So after spending about 2 weeks on the east coast of Thailand doing the islands it was time to fly over to see what the west coast had to offer on the lovely island of Ko Phi Phi and Railay beach. Get ready for a long blog, also I apologise now as it's a bit all over the show but I am writing it about 2 weeks after being there, sorry folks.
We landed in Phuket from Ko Samui and were not sure as to whether to stay for a night in Phuket in Patong or move straight on to Phi Phi. We decided that after travelling for half a day we may as well go the whole hog and travel straight onto Phi Phi, as Laura had already been to Patong in Phuket and said that it wasn't all that pretty and we wouldn't be missing much. So with that said we headed straight to the port to get the ferry across to Phi Phi.
On the minibus ride from the airport we met yet another guy from LA (Faddy) and as we had some time to kill before getting the ferry across to Phi Phi we decided to get a cab to Phuket town to go on the internet to update the blog and also to grab something to eat. Phuket town is not really that touristy, and we were constantly getting stared at. We managed to find somewhere to eat in this random little shopping mall and also get the cheapest internet we have had as yet.
We arrived in Phi Phi once again off the boat and this time the journey across was so much better than the crossing from Ko Phangan to Ko Tao. The sun was shining and we were on the top deck catching some rays! The island looked amazing as we approached.
With backpacks on and weighing down on us sweltering in the heat of the mid day sun we headed to try and secure some accommodation. Easier said than done. We were getting harassed left right and centre but they were all asking way to much, much more than we wanted to pay. A scuba diving instructor pulled us into her shop to save us from all the PR's and offer some friendly free advise (she would be spot on with her recommendations of good restaurants and bars) and also she let us leave our bags with her whilst we find some accommodation.
We trekked all over the show trying to find some accommodation, finally finding somewhere after about 2 hours searching. The place was like what I imagine a Thai prison to be like. It was all that was availible so we decided we would take it. We checked out the very next day in search of somewhere far better. We got up early and walked to the other side of Phi Phi (although not that big) and managed to get an Air con bungalow right on the beach for 1,300 baht (about £26) and we were prepared to pay anything. Although it was expensive for poor travellers it was worth it. We ended up staying for 6 nights which hammered our budget, but the place kind of felt like we were on holiday rather than being poor travellers. I think it's safe to say we are flash packers! There is no other way to be!
The beach we were on was perfect and not as busy as the main beach the other side. The perfect opportunity for us to yet again try and work on the tans.
Louisa and Rob who we had met in Ko Tao diving were arriving a few days after we had arrived and we greeted them off the boat and spent the remainder of our time on Phi Phi with them. Ideal really as there were plenty of girly shops to keep the girls entertained while me and Rob could play Pro Evo (Playstation) whilst having a few Changs! or have a game of pool.
One of the days we were there it was Louisa's birthday and we booked a fun dive with Sea Frog, as Louisa and Rob had a met a girl on their travels who was a dive master there (Maaike). Being the pro divers that we all are now after all learning at Ban diving school in Ko Tao. We were to spend the day at sea and have two 40 minute fun dives with our dive master Maaike. The day we were set to dive surprise surprise it was raining. So the best place to be when it's raining is underwater where there is no real weather. We decided to hire an underwater camera for the dives so we could hopefully get some cool snaps underwater, which we did although not all of them came out perfect, but we got a fair few decent snaps. We see some really cool/weird fish and the visibility was so much better than in Ko Tao (10 meters or so) although when we got back they had said that's the worst visibility they have seen in a long time. So I guess we have good conditions still to look forward to. Laura and Rob also saw a leopard shark which Louisa and I missed as we were to busy looking at a fish with a long weird nose!
That night we headed out for a nice meal for Louisa's birthday to a restaurant called Le Grand Bleu, recommended by Maaike who we had met diving - the food was so good and not all that pricey either really. We spoiled ourselves with a starter, we had Mussels in this spicy sauce which was so so nice. Next up was the main course both Laura and I had halibut with mash and this too was excellent. This was followed by a naughty shot of Jaggermeister!
