Sleepy and questioning our decision to rock climb this morning, we made our way to IBEX . IBEX would be our hub for adventure while on Koh Phi Phi. Kong, a rock climbing pro and spiritual guru led us to a sheer limestone cliff outside of town. A rock climbers paradise, we figured we were just admiring this famous spot before moving on to a less difficult wall. We were beginners after all. Nope, gear up because this was it folks!
Receiving very little and basic instructions at best, we were harnessed in. "It is all in the mind", "think like a child" and "let the body move naturally" were the only other words of advice from Kong, a prior Monk. Maybe it was Thailand, maybe it was his confident and calm energy, we are not sure... but we found the courage to conquer this wall.
It was imperative that we trusted each other in addition to Kong. Shockingly, we learned that we would be belaying each other. Say what!? Sans helmets, anchor and proper direction, we reached our goals on adrenaline, encouragement and will power. It was exhilarating, terrifying, peaceful and rewarding.
As if that wasn't enough excitement for the day, we rushed to join a boat to island hop. Having to grab lunch on the run we kept our eyes peeled for a good street vendor. A few ladies were serving soup, curries and other traditional dishes under a tent in the middle of town. We joined the queue and pointed our way through filling up our plates. Come time to pay, I was told that we were in fact at a wedding! Everyone smiled and accepted us as if we were part of the invite list.
Looking forward to getting away from the crowds, we loaded into another long-tail boat. The trip was supposed to last from 1:30 to 8pm but was cut short. We jumped out briefly at a beautiful but monkey infested beach appropriately named Monkey Beach. Following the coast past beaches, caves and cliffs we started to idle for the next activity: cliff diving. This is where things started to go wrong. The seas were rough and you had to swim to a rocky point and climb to safety before you were thrashed by waves. The diving board was a tree perched off of a cliff about 20 meters above the ocean. One by one the participants flailed until they smacked the water knocking the wind out of them or causing severe pain. This pain was described as, "having a fist rammed up your rear". Not everyone grows up diving and knows how to pencil into the water properly. We rushed to the tiny hospital to drop off the majority of our group. Shaking our heads but relieved to be back on track, we headed for Maya Bay. This is where the movie The Beach was filmed. Our captain received a phone call that the seas were too rough for us to make the trip. 25 long-tails capsize in this area every year.
Disappointed but determined, we strapped on our tennis shoes and hiked to the famous viewpoint of Koh Phi Phi.
We dined in a courtyard under a banyan tree at our new favorite restaurant PP Grand.
As we lay in bed a full blown tropical storm was happening. The wind was howling and waves were crashing onto our porch. Laughing and reminiscing about our insane day we just prayed that we didn't get stuck on this crazy island.