Our first real island!

Trip Start Apr 30, 2011
Trip End Dec 08, 2011

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Where I stayed
Ivory Hotel

Flag of Thailand  ,
Monday, October 24, 2011

We were picked up from our hotel in Patong, and driven to Phuket town in a minibus, where we could catch our ferry over to Phi Phi island. We were pleased to finally be leaving Phuket!

Before being allowed on the ferry, we were asked if we had our accommodation booked over on Phi Phi. We did, so were promptly let on board. This questioning about your accommodation is standard practice over here when you're hopping from island to island. You might think whoever is asking you is just being concerned and might recommend you somewhere. But they are reps who work in conjunction with the ferries/minibuses, and get commission if they convince you to stay at one of their recommended hotels. Sounds ok so far, but in reality most of them are a big con. Once they find out you have no accommodation booked, you are not left alone on your journey. They try to scare you by saying all rooms are gone in said island, and the only ones they available are theirs(!) They show you pictures that are far from the truth, and want paying in cash before you reach your destination. Once you arrive on the island and your accommodation, you realise that you've agreed to stay at an absolute hovel, paid over the odds for it, and the guy that sold you the room is nowhere to be found! For this reason, we make sure we always have something booked, or at least tell them we do! 

A couple of hours later, we made it to Phi Phi. We were a little surprised to find we had to pay 20 baht each before we were allowed onto the island. It claimed it was for Phi Phi's 'maintenance' and keeping it clean. However, during our 6 day stay here, we saw no sign of this money being used to keep Phi Phi clean. The beaches were very dirty, lots of glass and rubbish. And there weren't even any bins around! This money was clearly getting into the wrong hands and was just another way to rip off tourists. Something they are experts at here!

We walked to our hotel which was only about 5 minutes away from the pier. It was in the centre of Phi Phi, and was right on the edge of a big food market. There are no roads on Phi Phi, so it really does have a great island feel. 

As we have some time to waste before our flight to Kuala Lumpur, we have plenty of time on our next few islands. We had 6 nights in all on Phi Phi. To be honest, it was a little too long, as the weather wasn't very good to us! But it meant we had lots of opportunity to explore the island. We spent the days with the best weather relaxing on the beach and snorkelling (we bought snorkels back in Phuket.) We also walked up to the viewpoint ( really steep and an absolute killer!) but we were rewarded with a great view of the island and took lots of pictures. 

Phi Phi turns into a big party island come sun down, and the main beach becomes filled with lots of bars, neon lights and pumping music. We spent one night down here drinking cocktails and watching the fire eaters and dancers. Although it didn't seem to really get busy until midnight, and that's when us oldies left and went back to the hotel!

There are lots of island and snorkel tours to do whilst on Phi Phi, so we booked one for our final day. We paid 600 baht each (about 12.50). We left at 10:00 on a fairly big boat, and set off for various points and islands near Phi Phi. Our first stop was a place called Monkey Beach, just a 5 minute boat ride from the pier, and still on Phi Phi. Because our boat was quite big, we all had to jump into the water and snorkel across to see the monkeys, as the boat couldn't get very near to the shore. Our second stop was Bamboo Island a further one hours boat ride away. It's meant to be very beautiful here, but the weather had taken a turn for the worse, and a big storm had set in. Everyone jumped in the water to snorkel across to the island, but it was very rough and not a fun experience. The fish were also nowhere to be found! We then went past Mosquito Island, but no snorkelling here. It was chucking it down by now, and everyone seemed pretty fed up, especially as we couldn't even really avoid the rain on the boat! It was an hours ride back towards Phi Phi whilst we ate lunch, but then we headed to its sister island Phi Phi Ley. This is where Maya Bay is, where they filmed the famous Leonardo Dicaprio film 'The Beach'. Before we reached here, the weather seemed to have improved somewhat, but soon enough, we were stuck in the heaviest downpour we've ever seen! As we were already soaked through and couldn't get any wetter, some of us jumped into a smaller longtail boat that would take us into Maya Bay. It was beautiful here, and the rain actually stopped when we jumped out. We finally had an hour or so of some brilliant snorkelling, and saw loads of fish. There was also lots of coral (sadly most of it dead), and the sea had calmed down. A quick stop and snorkel at shark point (no sharks to be found), and at sun down, we headed back to Phi Phi. It would have been a great day under normal circumstances, but sadly an island and snorkelling tour isn't the same when it's a very stormy day! Luckily the day ended better than it had started, but we were pleased to be getting off the boat back in Phi Phi and drying off back at the hotel!

 We left the next morning on a (packed!) boat to Koh Lanta, about 1 1/2 hours away from Phi Phi.  
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sam lax on

yeah still fairrrrrlly jealous you're still out there!!

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