Ko Phi Phi....
I have never been anywhere quite so wonderfully, idylically, beautiful before.
The Tsunami from two years ago has wrecked whole sections of this tiny island but this year is certainly the resurrection. Tourist touts on the mainland make a big deal of the fact that there is nowhere to stay in Ko Phi Phi because of the demand (but are happy to "make a few phone calls" to arrange something at an extortionate rate!) and all other businesses are booming. A certain sadness lingers though. How do you react when a Thai guy tells you that he lost 30 members of his family and countless friends within the space of a few hours?
We flew from Bangkok to Krabi on a really cheap flight from the new airport in Bangkok (we were on one of the last flights going to the old airport when we arrived two months ago) and were amazed at the swishness of the design and how easy it was to use. Similarly at Krabi, the new airport stinks of new cash (although its "international" airport status is diminished slightly when you realise that it handles just 6 flights to and from Bangkok and 1 to Singapore!).
** Added 06/12/06 **
Where was I? Ah yes, Krabi. We caught the ferry to Ko Phi Phi late in the afternoon. On arrival there was carnage. We had already been
subjected to the usual scare tactics of the shortage
of accom (the island went from 9000 beds in 2004 to
just 2000 beds within a few short hours) and we were
initially sceptical. Nevertheless, we formulated a
tactic that was surefire - Chez was to skirmish in
light order (and be one of the first ashore to bag the best room) whilst I recovered our bags from the depths of the ship and
waited by the tiny pier. When Cheryl returned, the
cloud lifted and the sun never stopped shining (well
except at night - you know what I mean!).
We had been spending 350 Baht per night in Chang Mai
but we were lucky to secure our first nights accom for
1200 Baht in Phi Phi. The next day we found somewhere
cheaper at 800 Baht in the Thai quarter (not glam but
reassuringly smelly enough to put off most) and that
was probably the cheapest it was going to get.
It doesn't matter. The island is just the most
dreamily and naturally beautiful place you could dream
of. Pure white fine sand and beautiful brilliant
turqoise ocean lapping gently onto palm fringed beach.
The Tsunami legacy still hangs heavily but this is
perhaps the first proper year of recovery.
The island consists of two big hills connected by a
very thin strip of low lying land with a little "bump"
of a hill in the middle. You can walk the width from
bay to bay in a matter of 3 minutes and the length in
about 20 but despite the small dimensions it feels
much bigger and there is such a friendly atmosphere.
We had the most wonderful time on Phi Phi island - I
learned to snorkel and we kayaked on the sea to the
more remote bits of beach on the island and went on a
snorkeling dive and chartered a little boat to a tiny
remote island where we found a beach all to
ourselves... Just idyllic.
But we had to come back to Bangkok.