23rd - 25th May 2009
Coming into Phi Phi island on the ferry was breathtaking. It's such a beautiful landscape and looked absolutely amazing from afar. Getting closer you couldn't help but notice the sheer number of boats crowded around the jetty - there were hundreds, you could tell this was a popular destination. As soon as we stepped foot onto the jetty we were overwhelmed with touts offering us accommodation. It was very surprising to find the amount of cheap accommodation options after reading in the lonely planet (which we've learnt not to trust too much) that most things on Phi Phi would be expensive and limited in options. We found the place to be a backpackers haven, just like Ko Phangan and Ko Tao, and were able to get a nice bungalow for 500 baht a night (no more expensive than some of the other places we've stayed).
Our neighbours, Fran and Eva, were really nice and we enjoyed their company during our stay. We also had a cool bathroom with a side of the hill as the main wall, lizards included. The island nighlife was pretty much the same as we'd been experiencing throughout Thailand with buckets and beach parties on offer. There was a cool Raggae Bar which had a Muay Thai boxing ring in the middle where you could watch or actually participate in boozing matches. We watched a few but didn't end up participating. We also ran into our friend Katie from Ko Phangan so it was great to see her again.
One afternoon with Eva and Fran we tried to go snorkeling but struggled to find a spot. We went to two different beaches and as it was low tide it was hard to get out where the water was deep enough. It was also very rocky and there didn't appear to be too much coral so we gave up and sat in the water. The beaches at the main town were generally not that nice with quite a bit of rubbish on shore, especially on the beach where the jetty was. The surrounding landscape was still very beautiful though and you could just imagine what the place would have been like before everyone found out about it! We later found out that there is a good snorkeling beach it's just a bit more of a walk away.
On our last night we decided it would be a great experience to actually stay the night at Ko Phi Phi Leh where they actually filmed the movie 'The Beach' with Leonardo Dicaprio. This was our first proper tour of the trip and was awesome! We started off in a long tail boat with a great bunch of pommies. First stop was Monkey Bay where Sam was attacked by a monkey which was hilarious. After feeding (well actually, throwing food onto the beach from the water where we couldn't get attacked) the monkeys and watching the baby monkeys play around we jumped back into the boat and headed off to do some snorkeling. The snorkeling was really nice and we were especially excited when we saw some black tip reef sharks. They were hard to keep up with because they moved so fast through the water but Sammy managed to chase one and swim beside it. We weren't scared at all even when we saw one that was over 1.5 metres long.
After we were finished snorkeling we headed to another spot where you could go cliff jumping. I didn't want to risk it because of my foot (I was being naughty and getting it wet at this point which I shouldn't have been) but Sammy eagerly climbed up to the highest jump which was 18 metres. From the boat it didn't look too high but you could tell from the look on everyone's faces as they peered down to the water how high it must have looked from up there. Our boat captain assured us that there was plenty of water (5m) to dive into! One of the girls, Michelle, went first which was very impressive followed by a few of the other boys. It took Sammy 20 minutes to work up the courage to jump. I was shouting at him from the boat that he would never forgive himself if he didn't do it!! (I wouldn't hear the end of it) so happily he jumped off the cliff and into the water! Wahooooooo!! He's so happy he did it and still reminds me about it! I'm very proud though because despite my injury I probably would have chickened out myself!
With the cliff jumping over we headed across the island of Phi Phi Leh through a 'shortcut' which involved climbing through ladders and caves to get to the renowned 'Beach'. It was really beautiful and a lot smaller than we thought. We'll have to watch the movie again now that we've been there! We had so much fun drinking with the Thai locals that run the tour and playing drinking games with our new Pommy friends including Katie. At about 2am after playing with the phosphorus which would light up in the sand we grabbed a sleeping bag and made out bed on the beach. At this point it was about to storm and the sound of the thunder and lightning was phenomenal. Sam thinks it's the loudest storm he's ever heard! It'd definitely be up there for me but some of the storms we get in Brisbane could probably compete. It started raining at about 4am so we moved and curled up under a cliff edge with the locals. But for a few drops we stayed relatively dry.
In the morning it was still pouring so we weren't able to go and see the sunrise. Sammy did manage to find one of the locals who he was eager to throw the ball with. After breakfast we headed back to Ko Phi Phi Don where we caught a ferry to Phuket.
Overall we had an awesome stay in Phi Phi. It's a great place and we'd definitely recommend doing the Maya Bay camping tour. One of the best things we've done so far!