Tuesday, 9 January 2018

THAILAND - ISLAND HOPPING (PHI PHI ISLANDS)


Ah Ko Phi Phi, the island that left everyone broken… quite literally.

Phi Phi was the last stop on my two-month adventure in Thailand and it was the complete opposite of everything that I envisioned it to be. Firstly because a good 90% of all travellers I spoke to advised myself not to even bother visiting these islands purely because of the weather since it was rainy season (August) and individually each had bad experiences surrounding the basis that there is not much for you to do when it rains there. Despite these warnings, I just couldn’t miss out on visiting Phi Phi’s infamous Maya Bay especially after re-watching The Beach starring Leonardo DiCaprio just before flying out. Spending two months in Thailand meant I didn’t really have any excuse as too why I couldn’t visit these islands, so with a early 5am alarm we started our descent from Ko Tao to Ko Phi Phi by boat. 

Upon arrival to the port we had only just got our self and our backpacks on to mainland before it started to absolutely chuck it down and feeling slightly delirious/tired from the long journey with no phone signal and absolutely no idea where our hostel even was, it all became a bit of a mare AND then to top things of the sun had just gone down. Phi Phi has no cars/transport on the island at all so simply jumping in a taxi in the hope a local knew where our hostel was located was just not an option. Eventually we arrived to our hostel after what felt like circling the whole island forever feeling full of doubt whether the long 10+ hour journey was even worth it but the optimistic in me remembered tomorrow was a new day… 

Tomorrow was a new day, and what a glorious one it was. In all 50+ days I had been in Thailand I had never experienced heat like I did in my time in Phi Phi. The skies were near enough clear (other than one cloudy afternoon) for our whole duration in Phi Phi, and I would go as far as saying it was the best weather I experienced throughout my whole trip. #blessed



IBIZA HOUSE HOSTEL

I think the primary reason behind most bookings at this hostel is the scenic location, amazing pool, and renown Ibiza pool parties twice a week. Enticed by the pool alone from just looking at the HostelWorld app we were quick to book. Now, my time at Ibiza House was all sorts of fun, but I have never seen so many people check out of a hostel early… purely on the basis that it was just too crazy and too intense and coming from someone who loves a good boogie, I almost felt like a grandpa there? - Would only recommend staying a couple of nights and moving to a cheaper (as Ibiza was expensive) and more chilled hostel after. 

It wasn’t just the hostel it was the entire island. With crazy beach clubs and cheap 100 baht alcoholic buckets (£2.30) it was easy to see why every evening turned into a project X party. And I feel like some sort of idiot still to this day as I’m not entirely sure why or even how I got to this preconceived perception but I just expected Phi Phi to be this majestic chilled paradise with beautiful beaches and gorgeous views, and the latter is true. But ‘majestic and chilled’ couldn’t be more opposite.


THE VIEWPOINT


Unfortunately the day we climbed the viewpoint it happened to be our only cloudy day but never the less the view was still great. The climb itself is suitable for everyone although don’t wear flip flops like I did as the incline is fairly steep and its just seems a lot more comfortable to wear trainers. Pack lots of water as you get fairly dehydrated from just the heat let alone the climb swell!



MONKEY ISLAND AND SNORKELLING 
There are many island hopping tours available in Phi Phi but after the bank balance feeling a little poorly as the end of my trip was in the mere future and being the cheap-O’s we all were, we opted for the cheapest tour with Phi Phi Pirate Boat. The trip includes a trip to Monkey Island, Kayaking/Snorkelling around the lagoon, Maya Bay and dinner. 






When approaching Monkey Island, alike Maya Bay only a certain amount or certain style of boat(s) can anchor up right next to the beach which meant we all had to snorkel across the corals -  which personally I thought was better purely for the fact it enabled you to appreciate the magnificent views (above and below water) and tested your fitness at the same time! 

The monkeys on the island are the only natives and are incredibly friendly but be careful as they can bite (as many have found out). And although at first the picture with the monkey and the beer seems funny, it actually is quite a sad representation of the mass impact of tourism on this island and is not only changing the behaviour of these monkeys, but also potentially harming their welfare. 




MAYA BAY AND KAYAKING



Despite the numerous amount of injuries everyone around me had from Phi Phi's nightlife, the biggest one to cause the most cuts/bruises/infections was the entrance to Maya Bay. As I mentioned earlier only a certain type of boat can enter the main beach, so our boat (and many others) had to take the back route which meant jumping far into the sea, swimming from the sea to the cliff edge and climb up what can only be described as an army-style net from the sea to the top of the ledge. Now it doesn't sound too hard right? You have to do all of this with a certain technique as the tide is smashing you against the shallow coral/cliff which was everyones downfall and is actually considerably hard and genuinely believe this isn't suitable for all 'abilities'.

I didn't manage to capture any photos of kayaking around the lagoon as I was way too immersed in the presence and having fun. Snorkelling above the colourful corals, discovering hidden caves and sunbathing on the kayaks in the beauty of the lagoon surrounded by so much wildlife - words just don't do it justice! I can only describe it as one of those experiences which I imagine will resonate with me for the rest of my life. 

As the sun started to set, we jumped back on board for some thai food before making our journey back to mainland Phi Phi. I can only speak highly of these kind of tours and despite Phi Phi being a bit too crazy for me, this day trip really makes Phi Phi worth visiting. 
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