Snorkeling, Monkeys and Fire!

Trip Start May 28, 2012
Trip End Oct 24, 2012

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Flag of Thailand  ,
Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Upon arriving on Phi Phi we were welcomed with a light shower which had passed by the time we had found our bags underneath the 30 thousand other bags and hoped off. Walking down the jetty, we were surprised that this place had even clearer bluer water - the type you only ever see in the movies - and clear enough to see a few hundred fish swimming around at quite a depth. We found a dude holding a sign with our hotel name on it and loaded our bags onto the trolley he had where we then followed him for 10 minutes mazing through the small town dodging locals on pushbikes, other dudes pushing these trolleys and tanned tourists. The paths are small - too small to even fit a car down one - and are laced each side by bars, diving companies, the normal stall selling bikinis/postcards/junk and food. Ko Phi Phi was hit pretty hard in the 2004 tsunami so everything was pretty stall-like, not too much looked permanent but there were definitely establishments that had claimed their space and the rest was built around them.

We arrived at the base of the hill and all our bags were piled into a very small truck. (We must have been on the boundary of where motorised vehicles were allowed because there was a long line of scooters and push bikes which we would later realise people would swap their bikes out - push bikes from the bottom onwards and motorised to get them up). I hoped in the front and Jason was on the back with about eight other people and everyone's massive packs. Well. It took us three attempts to get up the hill, always stalling at the very last part and then having to back carefully down this fairly steep bank. On the third go, two people hopped off and we finally made it round the bend. The truck the other two got onto backed up the hill behind us. Sketchy. We checked in but couldn't properly check in and go to our room until two so we sat in their restaurant, ate their shit food - which must have been the point and waited the three hours. Great time for blog writing. When we were finally shown our room it was up the tippy top of the hill in which we had to climb 88 super steep uneven, slanted, cracked concrete steps to get to. It was such a mission and hurt just as much going down as it did going up as some of the steps were the equivalent of three normal steps. Luckily, they had installed a gondola type pully thing which we could place our bags into so we didn't have to carry them up. Wasn't ideal (especially when you forgot something and didn't realise until you got to the bottom) but the place was one of the cheapest on the island that wasn't a complete dive. The only other downside was that being on the hill meant we could hear the music carry from the bars on the beach until the early morning. But it wasn't too bad and we didn't have much trouble sleeping because of it.

On Phi Phi the main activities appeared to be a) drinking, b) partying, c) sitting on the beach, d) diving, e) snorkeling and f) getting a tattoo. Every place we turned (literally) there would be a new tattoo parlor. For the size of the island there were some crazy amounts of tattooists. One stretch of path I think I counted six. Now I quite would fancy a little ink, but they were doing it traditional hammer and chisel style and I didn't really want to deal with the pain and everything at this time. Anyway, Phi Phi has a bit of a reputation as a party island and the large numbers of bars in the town and especially on the beach meant it lived up to its billing. When you went out at night there would be large numbers of makeshift tables set up selling "full moon" buckets. These are the large vessels (small buckets) with copious amounts of alcohol with your choice of mixer and stimulant (red bull and other local energy drinks). These sold for $8 - $15 depending on the spirit, so were naturally the beverage of choice for the masses of sunburnt 20 year olds around. Wasn't really our scene, but the fire shows on the party beach each night were pretty spectacular. There were about 5 bars that all did the same sort of show with fire being attached to various implements and spun about and thrown all over the place - including an on fire skipping rope. The show we went to ended with a dude spinning fire on a tight rope a couple of metres in the air. Jamie took some sweet photos with the camera that she is becoming very knowledgeable about.

On the third day we booked another snorkeling trip as it, as well as diving, seemed to be the thing to do. So along we went for the trip that was booked by our lady man friend. First stop was the breakfast which consisted of rice and curry - which was OK, and some very dodgy looking sausages which looked 20 times worse than raw sizzlers. Imagine the sausages that come with the Watties baked beans, without the sauce, and you'd be half way there. RANK. Then we and about 20 other people were loaded into a long boat and were on our way. First stop off was Monkey Island where there were guessed it...Monkeys! They were pretty chill but they get hundreds of visitors each day so they seemed to be pretty used to people. They were climbing over a few people and their bags, looking for food but we didn't risk going too close because a lot of people were getting pretty scratched up and rabies. We have also heard along our travels a few stories of people getting bitten. But they were all very cool and the babies were cute and all of them were rather mischievous. One climbed a small way up the cliff and threw a glass bottle down to us which smashed on the surrounding rocks! There was also a fairly large boat just off the shore which was the Asian boat. This was clear because It had about 200 too many people on board - all of which were wearing life jackets. It was just packed crazy full and this was even with half of them in the water. I was so glad I was not on that boat. There was nowhere to move.

