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Location 9,10: Phuket & Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

THAILAND | Saturday, 30 April 2016 | Views [534]

Phuket & Koh Phi Phi-Thailand

We found the Americans!  Up until we arrived in Phuket, we had met maybe 4 Americans…the only non-Thai citizens we encountered were citizens from Asia, Europe, South America, and our neighbors to the north- Canadians.  Traveling to Phuket was another lengthy journey that required ferry boats, buses and minivans (unless you fly $$).  The minivan ride was only supposed to take 3 hrs, but ended up taking closer to 5 hrs when it was all said and done (whole trip was ~12 hrs).  Once we arrived in our hostel we got changed and went out for the night.  The hostel we were staying at is only a 3 minute walk to Bangla road and this is the place to be if you ever make your way to Phuket, because it is filled with bars, restaurants, and all things "nightlife".  We met a group of Americans, who are in the navy and were stationed for the night, so we ended up hanging with them for the evening.  We went to a few bars including a Ping Pong show….which I will spare the details on.  It was an experience to say the least and probably one that I would not need to see again.  Overall- it was a long day of traveling, so I was happy to put my head on a  pillow and go to sleep.

On day 2 we walked to Patong Beach (known for being destroyed by the 2004 Tsunami), which again was only a short stroll from our lodging.  We spent almost the whole day there, we walked to a stand serving some really amazing kebab wraps, we brought them back to the hostel and then I called it a night (I stayed in and watched "Spotlight" - great movie).  As I said before, picking and choosing the nights I go out is very important, as spending money on drinks/entertainment is really the thing that eats away at one's budget. The third day was very similar to the second, in that, I hit the beach for a few hours to read and Alexa looked around the markets for different things to take back stateside.  We walked to another hostel that had really great reviews for its Thai food.  The folks who reviewed them weren't kidding because it ended up being some of the best curry I've had.  We hung out with some of the other backpackers in our hostel, but ultimately went to sleep as our friend Rachael was arriving at 8:30am.  

On the final day in Phuket (Rachael in-tow….thanks again for being a trooper and coming out the whole day) we were advised that "Freedom Beach" had some of the best water on the island.  We took a short cab to the walking point (bumpy as hell- riding on shit terrain) and then started the walk down.  It was one of those moments where we realized that bartering our price down for the taxi, made us vulnerable to being screwed over.  The walk down to the beach could be described as treacherous for various reasons, but mostly because the trajectory was equal to a wall.  It was sandy, but also covered in rocks, crevices, loose branches, etc and it was nearly impossible to stay stable.  We also were lugging a bunch of crap, so it was uncomfortable to put it lightly.  Once we made it down we saw a nice set of stairs around the edge of the forest and realized the taxi driver thoughtfully dropped us off away from that entry point (asshole).  Once we got down to the water it was unanimous that it was totally worth it.  The water was so blue and clear that you could see straight down, plus just beyond the first 20 yards of water there was some great snorkeling spots.  We spent the whole day there including a short game of sand volleyball with some Italian travelers. Once we returned back to the hostel we took our time showering and decompressing from the day, then headed out with all the other hostel goers.  I had to leave around 2am to wait for my brother, Blake, and other friend, Jasmeet- who were flying into Phuket that night/morning.  Once I got to the hostel I got a few messages indicating Blake was delayed and that when he had arrived the airline had lost his bag.  Blake was actually supposed to arrive the same morning as Rachael, but the airline cancelled his flight and rebooked him for the next day.  Long story short- flying across the world is never easy and the two of them didn't actually get to the hostel till 4:15am.  Our ferry to Koh Phi Phi had an 8:30am pickup, so we immediately went to sleep and woke up to catch out shuttle.

The ferry over to Phi Phi was great and it allowed us to have a bunch of different views of the island.  Once we arrived we took our stuff to our hotel, checked-in and then moved around the island for lunch/sightseeing.  We ended up meeting with some of the people that Alexa and I had met on Koh Tao, so it was fun seeing some familiar faces.  Everyone was pretty exhausted, so we did make it home at a somewhat reasonable hour.

The second day on Phi Phi ended up being one of the best days because we took a 45 minute walk along the edge of the island to "Long Beach" and it was beautiful.  We had brought a bunch of Chang (Thai beer) and spent most of the day there just meeting new people and figuring out ideas for later in the trip. One of the things that I really appreciated about this particular beach was that it wasn't that easy to get to, so it allowed us to see a huge part of the island that is off the beaten path.  We decided we didn't want to take the long trek back, so we hired a long tail boat to drop us off at the pier near our hotel.  The same night we met up with our Welsh friends that we had met in Koh Samui and went out for a few hours.   They had also told us about this booze cruise they were doing the following day and recommended we join.  At the time I was apprehensive because the cost seemed steep, but ended up being totally worth it.

The third day was the cruise, so we got up early and bought tickets for the boat and then met at the pier around 1pm.  The cruise ended up lasting close to 7 hours and they took us all over the islands.  The first stop was "Monkey Beach" and it literally is a series of limestone cliffs that lead into clear blue water that is totally inhabitated by monkeys.  The crew handed out bananas and different fruit and we actually were able to hand feed the little guys (in reality- a terrible idea as they get somewhat aggressive) and whether we wanted to or not; swim with them.  The monkeys would dive-bomb off the cliffs at you, I actually grabbed one and it crawled up my shoulder to sit on my head.  The second stop was this beautiful lagoon where we just sat in diapers (life jackets inverted to sit in) and got to just hang/socialize, which allowed us to get to know everyone on the cruse pretty well.  The third stop was a really quiet snorkeling point on the reverse side of Maya beach and next to a giant limestone boulder.  We were able to see some puffer fish, schools of fish and swim through a short cave (Blake, Alexa and I were the only people on the whole ship who did it!).  The next stop was one more snorkeling point and then finally Maya beach.  Maya beach is famous in Koh Phi Phi because of the views and scenery surrounding it.  Our final day on Phi Phi was pretty low-key and it was really just an opportunity to hangout as a group before everyone took off.  Jasmeet, Alexa, and Rachael flew out the next day, so we took the first ferry back that next morning and headed to airport shortly after.  Blake and I had one more day to hang out, but I was flying to Malaysia that night and Blake back to the states very early the next day (3am flight - ouch), so we just hung at the hotel pool/nearby beach.

I'm now sitting in my hostel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia thinking about the last 30 days in Thailand.  I have definitely had some moments where I was ready to be back home, but those definitely were outweighed by the moments I wanted to stay.  I would like to thank my friends/family who traveled all the way to the other side of the world to visit and a special thanks to Alexa for sticking it out for the full 30 days!  




See photos here.

Tags: beaches, thailand


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