Phi Phi - Best Snorkelling Ever
Trip Start Jan 09, 2012
68Trip End Jul 31, 2012
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The boat, a large yacht, left on time at 08.30 and took two hours to get to the main island of Koh Phi Phi Don. As we approached the island, we were able to look back and see dolphins jumping in our wake.
Getting off the boat and walking down the pier, we were charged 20 baht each to enter. Something about 'fee of the parking clean on Phi Phi Island' according to the ticket we were given in return for our money. It seems to be just another way of getting some cash towards the rebuilding of the island following the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004 in which 2000 people died on this island alone. You can’t blame them really. Having said that, there was little remaining evidence of the catastrophe as you walked around the village, particularly when you see photos of the same village taken immediately after the wave stuck. Reconstruction has been swift.
At the end of the pier there were several agents each with all the different accommodations listed along with photos and prices. We selected one from the list which seemed to be at the cheaper end of the scale at only 1000 baht per night, still double the highest we’d paid anywhere else. With hindsight, we should have just used this area as a basis to go on then go off and explore ourselves as there turned out to be several cheaper options that weren’t listed there.
A man with a cart took our bags for us and wheeled them across the village to Sunset Pavilion as we followed him on foot. On seeing our bungalow, it was clear straight away how thin the walls were. It was a pretty enough construction, made entirely out of bamboo, and it had a nice location overlooking the bay some distance from the main part of town. We only hoped that it would stay that quiet at night, although our departing Canadian neighbours didn’t give us much hope as they shouted at a member of staff then moaned to Pete about the motor that had started at five in the morning.
We had a bit of a rest on our mattress on the floor before heading off to explore the village. During our exploration we booked a snorkel tour for the next morning with The Adventure Club. It was more expensive and shorter than some of the other tours, but they set off earlier to avoid the crowds, something we had hated on Koh Tao, and they had a maximum group size of six, so the 800 baht each would hopefully be worth it. We then sat on the beach with a fruit shake before returning to our bungalow for an hour or so until sundown. It was during this time that we realised the sheer size of the mosquitos on this island. They were huge and prolific in number.
Turns out it stops at three in the morning. And we could hear every beat of it, even with ear plugs in. Less annoying and more of an amusement were the cicadas that started loudly at five in the morning. Cleary the ‘motor’ experienced by our retarded Canadian friends!
Something else that made the night a memorable one was when Pete woke up and found that he had been sleeping against the mosquito net. This meant the mosquitos could land on the net and bite through it (and, in fact, through the sleeping bag liner as well). Consequently, he discovered no less than twelve bites on a single bum cheek the following morning! In turn, this meant that everywhere he went from then on he was surreptitiously (or not so surreptitiously) scratching his bum.
We then returned to the water for one last snorkel, this time over more colourful coral and equally colourful fishes before returning back to the main island. It was definitely the best snorkel tour we had ever done and our tour guide was great and very knowledgeable. It made a change to have a proper guide rather than just to be dropped off en masse in the water and left to fend for ourselves. We would most definitely recommend The Adventure Club to anyone visiting Phi Phi.
Having lunch on the way back to our bungalow we then napped away the afternoon, trying to make up for the previous night. We had also both caught the sun during the morning, and Pete in particular was very dehydrated. We also spent some time in the afternoon evaluating our travel plans and decided that we should now begin to head down to Malaysia. With this in mind, when we went back in to the village we booked a ferry-minibus combo to take us to Trang on Wednesday. The first quote was 750 baht, but we eventually found somewhere that would do it for 500 baht. Anyone visiting Phi Phi should definitely shop around for travel arrangements, despite the guide books saying they are standard prices.
This morning, after another poor night’s sleep due to the loud music we woke up and went for breakfast before frittering another morning and early afternoon away, Pete still feeling very unwell due to dehydration. There was only one cure for this. A strenuous hike up a hill to the viewpoint overlooking the island! It took us about half an hour to get up to the top, 186m above sea level, but arriving at 15.30 the views were fantastic. Though they would have been absolutely spectacular had we made it up in the morning as the light would have been far more pleasing.
We decided to sit around at the top and wait for three hours for sunset which is raved about in all the guide books. Because of this hype, as the time approached numerous other people made the hike up to the top and it was pretty crowded by the time the sun finally went down. And in all honesty, it wasn’t a particularly great sunset.
We are now looking forward to a nice peaceful night, our last in Phi Phi. Somehow, based on the previous two nights, we don’t think that is going to happen! The island itself is very nice, if expensive, but staying on Phi Phi, or at least in the village area, should be saved for the party animals. There are some quieter sections which are equally as affordable, but sadly we didn’t venture that far. That said, the snorkel trip alone made up for any negativities we experienced and we have enjoyed our time, although we would have enjoyed it more were it not for Pete being ill for much of the time.