Cause baby you're a firework....

Trip Start Dec 21, 2010
Trip End Feb 05, 2011

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Where I stayed
Sand Sea View Resort

Flag of Thailand  ,
Thursday, December 30, 2010

We were up at the crack of dawn on the 30 Dec 2010 (6am to be exact) to make our way to the west of Thailand - our first stop, Ko Phi Phi. The journey was a long one: taxi (female driver with pumping tunes!), ferry to Ko Samui, taxi from ferry port to the airport (fat man but again with pumping tunes!), Bangkok Airways flight to Krabi (small propeller plane), taxi from airport to pier (with a driver who fell in love with Luke's pale skin and hairy arms - "real man with hair, i like" - haha! And was obsessed with getting us to go to Ko Jum...he was a little 'eccentric') and ferry to Phi Phi... finally! 

It was a lonnnng day and arriving in Phi Phi surprised me, shocked me, overwhelmed me. I was here in 2006, exactly 2 years after the Tsunami and I fell in love with a recovering community blessed with beautiful natural surroundings. Turning right out of the pier and then first left, I stayed at Charlie's (I'm sure you'll know it if you've been here) with my gals, Giada and Nicole, and that's pretty much where Phi Phi ended, there was not much after Charlie's. Going back in 2008 with Luke, a shopping centre had started to be built just inland from Charlies (was an eye-sore) and now going back for the third time, the shopping centre has been developed into a massive block of flats and Phi Phi has at least doubled in size beyond Charlie's. There are now more shops, bars, restaurants, buckets, drunk Brits, drunk South Africans, drunk Aussies... and the locals, well, I couldn't quite tell. Would you like the spoilt nations intruding your home and uprooting your lifestyle? But bringing you a better income but at the same time destroying your land? You'll be able to give your children a better education than you had (if any) but there'll be no more ffish and coral reefs for them to see? You'll be able to buy them all the toys and food they want but they'll grow up knowing all the words to 'sex on the beach' and other cheesy pop songs and thinking whiskey buckets and Thai boxing is what life is all about. And no matter what the type, business makes one harder; bartering, sly tricks, it makes you lose the innocence that made you once so attractive but you're now more knowledgeable about the big world. Three square kilometres of perfect beauty: I hope and pray it's looked after the way it should be. I'm scared to return so think this will be my last trip here - I want to keep the memories as good as they should be.

I was impressed that straight off the boat they're now charging 20 baht per person to maintain the island - I hope the money goes to what they say. And the fun and games started there: PhiPhi, with all it's extra, newly built accommodation, was full!! Full, full, full! We had been warned when we landed in Krabi it was very busy but you can never trust the travel agents and touts as half the time they're talking the talk. Ok, arriving on the 30th, the day before NYE without booking might not have been the cleverest idea but still - every place full?! I'm shocked! How is the island going to function with that amount of people: the waste, the sewage, the water, the recycling, ohhh it scares me... Anyway, after letting Dani and Justin experience the real back-packing feeling of being homeless and helpless, we managed to run between touts in the stinking heat and find a place to stay for 2500 baht - what a rip off! Most places included a NYE gala dinner for about 2000 baht - crazy! We managed to secure a first night at Putchachot Resort (spelling?) which was a few blocks beyond Charlie's, then beyond the water irrigation field and even further after that in the middle of nowhere amongst the locals - definitely not worth what we paid but we were desperate!

We did become very friendly with the travel agent lady (out the pier, second block, first shop on the right corner) - she found us our places to stay, helped us with all our questions, booked our ferrys to Phuket etc. My best part about travelling is making friends with the locals and just sitting chatting to them for ages, really eye-opening. We were up early the next day to look for accommodation for the next 2 nights as we only managed to secure one night the day before. Luke headed back to our chatty travel agent and sat there for about 2 hours. I walked the beach asking every place if they had space but it was just "sorry, full"! Eventually we got offered PP Sand Sea View Resort which is first left out the pier all the way along that beach (never been along there before) past the hospital - maybe a 10 min walk but nice and quiet, and clean clean clean. A very cute little place with a lot of character right on the beach, just how Phi Phi should be, highly recommended.

