Blog : Koh Phi Phi
Arriving to koh phi phi island was a long journey, which started at 8pm in the evening and did not finish until close to 5pm the following day. We caught a pick-up can to the port from our bungalows in koh tao, yes a pick up, where we just sat on a bench in the back - very secure and safe! At the port it took forever to board the night boat and the whole time e stood in the Q with out backpacks on our backs and day sacks, terrified that we might also be told to a) sleep on the decks like the people we could already see freezing their k*** s off or be sent to the basement where people were being crammed onto the boat in amongst all of the backpacks that were being thrown down. I had my "dont you know who i am" spiel ready if i needed it but that god wed booked our i lets around enough and through a reputable company and wed all been allocated thin mattresses for the night. That looked like luxury in comparison! We were travelling with half the Liverpool lot and Tal and were fully prepared for a god aweful night of no sleep and lots of sea sickness. I as also very worried about my back and weeing/being in pain on the boat but one hell of a painkiller sorted all of that out for me and at ten when the lights when out i was happily rocked to sleep by the waves! A few of our group popped a Valium pill to help their zzz's along but none of us three even needed one, having learnt pretty well to sleep anywhere! And full lie down beds were quite a treat for eight hours instead of fifteen on those bolt upright seats on the greyhound bus to sydney! So we pulled into Surat Thani at about five am and had to hang around for a while waiting for a taxi to take us to another travel agents where another mini bus would pick us up in half an hour or so. When we got to the travel agent stop none of us have a rats arse any more so our backpacks went straight on the floor and we curled up on top of them for some more sleep. We then got on a four hour minibus that although fine for me was pretty cramped for the taller ones in our party - poor old Al lied like she had her legs round her ears at one point on the bus but once again we all slept as best we could through the early morning. We arrived in Krabi around 9:30am ish and once again had to hang out at another travel agents until a taxi took us all to the port to board the ferry to Phi Phi. This took a while and we were all beginning to get quite frustrated at all the stop starting. It was the seven eleven snacks that saved us though, munching through crisps and biscuits as a dirty breakfast.
We caught the Phi Phi boat eventually and thought it would only take 45 mins or so but two hours later we were still on the sweltering downstairs but with no air con, sweating like anything but yes i slept through most of this bit of the journey too. Arriving in Koh Phi Phi we had to pay an island fee of 200baht or something which felt a bit steep, £4 to come onto an island wed already paid close to £20 to actually even get to! Oh well, we all just wanted to get to our rooms, shower and eat and i was so glad wed already pre books somewhere and that at 3 or 4pm we didnt have to start looking for a place to stay... Espesh as many of the places that we passed had full signs outside. It was Sod's law however that our hostel was the furthest possible walk from the pier and up a massive hill! Just what Al and i felt like when we were felt seriously worse for wear and exhausted! But we soldiered on, carrying all our bags on the twenty minute walk, following Tal and preying he knew where he as going! We arrived at the hillside bungalows which we were sharing in pairs, KV and i and Al with Bryony, the boys together and tash and Charl next door. The bungalows were expensive, £10 a night each or something and were so unbelievably basic it was untrue. Kate and i had a bed, a fan and a bathroom. That was it. No chest of drawers, no shelf, no extra plug sockets, nada. So we quickly all decided that this along with the serious amount of steps into the town meant that tomorrow we would be finding a new place to check into and thats what we ventured out in search of first, in a big group. We all got a bit separated when we were looking for a new hostel and in the end Charl and i wandered down to the beach, thinking everyone might have gone for a swim. My first sighting of the beach and it was packed out with men selling pizza, bars and girls lying on rent-a-loungers. The sea was super shallow and warm and had a funny mossy layer over the sand but the scenery surrounding the bay was absolutely stunning - big limestone cliffs jutting out of the water, exactly as they had done in the film The Beach. We found everyone a few minutes later and theyd found a dorm for us to stay in. A 22 bed with only fans to cool you (noA/C) but it was cheap and relatively central and close to the beach so i couldn't complain really! They had also scouted out somewhere pretty cheap for dinner that evening - falafels that everyone had been craving on Koh Tao. Although i thought they were really disappointing and thought id had better hummous from a jar in tesco, probably with horse meat in it than this stuff from the "traditional Israeli resturant" - needless to say Tal was not impressed either and immediately wanted to go in search of pancakes for his pudding as his sandwich hadnt even touched the side when he wolfed it down. He was never satisfied with his food and everyone was beginning to get a bit narked at his constant complaining and seeming rudeness at not saying please or thank you or anything, just demanding things. A couple of us ha a pretty early night that night, crawling into bed exhausted and i slept well, even though id had so much sleep across the eighteen or so hour journey wed just done from koh tao!
