Hello everyone! This is Gina and Adrian's closest, hottest, most intelligent and most incredible friend Becky. I've been given the honor of guest blogging for the Ko Phi Phi trip we took last weekend. I've been pretty blessed to be friends with these guys. Any time spent with them proves to be full of activity, lots of laughter, and nothing but fun times. Fortunately for me I live in Singapore at the moment and plane tickets around Asia are pretty affordable…so whether or not A and G like it I'll be making an appearance in a few of the Asia posts!
So anyway, Friday night I took a quick little flight to Phuket to meet with up A and G in this little town called Patong that is the underbelly of Phuket. Patong is chalk full of all the scandals you hear about in Thailand - ladyboys offering their services, ping pong shows advertised left and right, and the whole city smells like hot garbage. (Gina to Adrian: how much money would it take for you to eat one tablespoon of hot garbage juice? I'll leave Adrian to reveal the answer.) We had to stay there to catch the early 8am ferry to Ko Phi Phi.
We rose and shone at 7am and made our way over for the hour and a half long ferry ride to Ko Phi Phi. Our shuttle service to the ferry was delayed because some silly hungover German girls couldn't wake up on time, so as a result the only spot we were able to find on the ferry over was a walkway from the stern to the bow of the boat. The walkway was about as wide as two people standing next to each other. Not too big of a deal except for the fact we were next to this large group of female teenage Chinese tourists. I've struggled in Singapore a couple of times with some of the cultural differences, but this ferry ride was a bit of a tipping point. This group was dead set on taking as many photos as possible going back and forth between A and G and I. Peace signs were everywhere, personal space was nonexistent, and the giggling was louder than the ferry motors. And why is it OK to have toe nails that are four inches long decorated in rhinestones and sequins? Again, just some cultural differences that I should respect but didn't at this point in time.
We arrived at Ko Phi Phi around 11am. The island is amazing with large limestone cliffs, thick emerald green jungles and crystal clear blue waters. Unfortunately this is all to the island's demise. Tourists come in and out by the hundreds on a daily basis. They leave trash everywhere and abuse the wildlife. If anyone has picked up a lonely planet on Ko Phi Phi you would read it's comparison to Marilyn Monroe. Something along the lines of "It's beauty wasn't taken care of and as a result it died too young". If the Thai government doesn't start implementing some rules and regulations the island will quickly lose its luster.
We found our hostel , checked in, and decided it was beer o'clock. What is one of the things Gina loves most in the world? Blind taste tests! Tiger, Chang, and Singha were all put to the test. Singha was declared the winner by both G and I - Adrian preferred the Tiger.
Once we got a bit of a buzz on we made our way over for the activity portion of the day. We thought a tour of all the beaches and coves would be a fun way to spend the next couple of hours so we signed up for the 2pm snorkel and sunset tour. It was a really lovely couple of hours spent checking out monkeys being fed junk food by tourists and snorkeling in coves filled with trash. Sorry for the sarcasm, the coves actually were lovely but it was sad how much pollution there was! Being the California kids we are, we actually spent our time collecting trash. The highlight of the tour was going to "The Beach" where the movie with Leonardo Dicaprio was filmed….which actually was a bit of paradise. Our day was made complete with sliced fresh pineapple and Chang beer served by our 14 and 10 year old tour guides as we headed back on our boat watching the sunset. (Guess child labor isn't that big of a deal either.)
So as some of you may have seen in the photos of Adrian lately, his beard has gotten BIG. He decided to shave his head that night to look just like Zach Galifianakis - anyone seen Hangover 2? Yes, the decision to buzz his hair may have been a result of OUR buzz, but the video footage is pretty epic. We ALMOST convinced Adrian to keep a tail, but he wouldn't do it.
That night, in an effort to avoid what seemed like a "Jersey Shore the Spring Break episode" vibe that made up the town…we found ourselves in this bar called the Reggae Bar where they had a huge Muay Thai boxing ring set up. Except the "boxers" consisted of the drunk college kids the bar owners were recruiting from the audience! It was pretty nuts watching the guys go after each other. Amazing what a little testosterone, adrenaline, and alcohol will do to a person. The owners were trying in vain to get Gina and I to go against each other but alas…the verdict for who will win that fight still goes unknown.
The next morning we woke up with a need to escape the spring breakers and tacky tourism and decided to hike our way to somewhere remote. Our lonely planet advised us to hike to this viewpoint on top of the island and there would be trails to the other side of the island. After a steep and sweaty climb to the top we were rewarded with an amazing view and decided on heading to a beach called "Runtee Bay". Unfortunately Havainas were not the best option for this journey. Put together a steep climb down, sweaty feet slipping all over the place, a jungle full of mosquitoes, plus last night's alcohol and let's just say I was in a little bit of hell. Adrian pulled out his camp counselor voice and told me "Becky, you need to work to earn your solitude". And correct he was. Runtee Bay proved to be the tropical paradise dreams are made of. A little teak restaurant/bar was set up that was playing Jack Johnson and serving cold Changs. The beach was long and very quiet - about 20 tourists max at one time. We rented snorkels and spent the day checking out some AMAZING reefs just off the beach. As the daylight started to go away we ate some fantastic fresh homemade Thai food and sat around in the warm air recounting funny Australian days and reminding each other how lucky our lives are. We were able to catch a boat taxi back to Ko Phi Phi (thank god - I was already itching from my 20+ mosquito bites).
That night we found ourselves on a stoop outside of a convenience store right in the heart of town, drinking beers and people watching. You'd be pretty amazed at how amusing this can be. Sunburns, pick-ups, tattoos, and horrible clothing were our entertainment for about 2 hours. We ended up befriending a couple of groups - one a bunch of douchebags that called themselves "locals". If dressing up like a pirate and drinking beer with your boat full of tourists for two years makes you a "local" then good on ya buddy. The other group was actually a guy from Melbourne that worked in media and knew a lot of the same people Gina knew. Gotta love a small world!
Our evening ended around 3am on the beach listening to Led Zepplin on my iPhone. Great friends, 6 months of being apart, 3 years of traveling together, and a good amount of beer will do that to you! The 8am wake up for the ferry was a bit brutal for me, but the 2 hours spa session before catching my flight back to Singapore made it OK. Thailand has AMAZING massages!
Overall amazing trip with amazing friends. Can't wait to join them for the next adventure!p