Paradise, but at a price....

Trip Start Sep 05, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Friday, January 6, 2006

The bus ride was a dream come true and I actually managed to sleep like a baby! Hardly woke at all, apart from when the guy behind kept chatting on his phone! Bus pulled into Surat Thani at 6am and we were forced to sit around for 2 hours before getting transferred to the bus to Krabi. Not that I minded really as I got chatting to a sound Aussie couple and spent this time happily recalling stories of our experiences in China and India. India sounds so hard and disgusting that I really want to go! Maybe next time..

The bus to Krabi flew by in only 2 hours and I slept the whole way. Expected to sit around for 2-3 hours again but we were rushed straight into a tuk-tuk and were on the sea within minutes, and it was boiling hot.

The second the doors on the boat were opened everyone made a mad dash to get on top and sunbathe for the 1.5 hour crossing. Baked myself for the whole journey and soon arrived at Ton Sai beach in Phi Phi. I had absolutely no clue about Phi Phi except that it was expensive. Everywhere seemed packed or far too much but I eventually found somewhere away from the main strip, wanted to get away, on a separate beach only reachable by longboat. It was a superb beach with crystal clear water, with rocks and schools of fish clearly visible just below the surface. The shack was a palace compared to my one on Pha Ngan and even had an en-suite! Downside, it cost 650 baht (10 quid) which is one hell of a splurge on my ever decreasing budget, but I had deserved it after the 28 hours it took to get there from Kanchanaburi!

Settled down to some late lunch over looking the azure blue and turquoise sea from above and watching the people snorkeling and thought, lets give that a try! Hired out a mask and flippers and ran to the beach. My resort was right at the end of Long Beach up the hill and you have to ascend a load of steps to get there. I was running down the stairs bare footed and in searing pain from the boiling hot steps that had been baked in the sun all morning. Straight in the sea to cool them off.

Fumbled around trying to get my flippers on and then learning how to walk before trying to figure out how to use the mask. First attempt at going under water was a complete failure and I inhaled a lung full of salty sea water through my nose. Realised there was a nose guard and I was sorted.

Can't say I like open water much but I had to try snorkeling once. Was an incredibly surreal experience swimming along, nicely burning my back in the process, with schools of multi coloured fish inches from your face. Still couldn't get the hang of breathing through and kept having to empty water from my mask. The flippers also seemed to be more of a hindrance than a help.

Headed to a little cluster of rocks quite far out from the shore and started to feel out of my depth. The waves were stronger and swimming was hard. One wave pushed me towards the rocks and I instinctively put my hands out to protect myself. Big mistake! Those rocks are razor sharp and my hands were cut to pieces with a stream of blood pouring out. I also felt my leg was cut but didn't look down and decided it was time to go back. 10 minutes of ferocious paddling later and I was back on shore with blood pouring from my right hand and a nice stream running down my leg. Took a shower and patched myself up before doing the more sensible thing and lying on the beach.

In the evening I took a boat to the main beach to meet up with Julia, who was here with a couple of friends from back home. Spent a while chatting before heading to some bar, Reggae Bar I think, for some more drinks. There was a boxing ring in the bar and a couple of Muay Thai fights were performed. I say performed because I swear they were choreographed, WWF stylee, but it was still pretty violent and good fun. It was then the turn of anyone in the bar that wanted a scrap. The 2 fights I saw were hysterical as neither had any idea about proper boxing and just went charging at each other for a couple of very short rounds.

It was about half one so I figured I better head back if I was to get a boat and managed to get back to the luxury shack at 2am. 1 day in Phi Phi, early morning ferry to Krabi to look forward to...
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