The next morning we were up early as we had to check out of the hillside bungalows and trek with our bags down into the town to our new dorm. We could dump our bags there but couldn't check in until 1pm or something so we had a really prolonged breakfast, taking advantage of all the free wifi on offer and eating fried eggs(no bread for me) muesli and fruit and pancakes galore. We then all checked into the flower bungalows dorm and went for a walk around the little town to explore. It was much the same as Koh Samui in how commercialised it was (although no maccies or subway!) with so many western looking clothes shops and pharmacies and millions or bars and restaurants with every type of cuisine possible! But it also reminded me of koh Phangan with its higgledeepiggledee streets and haphazard electricity cabling - we had quite a few power cuts across the week! The beach was pretty nice and we all headed down there in the afternoon to chill, but we got caught out by an eunsuspected rain storm which lasted a few hours so everyone retreated to a bar where Friends was playing and i went for a wander around the little marketing in the middle of the town, being careful to stay hydrated and carting a big bottle of water around with me! That evening we went back to the same falafel restaurant as they were offering a pretty good deal on food - a curry, rice and two spring rolls for 90baht - less than £2 (we usually paid about £4 for a meal) although my appetite only allowed me a couple of mouthfuls before i was full-much to Tals delight who demolished the rest of my dinner. We made a decision that evening to go and do our boat trip to Maya bay (where the beach was filmed) the following afternoon and as i slinked off home, avoiding the big night out at the beach i thought about whether Leonard's Di Caprio etc had come into Phi Phi town or not and whether all the alcohol bucket stalls had been around then!
We were up relatively early again in the morning and we all headed over to a travel agents wed been to the day before to book our boat trip for that afternoon. We were all excited about different parts of the trip but essentially we were going out on a traditional thai long boat to Maya bay, where te beach was filmed, would get to snorkel a little bit, jump from some really high rocks into the sea (you had to pay extra for this and i definitely wasn't interested so said if just watch!) and then we were also due to be going to Viking cave, another famous POI and monkey island before having a bbq on a private beach and a bit of a party. Once we got onto the boat, there must have been 30 of us crammed onto benches inside the long boat as gotten out to sea, which was very choppy, i wasnt sure whether the tour was going to be quite what we wanted it to be. We got to maya bay and got handed shoddy old snorkels which wern't even attached to the goggles and Charl had cucumber bits in hers (?!) and told to just jump off the boat into the sea and go snorkelling for twenty mins. There was really nothing to see under the water bar one or two fish and a bit of dead coral so it was quite disappointing. We then got dropped off on "the beach" which was absolutely full to the rafters of Japanese tourists taking pics of their bored looking kids on their iPads and Europeans posing like porn stars next to all of the big posh speedboats moored in the shallows. Not quite the paradise i was expecting! We all got a couple of snaps and had a little walk up and down the beach and again although the scenery surrounding the beach was very dramatic and beautiful, the beach itself felt very substandard and as though the 100baht entry fee wed paid had not been worthwhile! Next we got back in the boat and Saule back out to the super choppy seas. The girls hated being on the boat as it was violently rocking forwards and back and water was splashing in everywhere - i think Al thought we were about to die at any moment! We then got to another cove that they said we could see turtles in but none could really be bothered to get back into the water and change on the cramped small boat but in the end a few of us went in and after a pretty mammoth swim (-i dunno why they couldn't drop us much closer to the reef, we swam about 1000m to the shallower bit, over some BERY deep water, which i didnt really like) we were rewarded with seeing a beautiful turtle swimming alone in the water. He had a mottled back and almost white leopard looking fins and we followed him for a little bit before some scuba divers came over and i think scared him with all their bubbles. It was another good 1000m swim back to the boat and we had to haul ourselves over the side as the ladder was completely useless, only having one rung! We then went back into the sea and it was super choppy and wavey and quite a few people then felt sick and i was glad id been in the water as i was completely soaked once again with water slapping our faces and legs as it came gushing over board every time we dipped over the side of a wave. We got taken to a private cove which was really sweet and we all thought perhaps it was monkey island but we were told there would be no monkeys, jumping or Viking cave because of the sea conditions, which everyone was really pissed off at and we were dumped at the island beach for two hours before the bbq would even be ready with nothing to do apart from getting seriously eaten alive by all of the Mosquitos and bugs on the island. None of us were very impressed at this and as more and more boats arrived we were learning that some people had been to all the sights wed been told we couldn't go and see so we went happy! The drinks on the island at the makeshift bar were extortionately priced and there was no toilet other than the sea so we were all feeling quite hard done by, by the time the bbq came - gross chicken, half a boiled potato and salad. At least girls and veggies were served first though! After dinner the thai guys on the island put on a fire show and although som f it was pretty impressive, quite a lot of it reminded me of the shows we saw back in Fiji where the blokes doing it were actually kinda drunk and kept dropping the firey bits! I really don't like seeing them blow fire though because all i can think of is that they're having to drink petrol and spit it back out, all for entertainment! After the show had finished we packed up all our stuff pretty quickly and headed for the beach where the boats were moored, to make sure w could get on the first boat out. In the pitch black and pretty cold temp now the guide said to take everyone swimming with the luminescent plankton. He had everyone in th water and moving their hands around in the sand and there were a few tiny dull lights that seemed to be floating around in the water...but certainly not anything worth getting soaked and freezing for which was disappointing as i had thought it would be like a fluro sea all lit up by tiny firefly-esqu fish, but it really wasn't!
