Island Hopping

Trip Start Jan 03, 2012
Trip End May 02, 2013

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Where I stayed
Phi Phi Uphill Cottages

Flag of Thailand  , Krabi,
Sunday, January 15, 2012

Phuket was what our friends and Lonely Planet said it would be – white sand beaches and beautiful ocean views but very busy and touristy, even on the 'quieter' Kata beach.  Fortunately the place where we stayed was 100 metres up a hill from a side street so it was more removed from the action.  Although the bungalow accommodation was basic we had access to a peaceful outdoor sitting area, wi-fi and a pool.  We stayed for 2 nights before taking a ferry to Koh Phi Phi, a tiny island halfway between Phuket and Krabi, in search of spectacular scenery and a more laid-back vibe.

The town centre consisted of winding brick and dirt roads lined with shops / street stands on either side.  There was no room for cars – only pedestrians and bicycles.  When we got off the ferry we were met by a man sent by our hostel to meet us.  He placed our backpacks on a cart and wheeled it while we followed on foot.

Once settled in, we walked for 10 minutes to Loh Dalum beach, next to the town centre, to cool off in the ocean (it was 38 degrees!).  The beach was quite crowded and the water not as clean up close as the shimmering turquoise seen from a distance.

We rented two kayaks for two hours and paddled to Monkey beach about 15 minutes away.  We had read that the snorkelling was amazing on this island so were excited to try it.  It was a disappointment.  We saw a few fish but unfortunately much of the coral was dead, likely due to its proximity to the pollution generated by the town and boat traffic.  However, we did see several wild monkeys, including a baby.  Two of them in particular seemed quite taken with Sylvia’s red kayak!

We paddled to the opposite side of the bay to get a closer view of the limestone cliffs that this part of Thailand is famous for and they were impressive.  On our way back, still a long way from the beach, we encountered two men who had flipped their ocean kayak and were clearly having difficulty getting back in.  We have kayaked several times before but are not rescue experts so after offering a few suggestions that didn’t work, we paddled quickly back to shore to get help.  The rental company sent a long tail boat out to bring them in.  Thankfully both men were okay and grateful for our help.  Two lives saved!!!

Sylvia has always wanted to do more scuba diving since her first experience in Australia in 2003 and Jason, although initially a little reluctant, decided to partner with her through this dream.  We signed up for a 4-day open water certification course with the rationale that (a) there’s great diving here (b) it’ll be useful to have when we go to Australia and New Zealand and (c) it’s cheaper here.  We’ll let you know how things go in the next few days.

Sylvia says:  On a side note I had my first icky hostel experience in Koh Phi Phi.  Jason warned me to expect a lower standard of accommodations based on our budget.  When he visited Thailand in 2003 he stayed in a hut on the beach with a squat toilet and a hose for a shower / flusher.  These conditions are fine with me as long as the place is clean.  We chose this place based on research we had done online and called ahead to reserve it for two nights.  We inspected the bungalow before agreeing to take it; however it was only at night that we noticed ants crawling on the bathroom walls and floor, wafts of a sewage smell and a mattress that I’m
pretty sure was actually a box spring.  At least there was no sign of bedbugs.  Lesson
learned – we’ll inspect more thoroughly next time.  We only paid for one night so needless to say we’ll be looking for different accommodations.
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Jess on

Hi Sylvia and Jason! WOW looks like you guys are having a blast! I love Thailand and am glad that you're enjoying it too. :) Good luck on the certification! Looking forward to read your next blog!

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