For the most part we have been trying not to revisit too many places either of us have been to before, but Ko Phi Phi was somewhere Bee had many fond memories of from several previous trips to Thailand. Despite hearing how it had had changed, and not for the better we were still determined to see for ourselves. Following the devastating Tsunami in 2004, many parts of the island had to be rebuilt. Initially it appeared like not so much had changed, with some of the same restaurants and dive shops remaining.
The island is now definitely on the "party" scene with young Aussies and Brits abroad staggering through the streets drinking their "buckets" of mixed drinks. Though keen to go out and dance on the beach we found it soul destroying and the "zoo" was the best term we heard used to describe the beach bars on Ao Lo Dalam.
Our hut high on the hillside, offered unrivalled views over the bay and across to the limestone crags rising out of the sea. It was only a mere 143 steep steps up the sweat inducing hillside to get there and after stunning sunsets out of the window the tranquillity was lost as the speakers ramped up at the beach bars the sound travelled up and we were lulled to sleep by thumping commercial dance music until dawn. Not quite the paradise remembered.
We filled our days diving with a wonderful French couple Bill and Bridgette at Phi Phi Diving, who pride themselves on being the first boat to the dive sites, we were out at sea by 7.05am everyday! Tim was very glad of the fresh coffee and pan au chocolate from the bakery to wake him up.
What a delight these dives were, so many fish in huge shoals, quite different to diving the Gili's in Indonesia, though the visibility wasn't as great, the opportunity for many swim through's was a fun treat. Highlights were a big octopus, spotted rays and Tim finally got to see his much sought after shark (though snorkelling off the boat this time!), Bee was however a little unsure on the number of banded sea snakes we saw swimming about, quite unnerving.
We made the best of the island discovering all the different beaches including a lovely walk over to long beach for a sunset snorkel and the moonlit walk back. But overall we were ready to leave, in fact we changed our plans and decided no more beach life for a bit, we were going to head north to Chiang Mai, in search of culture, food and elephants.