When the first boat came there was an absolute free for all to try and get on and in the end i had to climb into the longboat on the wrong side to make sure i could actually get on, as there was so much pushing and shoving on the other side by the one rung ladder. Unfortunately right at the moment where id swung on leg up and over the five foot or so boat side, a massive man got on the boat at the other side causing it to tip towards him and literally lifting me off the floor and into a bit of an akward and not least to say uncomfortable position so Andy had to very ungracefully drag me onto the boat by my leg so i could get on. I felt a bit like a whale being hauled onto the boat and it scrapped all my thigh against the wood but i made it and got a seat which was more than the next to or so people that got on could get, so they all had to just couch at the front of the boat! Not very comfortable at all in the super choppy water again! The guy driving the boat was pissed out of his mind and at one point in the rocky sea he had let Tal take the steering thing and a massive wave nearly flipped the whole boat. With the darkness and the sound of the girls whimpering behind me i did feel a bit cautious and scared i have to say, although the mainland didn't look that far away, a mile or two so i was reassured by the fact that i could swim it if i needed to!! And as we were speeding song the waves to the shore out of the middle of nowhere came the three massive and posh looking yaght speed boat things, moored off the shore and before we could even really shout a warning to the drunken driver, we had ploughed right into the side of them. The whole of our boat , 45 people (in a 20 person long tail boat) say in complete silence as about ten thai guys clambered up on top of the posh boats and looked down at us. I shat my pants thinking wed just awoken thai pirates by smacking into their boat and they would want payment in people and behind me i could hear murmurings of the thai mafia. We all waited literally holding our breath for the massive angry explosion but it never came... In England if that crash had happened there would be effing and blinding everywhere and angry hand gestures and shouting but instead our boat driver just managed to get the boat and therefore all of us more and more tangled in the posh boats anchor rope and the supposed thai pirates tried to direct us round their fleet of boats and held up their length of rope so we could see how wide a birth was required to clear it without getting stuck and tangled again. I think honestly a couple of us on the boat nearly had heart attacks watching imaginary situations uncurl in the water and we were all pretty happy to be off the hideously choppy and unsafe boat! The whole boat marched immediately to the travel agency that we booked through and everyone wanted to give their version of events which started with a simple complaint about the drunk driver to demands for full refunds! In the end we managed to negotiate a refund on the extra cost of the rock jumping that everyone had had to pay (bar Charl and i) because we hadn't done it and we got this refund twice over as both Tal and Al were doing separate negotiations and i don't think the lady realised we were part of the same group. I felt a bit bad because that mean my whole trip had only cost £2 with the refunds and everything but at the same time, we didn't do half the things we were meant to and i was thinking of the money as compensation for my raised blood pressure and heart rate on the boat ride home!! Feeling knackered we all dragged ourselves through the showers and headed out to Cj, Kelly, Shaun and Brigits bungalows where we could all sit with buckets on their terrace and have a drink for Andy, Charl, Tash and Bri's last night, before heading to the beach! We played a few drinking games (me with my coca cola!) and it seemed to get some people in the mood and put others off a big night but about 1am we all headed to slinkies bar on the beach and wanted a few people on the bucking broncho, doing the double skipping rope on fire challenge and climbing a terrifyingly high ten foot pole with a tiny platform on the top that you danced on. I couldn't watch this one as it was such a long way to fall to the ground and the people doing it were always so drunk!! It made me cringe!
Unfortunately the end of the night was a little bit ruined for me by some absolute p****.. A really drunk idiot came up behind me, i hadn't even seen him and bit the top of my shoulder and my neck, like proper bit it, with teeth. I wheeled around and gave him a good livy mouthful, i wasn't letting that fly, sober or not! And then he just walked off and i told Kelly about it, pointing out who he was and she went over for "words" which didn't go very well and soon he and her boyfriend were squaring up to each other and swearing and the rest of it. It all got a bit messy and out of hand and then Kelly and CJ had a bit of a domestic and so at that point i was feeling a bit uncomfortable and ready to call it a night when Charl was sick in the sea and nurse Livy sprang into action again, getting her water and taking her home to bed. A good get out for me too, without having to make a fuss. I thought id done pretty well lasting until 4am with what was actually a pretty painful back with everyone nudging it on the dancefloory bit. The next morning was pretty cringe as the neck biting boy and his friends sat down next to us in the restaurant we were having breakfast in. He showed absolutely no recollection whatsoever and didn't recognise any of us, which just told me how seriously drunk he must have been to do it in the first place! Idiot!!
