Tuesday, April 18, 2017

You're Not Cool Unless You Phi Phi in Your Plans

To The Phi Phi Islands.
Thailand is famous for their immaculate beaches and breathtaking islands and whatever island you end up staying on, you'd be remiss if you didn't explore the Phi Phi (pronounced "pee-pee") islands. There are a few options for exploration. If you have a group of 4 of more, I strongly urge you to rent a private boat for the day. You can join a popular large speed boat tour of four islands for 2000bht per person (around $58), or you can rent a private long-tailed boat like the one above for 2500bht total (around $73). Brains! 

The Four Island tour is a bit of a misnomer because one of the islands included on the tour is actually Krabi, where we were based. The 4 Islands include stops at: Pranang Cave, on the southern tip of Krabi, where we'd later kayak and paddleboard to; Tup Island; Chicken Island; and Poda Island.
This is on Chicken Island and during low tide there's an isthmus that connects this island to the ones behind us, which is Tup Island. We decided to pass on visiting Tup Island because it's extremely small and was already crowded with tourists. That said, we beat all those tourists to Chicken Island, so it was like having our own spot.

Complete with swing.

Walking along the isthmus during high tide. There are life guards near by that yell at tourists not to stray too far into the sea because the current is strong and can snatch you away quickly. If you look closely on the right, you can see buoys. On the other side of this island, there's some solid snorkeling.
The clear waters of Poda Island where we were ablt to chill for a moment. Soft white sand, warm ocean.
The clouds crept in and it was back to the long-tail.
The other side of Poda Island. My favorite spot out of all the Thai island beaches we visited. This was like a mini-Maya Bay from the movie "The Beach," which is just a little further down. It was completely secluded and no one else came out to this side. Our guide knew we wanted to go away from all the other tourists. Incredibly soft sand. Like walking on powder. Softer than Destin, FL. 
Using a rope to climb to another vantage point.

Which looked like this. The weather was still overcast, but when you're looking at a view like this, who gives a ___! This was our last stop on the tour and we got back to Krabi around 430p.
Couple days later, we rented a private speed boat to take us to Ko Phi Phi, snorkel gear included. The total was $12,000bht, which comes out to $350 (divided by 5 of us, for the entire day!). If you saw this speed boat, in the states that would easily go over $1000 per hour. I don't know that for fact, but it seemed that way. If you go to Ko Phi Phi from Krabi, you'll want a speed boat. The long-tail boats will only travel that distance if the conditions cooperate - and it's a long, choppy ride even in a speed boat, so I can't imagine doing it in a long-tail.
The famous Maya Bay. Leonardo DiCaprio's sanctuary in "The Beach." It is spectacularly beautiful, but overpacked with tourists. It's one of those spots that you feel obligated to visit to say you were there, but it's really not that enjoyable. I feel totally snobby to say that and am happy that we went, but we stayed for less than 30-minutes. The beach was absolutely packed, which this photo isn't actually indicative of. On the far right, you could hardly find a spot to lie on the beach. That said, the water was warm and green and the sand was wonderfully soft.

Still pretty damn gorgeous, though.

A festive long-tail.
After bailing on Maya Bay, we went to a lagoon area to swim. Reminded me of spring break at Lake Havasu but instead of houseboats anchored next to each other, it's long-tail and speed boats. The lagoon is deep here.

Our next stop was Monkey Beach, which actually features an incredible spot for snorkeling. You'll see a lot of the Willem Dafoe fish from 'Nemo,' some rainbow fish, puffer fishes. Interesting that most of my knowledge of sea life only comes from a Disney-Pixar movie. Also some impressive underwater rock and shell formations that make you feel like you're scuba diving when you're just snorkeling. GoPro had taken an unfortunate unrelated dive at this point, so no footage.
Dude was parched.
You could've shared with these little babies, at least!

This dude scared the hell out of me. He was legit ready to pounce and beat the shit out of me. So I obviously had to take a pic before getting my face ripped off.
Next stop: Ko Phi Phi Don. This island is the biggest of the Phi Phi Islands and there's a huge marketplace. We were came here for lunch and ended up haggling at a store and getting another GoPro for around $430 US, which is not a great deal, but when you're a video fiend and need a video-shooting apparatus, what else can you do?
Forgot the name of this restaurant, BHM or something. It was delicious as we raided the entire menu as usual - noodle soup, green curry, glass noodle, mango rice, etc.

Our last island, the name of which escapes me, had some rocks to climb around. It was overcast and drizzling so we didn't stick around for too long. The ride back was choppy as hell and left some feeling less than ideal.
If my "The Beach" memories are correct, this is the view Leo saw when he decided to swim for their secret beach (which would be Maya Bay, which is not what you're looking at). I haven't seen the movie in over a decade and didn't really care, so if that's not true, oh well. Fake news rules these days.

Next: Chiang Mai


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