other boat tours anchored there. It was so crowded you could barely see the sand. It smelled like boat exhaust and cigarette smoke. I was horrified to see a “Maya Beach” sign, right next to the “TOILET –>” sign. No quiet. No peace. It was absolute chaos. Ugh, thanks Leonardo. My tour guide said that if you come early in the morning you’ll have the place to yourself. After what I saw I don’t know if I can believe it but maybe I’ll give it another try sometime.
Monkey beach, Phi Phi Don
After the Beach beach, we headed back to Phi Phi Don for lunch with a quick stop at Monkey Bay/Beach. This:
…made me really uneasy. There were only two other boats there when we got there, and they had unloaded and were feeding the monkeys some bananas. The monkeys seemed to be all about the bananas, but then guess what? The people ran out of bananas. After a minute or two the monkeys did not look happy. They looked scared and defensive. The people on the beach were kind of just crowding the monkeys and taking pictures. Really just intruding in the monkey’s space. Bleh. It pissed me off. Our boat wouldn’t let us off here and I’m glad. Leave the monkey’s alone people. Lunch was delicious as always here. I walked around a little after and came to a serious clusterfuck of people. When I got back to my hotel I was telling the owner about it and apparently I came into the spot where the ferries drop everyone off. A bajillion people with bags, children, and blank lost stares – I guess everyone wants to go to Phi Phi. I’m no exception, I definitely want to go back to Phi Phi Don though and stay a few days. Or weeks. Or months. What I saw of it was amazing and I barely saw any!
|longtails at phi phi don
Last stop on the way home was Bamboo Island. I guess there used to be tons of Bamboo here (duh) but the Thais have used so much of it up there isn’t much left. The stop wasn’t really structured at all and we had over an hour to just chill and do whatever we wanted. I snorkeled some more but stopped when some fishies kept nibbling on my legs! I guess I deserved it for being in their hood. Walked down the beach, and then laid on the front of the boat rocking in the waves until we left. I was exhausted, sunburned, and totally relaxed. Perfect end to the tour.
Seriously amazing. I can’t wait to go back and I would do the tour again in a second. Like I said, you should probably get on a flight right now and join me…