It was really sad to say goodbye to Andy, Charl, Tash and Bri after two weeks together! It felt like such a long time and as thought we had all gotten to know each other really well! They were catching a big old bus up to Bangkok before they transferred to another to take them to Cambodia, but we arranged to see each other in Vietnam, where our dates coincide again :) we felt a little bit like lost sheep now that our numbers had gone down from 12 to 8. We spend the rest of the afternoon chilling on the beach catching some rays and swimming in the wee wee temperature shallow and weirdly mossy sea before arranging a quite night for us all to go to a bar that was showing Argo the movie on an outdoor screen and get some Mexican food to eat. It was a really nice and civilised evening, although the multiple power cuts were pretty annoying when we were trying to watch the film which was pretty intense and meant that my quesadillas took ages to come out!!
We were all up relatively early the next morning as we had to check out of the 22 bed dorm because our beds had already been booked, but they did have a three bed bungalow available for us if we wanted, which was the same price, so we took them up on the offer. (Tal had moved into a bungalow with some Israeli girls friends of his the night before and super awkwardly, when the Liverpool lot had knocked on his door to say goodbye he emerged in next to no clothes having very obviously just been caught in the act! It was super akward times!!) Our three man bungalow was actually really only a double as with three single mattresses crammed flat from one wall to the other the door would t actually open or close and the princess style mosquito net drape only covered about two and a half of the beds, rather than fitting all three so we all had to huddle together in what could only be described as our seriously basic bungalow! The beds were rock solid and there was only one fan but we ended up having a pretty alright nights sleep all spooned in together! I had half my bags worth of laundry done as well and went to collect it in the afternoon. It had all been cleaned beautifully and folded, including my knickers and all for £2!! Kate had a bit if bad luck with her laundry though as it was still damp and had a terrible smell so she dropped it off somewhere else to do it overnight and ended up being given someone else's skanky thong and a t shirt if hers went missing :(
The following day was much the same as the previous, we went for a cheapo eggs and bacon breakfast before sunning ourselves on the beach all day. The girls were absolutely starving by about 4pm so ordered themselves a green curry on the beach but i held out and went to an indian place with kelly, CJ, shaun Brigit, that one of Kelly's friends had recommended to her and that was absolutely delish!! I had a veg jeli frez (which i took to be a jalfrezi) nan and popadoms which was so yummy and really filled me up. The girls met us at dinner after they'd showered etc and i promised them that wed go back the following night because the food was so tasty! We went back to their terrace again for a few drinks with some of the blokes from their scuba diving class but when it came to heading down to the beach, Brigit and i both made sneaky get aways! I was so tired and not really up for a big night and it was only half an hour it so before Kate came back as well. Al was a lot later home and in the morning showed us a big burn that she had gotten on her knee from riding the bucking broncho :( so we got done antiseptic wash from the clinic to make sure it was properly cleaned out. We met the others for breakfast and they had decided last minute that they were going to check out and head over to Phuket, a day early on the boat, so once again we said our goodbyes although we would be seeing them again in Phuket as it was our plan to go a day later. We sunned ourselves all day and in the evening we tried to have a bit of a
throwing away session to lighten our bags a little bit, but we all ended up taking most of each others clothes back into our own bags! Ive now got one of Als bras which is just lace with no underwriting or anything and in living in it, its so comfortable!!
We had to check out of our bungalows the next morning at eleven and our ferry over to Phuket wasn't until to annoying time of 2pm. We went and had breakfast (full English for me, yeah baby!) and dragged out the paying of the bill so we could sit in the cool and play on the restaurant wifi. We managed to book our accomo for Phuket and also Hanoi where we all meet up again after the boys have been and the girls sorted their flights leaving thailand finally as well so you can all rest assured we will be leaving the country on the correct day, after our visas expire! We were truly dedicated sunbathers on the ferry over to Phuket, sitting on loungers on the top deck of the big boat with no shade. At first i wasn't keen but i didn't want to sit on my own downstairs so i creamed up and got my tan on. I managed to get sunglasses marks and squint marks on my face as well from trying to read... Well done livy, idiot! The boat over the water to Phuket really wasn't that bad actually, we were all a bit nervous of the choppy water from the other day but being on such a big ferry and the top deck i think helped a lot and neither of the girls were sea sick at all - bonus! We sat on the boat and munched our way through our seven/eleven (supermarket) snacks. I had a brownie cake which was about 10p, delish and kinda of like a flat muffin. I think Al had banana bread and KV made her way through a whole bag of biccys!! We arrived in Phuket feeling satisfactorily fat!