So feeling nicely fed, we then headed out to get absolutely obliterated with buckets of alcohol, lovely.
One of the days we set out for Long beach about a 30 minute walk, or so we were told to a long stretch of sand aptly named long beach. We were going to get a taxi boat there but were to tight to pay £2 each so we walked instead. The walk was not the easiest as we had to clamber over rocks to get there, I don't think the girls were overly impressed! But we all got there in one piece. We chilled on the beach for a few hours had a quick drink before heading back this time through the jungle which was pretty cool and easier than climbing over the rocks.
We decided between us Laura, Lousia, Rob and I that we would hire a taxi boat for the day to go and see a bit of the island. We headed off to firstly see the magnificent Maya Bay which is where the film the beach was filmed! If I'm totally honest I felt a bit disappointed when we arrived as I kind of hoped for us to arrive at this near on deserted beach but the beach was ram jam packed with tourists, but still it was beautiful albeit a bit busy!
We spent about half an hour snorkelling around the bay which was pretty cool, as we got to see yet more fish, think we might be coming addicted to this underwater world.
The boat then stopped off at a place which we were supposedly supposed to be able to see sharks and turtles, we did not see either. As we arrived Laura and Louisa bottled it, and said they would stay on the boat as they didn't particularly want to see any sharks, so that left me and Rob to brave it alone. I must admit jumping in I immediately thought if I see a shark I'm jumping straight back on that boat, but after a while snorkelling about I was like "Dam it, I really wanna see a shark or a turtle" So we clambered on board a little disappointed at not seeing either.
Our next stop on our little tour was Monkey Beach, and this delivered exactly what it said on the tin! Monkeys on a beach and loads of the cheeky blighters! They were everywhere, really funny watching them being proper little monkeys climbing and swinging on everything and anything, trying to pull girls tops down.
After the boat tour we decided to head up to viewpoint, which is at the top of one of the hills which are on either side of the lowland which lies in the middle. The climb was a bit of a mission about a 20 minute climb/trek but once we got there it was worth it, as the view was amazing you could see right across the island. The sun was setting and we had a well deserved drink at the top before heading back down, to get ready for our last night in Phi Phi.
The nights in Phi Phi were awesome with so much going on. There are so many bars it is ridiculous with all of them being really busy! Our main haunts were Reggae Bar which is completely nuts, there is a Thai boxing ring in the middle of this bar. Basically if you want you can get up, don the gear headgear, shorts and gloves and have a fight!
It was so funny to watch but also a little bit wrong as each of the contenders would proper go for it, full on! Hammering each other with blows to the head. I would of got up and had a fight but it wouldn't really have been fair on my opponent, so I gave it a miss. :)
Another usual haunt was both Slinky and Apache bars which were both on the beach. Both these bars have fire shows with local guys doing some amazing tricks with fire on a stick to music such as Sex on Fire and Prodigy - fire starter and they go completely nuts twirling these "Fire Sticks" around, they don't mind dropping them either on occasions which is a little scary when it lands about a meter from your legs. There were also jumping flaming skipping ropes which is a lot harder than it sounds, jumping through fire rings and also the fire limbo. Myself and Rob had a go at jumping through the fire rings and also the fire limbo, there were also some Japanese tourists jumping through the fire rings which was really funny to see, they bloody loved it!
Phi Phi must have been the place to bump into people as Laura bumped into a guy she knew from uni and also 4 people from where she worked at EY. I then bumped into my sister's friend Sam and her boyfriend Mark. All very random.
By this time we knew quite a few different people on the island as Kat and Jon and also Zead were also floating about. So we kept bumping into people as the island is not all that big.
We departed Phi Phi along with Louisa and Rob and really didn't want to say goodbye to the lovely island of Phi Phi but we had to pry ourselves away to continue our travels and it was onto our final destination in Thailand Railey Beach for a few nights.
Hope your all well at home
James and Laura