Spending the night camping on " The Beach"

Trip Start Jan 25, 2011
Trip End Feb 21, 2011

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maya beach camping

Flag of Thailand  ,
Saturday, February 5, 2011

This was one of those days that dreams are made of. I'm sure a lot of you have either read or seen the famous book written by Alex Garland  turned Hollywood Movie titled " The Beach", its the classic tale of traveler in search of a place that is only rumored to exist, an island so perfect, that once you discover its beauty and tranquility that you will never want to leave. well, then the traveler, Leo DiCaprio in the movie, finds that such paradise comes with its price, in which he almost loses his sanity,so that leaves a lot to be pondered about such perfection.
But on my excursion to this island known as Ko Phi Phi Le, I was going on a overnight camping trip, with only 40 people, and we were all going to spend the evening, all by ourselves, long after the hordes of tourists and boats crowded the beach from daylight to dawn , we were all going to spend the night camping under the stars, sleeping on that very beach.
I had only heard about this unique experience after I started my trip to Thailand. I was so excited that not only that I had the opportunity to spend time on this island with just a small group of people , but to be able to spend the night , was beyond exciting.
So 40 of us, mostly young people, all met at a spot in town, on the island of Ko Phi Phi, where I'm staying and will share more about this beautiful , yet extremely popular island later, and signed the registry and were given a coupon for a "free bucket" for later on the island. This should of been a tiny red flag for me, but hey, I was spending the night on " The Beach"
The main part of the movie was filmed on this island, it catapulted this place off the map, its been its good fortune and its demise, depending on how you look at it. Its brought in more tourists than it's little island can handle, and when you go to find paradise, the last thing you want is to find that you're sharing it with hundreds of other people.
we arrived just at dusk, all the day boats were leaving, and the tide was low, so our ferry boat could only go so far, so long tail boats came to transfer us, and when they could only go so far as well ,  so we had to wade in the water the rest of the way.
Everything was to be provided, dinner, sleeping bags ( no tents!) how are you to see all those stars if you're not sleeping right under them?  breakfast the next morning, and basically  we were on our own.
the only thing we were told to bring is a change of clothes, mosquito repellent, suntan lotion, our bathing suits, flashlight, and money for beer and more buckets... ( more on that later)
wading thru the water to the sand was an exciting way to arrive, very pirate style!
the beach is just like you see in the movie, perfect white sand , deep turquoise water meeting its shore and tall limestone cliffs surrounding its bay protecting it from the rest of the world. it truly was paradise.
The bathrooms were a small path away thru the jungle, we were all called into a group, given the rules  on being respectful and not to litter ( love that part) and the time for meals,  and don't sleep too close to the water since the tide will rise during the night and you'll find yourself in a wet sleeping bag. and that the bar is open ( more on that later)
I met the sweetest girl from Germany, and we hung out most of the night since it was mostly couples, of course! That place was beyond romantic.
Dinner was a wonderful meal of chicken curry and rice, complete with the soundtrack of " The Beach" sounds cheesy, but I'm telling you . it fit perfect. Dinner was followed by some Neil Young, and Sunset, and the night seemed perfect as the sky filled with stars.
Okay so now is the later. They had a bar, just set up for us, and they were serving beers, but also these very popular " buckets" of juice and alcohol, cheap Thai whiskey alcohol at that,very popular in Thailand,  and the young crowd was gong crazy for them. The music got louder, the night got later, and not being the drinker myself, I gathered up my sleeping gear and headed down the beach to get away from the music and enjoy my special quiet night on the beach.
Ahhh, quiet, that wasn't going to happen. On a island, a small island at that, music and sound carries...there was no hiding from it. Okay, so paradise does come with a price. I think maybe it was just the crowd that night, Ive heard that other times, an older crowd as myself , lol, you'd get a little more Neil Young, and a little less Jay Z.
the night though, was perfect, the sky had not a cloud, and it was filled with bright shining stars. The air was warm and there was a nice breeze, and not a one mosquito bothered me.
finally falling asleep, and waking to sunrise in the sand, was worth every thumping beat of the night. I was up early feeling great, while most others had to be woken by the Thai hosts so they could make our boat back. a few ' losing it" over the side of the boat recovering from their cheap whiskey buckets from the night before. ha, ha.
as we left the shore, the day trippers arrived, looking a little bewildered on how we were all there before them. It was a night i will never forget, now if I can only figure a way to get rid of those others 39 people next time.

Cost for today...

Breakfast..Free! included in room

Lunch Pad Thai noodles and Banana shake in town- $3

Slurge- Overnight camping on Phi Phi Le- $65 (sent by Paypal, thanks sara!)

Total- $68
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Johanna Foote on

My view out my window this morning, snow!!! Keep posting the pic of paradise.

Terry on

Beth...I cannot wait to hear about the next leg of your travels!

Sarah on

Mom - So cool you got to do this overnight trip! I am sorry there was so much noise! But at least you got to wake up to that beautiful sunrise! I have been some pretty cool places but never have I thought of being able to sleep on the beach. So awesome! And yay...no hangover for you! Did you go snorkeling?

maureen on

The camp trip is my favorite entry I think. "Course i love them all but the sleeping under the stars just sounds so wonderfully adventurous and the waters WOW! You were born to be an island hopper Elizabeth

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