Showing posts with label Phi Phi Islands. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Phi Phi Islands. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Beaches - Phi Phi Islands

So I am experimenting with different features for this here blog and I have thus far added hotel reviews and a feature discussing strange animals.  Today I am going to try my hand at a different type of feature that I would like to incorporate into the site, "Beaches."  I love beaches.  You probably love beaches.  They are one of the most appreciated naturally occurring  features on the planet, and have a way of defining the regions that possess them.  

The Phi Phi Islands are rocky palm swept islands surrounded by aquamarine waters.  All in, there are 6 islands that bear the Phi Phi moniker, with Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh headlining.  Phi Phi Don possesses the only village and population in the Phi Phis, while Phi Phi Leh is uninhabited national parkland made famous by "The Beach" starring Leo DiCaprio.  "The Beach" is the infamous Maya Bay, a partially protected bay surrounded by rock with a white sand beach in the center looking out to sea.  At night, plankton glow in the bay, lighting it up from beneath the water.    

The islands fulfill the basic requisites for tropical paradise with white sand, clear water, and great reefs to poke your mask into.  From a standpoint of natural beauty, they are perfect.  While the setting could not be more idyllic, it has an also ran type of feel with young backpackers everywhere.  Ever since "The Beach" was released, droves of young adventurers have boarded boats bound for these small islands like pop culture pilgrims.   The Phi Phi experience is lessened by these hard charging party monsters, as they have come to define the culture of the island.  If you are looking to party of course, then you have found a great spot.  The rest of us can find quiet respite fairly easily, but there will be bros.

Phi Phi Don has a very laid back island vibe.  The village is the main area for commerce in the Phi Phis, and you can buy necessities, arrange tours/dive trips, or find a place to stay while in the village. The island has many resorts and hotels, several of which can only be reached by dragon tail boat taxi from the village.  The village is fairly crowded, and during the high season, expect to brush elbows with the international party crowd.  During my time in the village, it felt like a Bizzarro Spring Break.  I stayed on the north side of the island away from the crowds.

The Phi Phi Islands are worth the trek.  Phuket is over developed, but Phi Phi provides the island feel that made Phuket an international destination to begin with. I give the Phi Phi Island beaches a 8.5 out of 10.

Getting to Phi Phi
The easiest way to get to Phi Phi is to fly into Phuket and take a boat onward to the islands.  Phuket is serviced by a number of southeast Asian hubs, with flights on AirAsia from Hong Kong, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore being the best bargains.  From Phuket, you can grab the boat from Rassada Pier at 8:30 or 1:30.  A return ticket costs 1100 Baht at most.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Halfway home (Phuket, Thailand)

We had a pretty rough travel day today, and are still kind of swaying from all the boat rides.  Our buddy Dave left a few days prior and about 10 people yoged on his boat from Phi Phi to Phuket. Our ride was not that bad, but it was no leisurely roll through the Andaman like our first float.  We hung out in phi phi for a few hours in the main town, and Kristin received whatever is going on in the above picture.  I think she called it a massage, sure looks like assault to me.  I had a deli sandwich in Phi Phi on a roll that was almost Piantedosi quality.   We arrived back in Phuket and it has been a pretty uneventful day.   We spent most of the evening strolling through a Phuket mall looking for a new underwater camera for our diving in Bali.  A great meal at our very Thai hotel, The Sawasadee Village ended the night on a solid note.  Now we are just preparing for our flights to Indonesia tomorrow.  Here are some more pictures from Phi Phi and Phuket today.

Of course the last day in Phi Phi

was the nicest in terms of weather

The dragontail boats were out in full force

And this goon was on the beach until the last possible second before heading back to Phuket

We had to walk away from this

Bye Phi Phi Island Resort and Prison

Kristin thinks she looks like a yak in this picture, I think she looks

Looks kind of like Lost

Yums water

The narrow streets of Phi Phi Don Village

Tonsai Bay

Another angle, why not?

Biggest road on the island

Some rocks

Street where presumably, one can do their laundry

Abandoned boat

Food stalls

Some fish just baking in the Thai heat

I love this dog, lives on phi phi

Thai Massage

MMA - school of grappling

Check out the stool

Our awesome room

and pool that our room just opens up to

Kristin ordering street food

Banana pancakes

Night falls over Patong, we were rolling in a taxi bumping Pink

Sawasdee Village

At dinner, grinning like someones going to Bali tomorrow

The restaurant

Kristin's main, shrimp fried rice baked in a pineapple, OMG SO GOOD

My main, looks like an exercise in boredom compared to the culinary
festivities going on across the table

Our camera breaks, we lose our headphone Usb adapter in
the cracks of a boardwalk, and someone steals the lens out of
my shades

These should start getting pretty interesting.  The beach is a great place to spend time, but sort of a mundane place to write about.  We have Indonesia and Borneo coming up in the next two weeks with just a dash of Singapore, and good ole Kuala Lumpur.  Who knows maybe even a return to Hong Kong.  Stay tuned in.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Paradise Found (Phi Phi Islands, Thailand)

Today, we had a 90% chance of rain, but we got lucky.  Somehow the 10% chance at a dry day worked out.  This is not to say that the weather was without its faults.  The Sun only made a brief cameo today, sort of towards the end and pretty forgettable, kind of like Sean Connery in Robinhood.  