Next stop was a reef just off the shore where there was sometimes sightings of sharks, but we didn't see any. Super clear water though, with some cool fish. The next few stops were fairly the same where we saw everything from Nemos to sea urchins. We stopped on an island for lunch and by this stage some big black clouds had brewed and it started to rain mid-way through our supplied lunch of chicken and rice. I was sharfted and was given two small bits of bite sized chicken and a whole container of plain rice. Then we saw some more fish. Back on our way we had to cross a pretty large body of water and by this stage a full on storm was on its way. The water was pretty choppy and we got sprayed the whole time which made us pretty cold. A few people on our boat started freaking out and screaming every time we hit a wave which was just amazing to have to listen to. The last part of the stops it rained the whole time. I was pretty gutted because it was so pretty. Just really unfortunate because the two last places were the best stops, they would have be stunning in the right weather.

At the last stop there was a small cave and then you had to treck a bit into the island to see a hidden beach or something. Most people weren't keen seeing as it was raining and everyone was pretty cold and miserable. The driver said we could go back if everyone wanted to but about five people jumped off and went to see what was there. We ended up staying there for about an hour and a half in which time the full on storm hit and it was torrential piss down time. Full on lightening and heavy booming thunder right above our heads. Everything in the boat was drenched and I ended up getting off the boat into the water as it was colder to stay out. The sea was a few degrees warmer by far. Finally when the people decided to fall back over the side of the boat we all were ready to just get out of there but then the motor on our boat failed and would not go. Perfect. The driver spent the next half an hour fixing it in the piss down while we sat like sardines under my drenched sarong. Sitting there and the trip back to the island was the coldest I've been since we've left NZ. The worst of it was, we knew all we had to go back to was our cold shower. Nevertheless, we quickly warmed up by climbing our 88 steps and the cold shower was welcomed.

The next day we wandered into town and took up a sweet little possy in an English bar to watch the All Blacks! Jason had gone looking for somewhere that was playing it a few days before and had asked the main sports bar only to get a blank look back - they had no idea what he was talking about. As we walked past that bar on the way to our English one, they were playing the last week’s game replay just without the knowledge about the game or what it was even called. Anyway, All Blacks smashed it which was awesome especially because the bar had also attracted a few Aussies along the way. Poor guys. That night we watch the fire show and then went into a bar to watch some good old Thai boxing. It was brutal but pretty exciting. After the official fight some skinhead loser jumped into the ring and was trying to start a fight with anyone he could. He was so amped up and agro, swearing and being a complete idiot like he was on P or something. You could tell he spent a few hours in the gym each day as he was pretty cut. Finally some Thai guy (I think the one who had just finished his professional fight) agreed to fight him. The dude kept trying to have the fight with no gloves and it became obvious he did boxing with the sort of moves he was pulling. At first the Thai dude took it easy on the lunatic but then the crazy started doing a few illegal moves with his knee and everyone was going nuts. A full on bar brawl nearly broke out. The Thai guy then started doing the moves and kicks properly and massive red marks and welts appeared on the white guy's back and legs! The whole bar was cheering for Thai guy, including the bar staff. It was awesome. Skinhead lost, we got a few BBQ chicken skewers to munch on and then we went home.

The next morning at 9:00am, we caught the ferry to Phuket and hoped everything would go as planned as we then had to get straight to the airport to catch our flight to Malaysia at 1.35pm. The ferry was meant to dock at 10:30am and the car ride to the airport was about an hour leaving us exactly two hours which Air Asia recommends for international flights. Well you can guess what happened right...?  
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Toni W on

Cute to monkey island and funny story about the skin head. Pics are so good! Def William with the fire!!!

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