Hope everyone is well.Here's our next eagerly awaited blog - I bet you cant wait!!!
We left Koh Samui last Wednesday and decided to head across to Krabi which is on the west coat of Thailand.We had a very eventful journey!The first problem was that we could not find the bus station in Surat Thani in order to catch the bus across to Krabi - this was due to my very poor map reading!I managed to make us walk right past the street & on for a further mile or two on in the midday sun with our backpacks on - Helen was not amused!!! When we finally managed to find the station we received the worst service yet here in Thailand from the tourist company with their blatant lies & inflated prices!!!We were told that it was best to catch the mini bus to Krabi as it left in '5 minutes' whereas the coach didn't leave for another hour and a half.We thought the extra cost would be worth it as it would get us their faster.What really happened was the driver picked us up within the 5 minutes they'd promised but proceeded to stop the minibus around the corner where we had to wait an hour before actually leaving AND we later found out from a nice lady on the mini bus that we were over charged - not happy!On a plus side when we arrived in Krabi we found a really nice hostel to stay in and a restaurant that did an awesome burger & chips (our first English meal of the trip!)
The following day we had a very lazy day walking around Krabi's shops, mainly as there's not much to do here.It usually serves as a very brief stop off point before people hop onto the islands.We decided to sit by the river for a bit and chill out before heading back to our hostel.On our way back we saw the start of a parade coming round the corner so we sat down and watched it go past.As it drew closer it seemed like everyone in Krabi was involved as it went on for absolutely ages.Each group in the parade was led by a girl in traditional Thai costume followed by people playing music, singing & dancing.We were not sure what it was in aid of at the time, but we later found out it was something to do with a local Buddhism tradition.One thing we did notice at the time however was that everyone in the parade seemed to be more interested in us sat watching on the side of the road than actually looking ahead which caused a few collisions!
The next morning we caught the ferry to Ko Phi Phi Don.The ferry took us to Ao Ton Sai which was where the tsunami hit nearly 3 years ago. From here we caught a long tail boat down the island to Hat Yao, or as it's more commonly known 'Long Beach'.Long Beach housed four choices of accommodation, although only 1 choice for our budget & that was pretty much it.The area was only accessible via long boat or a 45min walk across rocks at low tide which made it very peaceful.The first thing that hit us here was just how clear the water was.You could right to the sea bed even in the deep parts.We checked into the Long Beach Hostel & us being cheap skates we are we checked into the cheapest room (which incidentally was no more than we've paid anywhere else).We were soon to find however that these 'huts' were not the best.All we'll say is that they were disgusting & we only managed 1 night before upgrading to a more expensive room.Over the next couple of days we spent our time either on the beach (where I made a fantastic sand castle boat) or in Ton Sai Village where they actually had shops, restaurants & people!
After a few days of relaxation we decided to book ourselves on a scuba diving day which was the highlight of our stay here!We had to be up early on the day of the trip as we had to be at the divers shop in Ton Sai Village for 8 o'clock, and we of course had to stop in via Pee Pee Bakery for breakfast - which was the best bakery ever!!!
Here we met our instructor, Adam, and the other divers including 2 lads from Watford.We then boarded the boat and headed over to Ko Phi Phi Leh which is the smaller uninhabited island (where The Beach was filmed).The journey over was very choppy which saw both of us 'feeding the fish' a number of times!Our first dive of the day was at a place called Bidah Nok which had very blue clear waters.After our briefing on the boat we jumped straight in and our first task was to get used to going under water, breathing only through your mouth, and remembering to pop your ears every time you went down a couple of meters.Once we mastered this we were off!We were under the water for a total of 37 mins and dived to a depth of 12m to bottom of the sea bed.It was really surreal being under water like that but also very peaceful.On this dive we saw fish of all shapes, sizes & colour.After we finished here we were taken to another part of the island where we had lunch & were able to go snorkeling.After lunch we travelled to dive site No.2 which was called the Palong Wall.The waters here were much darker, to the point that you could only see sea life after you'd dived down a few meters.We were in the water for 44 mins & again dived to a maximum depth of 12m.The sea was much deeper than this but as we were only on a day course & not a certification course we were not aloud to go any deeper.On this dive we saw a cuttlefish digging around the reef, 2 eels & hundreds of fish.This dive was slightly scarier due to the reduced visibility & the fact that we did not know what was below but it was so tempting to explore further!After we were back on board we headed back to the dive shop where we had a talk with the instructor & identified some of the fish we saw.We were tempted to book ourselves onto the certification course but we didn't have 3days on the island to complete the course, but we decided that we were definitely going to dive when we get to Australia!!!!
On our last day we decided to leave Long Beach and stay in Ton Sai Village for the night.After checking into our hostel we headed up to the 'View Point'.This was a point at the top of one of the mountains that gave fantastic views over Ton Sai Village.The journey up however proved to be one hell of a work out!We had to climb up numerous sets of steep steps.At the top here we were greeted by a sign saying View Point 300m This Way.The problem was I think they missed a couple of 00's off the end of 300 as this path went on forever getting steeper and steeper as we went.By the time we got to the top we both looked like we'd ran a marathon.We were rewarded at the top though with a little café selling ice creams!!!It was while we were up here that we fully understood how easy it was for the tsunami to wipe out the village as it is only a narrow piece of low lying land dividing the sea.
On our last evening on Phi Phi Don we decided to go on a sunset trip around Ko Phi Phi Leh to see a bit more of the island.We set off from Ton Sai village and stopped off at various locations around the island.We saw 'Monkey Beach' where believe it or not monkeys live.Unfortunately the tide was out so we were unable to actually go onto the beach but we got close enough to see them splashing around in the water.We also stopped off in a cove where we were able to kayak, snorkel, swim & jump off the top of the boat.The next stop was Maya Bay which was where The Beach was filmed.We had to swim to shore here due to the low tide & the coral reef that surrounded the entrance.Once on the beach we had time to relax.The beach was nice & cliffs surrounding it made it look really special but it was just a shame the tide was out as we didn't get to see it in its full glory!From here we were back onto the boat where we watched the sunset down over the sea.This was really nice & a great end to our time on the island.
Gavin and Helen