We had been signed up for a speed boat rental, but we needed at least 4 more people to make it economically feasible.  Luckily, the front desk phoned us at 8am to inform us that we had our speed boat waiting.  Everyone met up in the open air lobby and were ready to go right on time, except the Indians.  We had to wait an additional 30 minutes for them to finish their breakfast, and, as it turned out, they could not even swim anyways.  What a waste.  Just prior to departure, the captain walked up and gave us seasickness medicine.  We were informed that the open water waves would be 3 to 4 meters high.  Fun.  After departing from our port, we stopped for a snorkel at Lantee Bay or Runtee Bay, depending on who you ask.  It is kind of strange over here in regards to the naming of geographical things.  I think the phonetic conversion from Thai causes discrepancies, so you get different names.  Another example is Phi Phi Leh, or Lay, or Ley.  Anyways, we had unbelievable snorkeling.  It was seriously almost as good as our dive, and maybe even a little better.  It was difficult to dive without the underwater camera that leaked and faded out the other day.  I was probably looking more forward to capturing creatures underwater then just about anything on this trip.  It is definitely impossible to explain chasing a parrot fish through the corals on one breath, or swimming alongside a poisonous sea snake (both happened today), and that is why I need the underwater camera. I am buying a new one in Phuket tomorrow, finances be damned.  If anyone wants me to dedicate the camera in your honor, then please send me half a grand.  

The snorkeling was so, so great.  Kristin and I just swam around pointing at stuff and diving after cool looking fish.  We followed up our swim at Lantee Bay with a little gawking at some beach monkeys.  This crew of beach monkeys look like a washed up old crew from some lost monkey pirate ship.  Shipwrecked, they have taken to entertaining all comers with their antics.  When we pulled up, one was slamming a beer.  They were throwing fruit at eachother.  It was a pretty motley crew, and a hilarious scene.  

Maya bay is considered by some to be one of the best and most unique beaches in the world.  Located on Phi Phi Leh Island (the uninhabited one), it has a small beach and a crescent shaped bay with water that looks like it came out of a plastic kool aid squeeze bottle.  Like James Bond Island, it enjoyed a stand alone reputation for its beauty for at least a hundred years, but has skyrocketed in popularity due to a movie appearance.  It is the beach featured in the movie “The Beach”  with Leo Decraprio.  It did not disappoint.  Since the water was so choppy, only speed boats could get in the opening to the bay from open water, so it was not crowded at all.  The boat ride to the bay was definitely a rocky sacrifice in comfort that was now being rewarded. We hung out and swam, a handful of late nineties moby songs cycling through my brain's internal playlist (His music was featured prominently in the movie, which came out in the late 90's).  

Our next stop, Loh Samah, is a crystal clear bay at the other end of the island.  I jumped in the clear waters off the stern of the boat, slipping and trying to recover before I landed on my belly.  It thankfully worked, though it was not at all graceful.  It was pretty deep and very clear.  Nearby, we stopped to peak in the Viking Cave.  It is called the viking cave because there are cave drawings of Viking ships inside the cave from a long time ago.  The cave is used by swiftlets to build nests, and the nests are used by eccentric Chinese people for food.  The nests in the cave are harvested and used in Bird's Nest Soup, an extremely popular and expensive Asian dish.  The nests go for thousands per kilo, basically because of the tasty swiftlet saliva that holds the nest together.  Gross dude.

We did some laying out on a random beach, and then headed back to our resort.  The rest of the day was basically filled with just eating, walking on the beach, and doing impersonations of Lou.  We chose to do the dinner buffet instead of ordering off a menu and it was a damned feast.  I made the house band play “my my hey hey” for me while I shredded through a plate of Nasi Goreng with a hot and sour sea bass soup.  I will dream of swimming in that soup tonight, climbing atop floating sheaves of sea bass.     

Ton Sai Bay

Edge of the bay

Drunk monkeys demanding food and drink

Motley Crew

Drink it down bud

He really likes his Pepsi

What a bunch of shipwrecked weirdos

Later oddballs


Maya Bay Beach, "The Beach"

Pretty empty

The infamous Maya Bay entry

Great water - so clear

We had a swim here

Moments before my embarrassing dive


To navigate back to sea

Kristin swimming

Viking cave

Swiftlet Nest Emporium

A humble home?

View of Krabi on the horizon

Fun with cameras


My favorite picture of the day, perfect timing


A bar

We laid out here

An asian man being buried alive

Kristin catching some rays, man, she got burnt

Bye beach

Low tide again back at the resort

About to have a bev

Working it

Trying to blend in with the crabs

Looks like a wasteland - dramatic low tide


Great band, they play like 8 hours EVERY day, like the Beatles in


More dinner

Love you, Hot and Sour Sea Bass Soup with Herbs

More regional delights