New Year's Eve
After finally securing our accommodation for the next 2 nights we headed to the main beach for a long overdue and overpriced lunch, much like the rest of Phi Phi which is overly touristed now. We ate at the Twin Palms restaurant which is where Prawn and LongLegs stayed- adorable bamboo huts but club-volume music played right there (Apache bar) until the early hours but didn't really bother the kids. Spent the afternoon on the beach but not really managing to swim as the tide was so low you could walk out nearly 200m without the water getting deeper than your knees, not ideal for cooling off. Again the beach was just rammed full of South Africans, at first we were like oh a South African and by the end we were like oooh that person isn't South African as literally every second person was! Obviously Thailand is heavily advertised in all SA Flight Centres!

Anywho, for New Year's dinner we found a tit little restaurant which did Thai pizzas, so while it's kinda western, we felt justified! We tried the Massaman pizza and Green curry pizza, not to bad really. The waiter then had a tantrum when we asked him to return our change which would have been a 30% tip...? Something was definitely lost in translation there! Dan and Luke wrote a poem for the wall of recommendations in the restaurant so be sure to look out for ours if you ever go there :) Think it was called D.M.C's.

The beaches were rammed full of bucket-drinking loonies so we just grabbed a few beers from Palm minimart (Giada & Nicole, you wouldn't recognise it- lots more lights, shops and roads all around it, see pics below, crazy!) and watched all the fire dancers and fireworks, fairly chilled because one huge party on Ko Phangan was plenty thank you very much! There is absolutely no health and safety here as Apache bar set up about 3 huge boxes of fireworks in and amongst the people on the beach and come midnight, they just started going off for a good 10/ 15 mins- MAD!! We were a little further away but not more than 5 metres and were getting hit by all sorts of shrapnel. Luckily Justin found some girls to cower behind....true story!
We headed to bed but the kids stayed and partied on the beach and were also treated to a live sex show opposite their hut, albeit unintentionally by the participants but they really should have closed their curtains...

Ah, new year's day was beautiful and clear! We woke up and just flopped on our local beach which was much quieter than the one from the night before. We were served lunch in our deck chairs (fruit platter and some fried shrimp with basil leaves and veg) and did nothing much really, the way NYs day should be! The kids went off on a day tour to all the nearby islands (Maya bay etc) which we did when we were here 2 years ago and it was the highlight of their trip! Justin chatted for ages to the long-tail driver about the Tsunami as he lost his brother but he survived, very touching.

Late afternoon I found a game of football that the villagers play everyday on a slightly uneven grass pitch and managed to catch a game. Basically 8 a side, 7 minutes, 4 teams and first goals wins, winner stays on. Our team drew the first couple and then managed to get a 4 game winning streak before we lost and by that stage it was getting dark so it was all over, definitely a highlight of my trip so far even though I had to borrow some of Jacqui's running shorts which looked like hot pants!

And Seb if you're reading this, yes I scored one so get Adam to add one to my mediocre tally on the golden boot please.

Jacqui went for a sunset jog around the island, just like a lot of the locals, and investigated all the nooks and crannies of the various resorts and generally being nosy :)

That night we went in search of the self proclaimed 'World Famous pad thai' restaurant which was a tiny little place with only 3 tables which were unfortunately all full. We looked for somewhere else more local as most places in the centre of town of are chavvy sports bars and western restaurants. Not to mention the 100's of people handing out pamphlets, it's like being back in JHB, especially as most of them were also Souf Efrican! WHAT'S GOING ON????

We settled at Tom Yam restaurant which finally for the girls understood what 'no spicy' meant :) Dani had the perfect hotness Green Curry! i.e no hotness.

After that it was all about doing some shopping, mainly pearls for Queen Jacqui and the kids were buying presents for the family. Managed to get a sneaky nutella and banana crepe before dragging our weary bodies home for some sleep before another earliest ferry to Phuket tomorrow. Have mixed emotions about heading to Phuket but being open-minded about it...
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mum on

That was such fun must read more of your blogs particularly like your footie pictures Luke. Are you really that white?! Have the kids left now and have you got to Philipines? Did Queen Jaqui have lots of success buying up the local pearls - go Jacqui! Tennent in No 16 interested in buying what do you think? He suggested 65000 and we said min imum 75 so will get it valued.

Enjoy the res of the trip Luv mumxxxxxx

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