koh phi phi
Having arrived without prearranged accommodation we got the cheapest room (600baht) from the pier which ended up being at the far end of the centre at the top of a steep hill. This would do for the first night though and it did have a wonderful view of the beach. You pay considerably more for an airconditioned room so we are lucky it’s low season and temperatures are not as high at the moment. Travelling for as long as we did tires you out, even if you sleep as you wake up at awkward hours, spend a long time at different places and buses are not the most comfortable.
After we settled in we found a room in Jong House right bang in the centre of where it all happens (but still strangely quiet from the blaring music by the beach), ate and headed back to rest. During the six days we attempted to relax at the beach but the rain would come quick after lunch nearly every day which made it impossible. The sea was still warm regardless but the low tide of this cove and the rocks in the water made it harder to enjoy a swim.
Sean and Kyle joined us the day after we arrived. They were accompanied by Yasmin from Toronto and two British travellers, Rachel and Jason, they had met on the over night boat. One of our funny moments, which proves how small these islands are was when Jason first arrived and saw Max’s flip flops, explaining that someone had nicked them at a restaurant in Koh Tao two days earlier (same restaurant Max had casually walked away from with a new pair of flip flops!).
Phi Phi is one of the more expensive islands and even though it is portrayed as a party island it is a beautiful place where families can relax and enjoy the beauty on the other side closer to Long Beach. Unlike Koh Tao you cannot drive scooters around but everything is walking distance and pedestrianised. We ate most of the time at a street stall near the beach which served good cheap food, the staff were all very friendly and the service was quick. Paddy’s restaurant is another restaurant I like which I had dined at various times during my last visit months before and their Thai food is quite nice, however the rest of the group ordered western food which they were disappointed with so we ate at Cosmic a few times due to their half price cocktails and their cheap Pizza!
Flooded streets after the heavy rain
Sean and Rachel get tattoos!
I loved coming back to this place and experience it in a different way this time, still having the great bar/clubs, Slinkys and 4Play (previously known as Woody’s). The night would start with fire acts at 8pm followed by limbo and the skipping rope. The island is full of young tourists with bandages on their legs and arms and you can’t help but wonder whether it’s from scooter accidents in Koh Tao, drunkenly ‘playing with fire’ or balancing on top of the long wooden poles outside slinkys and 4Play. Not all travellers follow the craze and some do still think when they’re drunk, however, I noticed this time round the skipping rope was not as popular and the limbo at 4Play did not involve fire so perhaps they’re trying to lower the number of casualties? On this island it’s a party every night and the Friday before Sean and Kyle left it was Max’s birthday. We began our night at Banana bar, a chilled roof top bar, and played beer pong with buckets, moving on to the beach bars where the music continues until 2:30-3am.
SNORKELLING HALF DAY TOUR:
Even though food and accommodation are relatively more expensive here day trips are quite reasonable. We paid 400baht for a 2-7pm tour on a long tail boat which started us off at Monkey Island. Even though we are used to macaques back at home it doesn't stop us getting excited about the native monkeys here which climb down the steep rock sides to steal drinks and food from tourists when they see the boats birth at shore. The stop here is fairly quick but you get enough time to take photos and just watch them 'monkeying' around. Our tour didn't have a guide so Yasmin (having also done this trip before like myself) acted as a guide, telling the rest of the group about Viking Cave and the fact that there are still about 7 locals that reside in this cave who climb insanely tall bamboo scaffoldings to collect birds eggs. Snorkelling at Leh Pileh Bay was not that different to Koh Tao and we saw similar fish here. The highlight of the trip was Maya Bay, regardless of it being so touristic it is still a divine place with crystal clear water and a white sandy beach, with a row of long tail boats birthed at shore (I always find long tail boats with their bright coloured ribbons so pretty). It was picture perfect.
We walked through the mountainous rocks where “The Beach” was filmed, luckily there were not that many tourists at the time we went which was a bonus as you can appreciate it’s natural beauty much more
After watching the sunset sat on the boat we waited until dark to see the plankton. Max swam next to the boat and we could see the tiny blue illuminated plankton swim around him.
MAX’S BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS:
After the night we had had we were in no rush to get up so we woke up in time to have lunch and trek up the endless steps and hill to the view point in the sweltering heat. We dripped as much as that time at Mango Bay but the view of both sides of the island with the middle stretch connecting both mountains was worth the climb. It had been 10 years since the tsunami hit Phi Phi and from up there we could visualise the dramatic event!
Following this, we walked to Long Beach just in time for shark feeding time. On my previous visit we had randomly gone snorkelling at the end of Long Beach out by some rocks where the water didn’t even reach your waist and had seen a few shark sitings so as Max was so adamant to see one we made it happen :) we snorkelled around the area for only about 15 minutes before max spotted a small shark ahead of us. I was lucky enough to see a second shark further on but they swim so fast that we only saw them for a short time.
After about an hour the sun began to set so we headed back. The tide had gone down a fair amount by this time so we were able to walk part of it on the beach, passing locals playing football where it had previously been water.
We set off to Koh Lanta on the Sunday around 11am having purchased our boat tickets from a Koh Lanta Trips/bookshop at a cheaper price than the port after haggling.