Spent my birthday on "The Beach!" If you haven't seen the movie, you should. If that's not enough endorsement, know that it has Leonardo DiCaprio in it, in a bathing suit, a lot. That should be motivation enough.
It's a movie about a secret beach island in Thailand. We went to said beach....on my birthday! It's a place called Maya Bay Beach, and it's where they filmed the movie. It's a national park and is not so secret anymore. At least not during the day, when it's full of day-trippers scattered about the beach. We, however, were part of a small group of 18 people who camped on the island overnight. And a fabulous experience it was!
Peter had contacted the tour company a few days prior to book the camping trip for my birthday. But, since that little Tsunami evacuation happened, we weren't sure what would happen. We woke up early, and tried finding out more info. on the warnings. The hotel guy didn't speak English, but he did manage a "No Tsunami." We took that as a green-light, go-ahead and set off for Koh Pi Pi.
The ferry was set to leave in 20 minutes, we still had no tickets, and we could not find a cab to save our lives. Except for motor taxis. They were everywhere. But my darn pulled muscle in my leg makes bike rides not great. Our patience paid off and we got a cab, and made it to the ferry with 5 minutes to spare. Of course, it took off almost an hour late so we had plenty of time.
Boat ride over was nice. Free cookies, tea, coffee, and water. Arrived at Ko Pi Pi about 10:30 am, made out way to the camping office. Booked our spots, left the bags, and lounged on the beach for a few hours. Also enjoyed a fresh coconut shake on the beach. The water was clear, calm, warm, and wonderful.
At about 2:30, we made our way to the office again and I showered and got ready while Peter ran off to buy water, toilet paper, and other supplies for the night. The boat to Maya Bay took off about 4:30 pm. On the way, we stopped for some snorkeling, viewing a bird-egg-collecting cave, ate fresh fruit, and bonded with our fellow campers.
By the time we made it to "The Beach," the daytrippers were all leaving and we had the place to ourselves. We enjoyed a nice sunset and playing with the glowing algae in the water before enjoying a beach bbq dinner with the group. The group had an array of Thai dishes to pick from and I had a separate vegetarian/gluten-free meal that was quite delicious.
After dinner, the Thai guide, "Coco Loco" performed a fire show and then he, the French guide, Max, and the British guide, Jess, started the group in some card drinking games. Everyone was given 2 free buckets of alcohol to drink so most people happily joined in. We were lucky to have a small group, about 18, and to make it to the island since the group the day before was stranded on a boat for 5 hours and never made it to the island while awaiting the tsunami. Most people were not partying too loudly-- Nonethess, we went to the island for quiet, so at this point, Peter and I decided to head to the beach instead.
To my surprise, I found a blanket set up with flowers, wine, cheesecake, and birthday candles all set up for me! How Peter was able to smuggle all of this onto the island and set it up without me seeing is beyond me, but this is one time I appreciate the sneakiness! We had a nice picnic dessert before camping out on the beach. Except for the hard mat and biting ants, we slept great under the open sky. A few raindrops fell and lightning shone all night, but it made for a nice ambiance.
In the morning, everyone found their own way to pass the last few hours on the island. We had a quick swim, grabbed breakfast, drew and played hangman in the sand, and then took the group "beach" photos. By this point (about 8am) the daytrippers were already arriving so we set back for Koh Phi Phi, stopping to snorkel off of monkey island on the way. There are apparently sea turtles there though we didn't see any.
We made it back to Phi Phi Don and had a few hours to participate in Songkran water fights and lounge on Long Beach before heading back to Phuket to meet up with friends and continue the birthday celebrations (4 of us all had birthdays within a week of each other)! It was truly a birthday that I will remember for years to come. Thanks to all for the birthday wishes and for making "my day" so special, especially Mr. Biczo. Köszönöm Magyar-i! : )