Going to “The Beach” – Phi Phi Island

8 10 2012

Item’s I have learned today:

-There is the whole system of organised theives on the overnight bus journeys in SE ASIA.  If you have anything of value.. keep it on you (or as they so over there “on your person”! ) I met quite a few people who had money, souvenirs, electronics, you name it stolen out of their bags that they were storing underneath the bus

-Fox caused a lot of drama when filming “the beach” as they tried to make it look more “paradise like.”  Having been there, I would say that’s pretty unnecessary as the place was AMAZING. damn film studios.. lol.

Lounging in Koh Phi Phi

Lounging in Koh Phi Phi

After a few days in Bangkok, it was off on an overnight bus adventure to Phi Phi Island (an Island on the West Coast of Thailand).  I hauled my backpack and gear to the travel office and waited. I should have known from the venture to my “bus,” that it was going to be an interesting journey. First off, I was supposed to leave from outside the travel agency at 6pm.. someone finally showed up to “escort me” around 6:45pm.  Next, my walking escort decided the walk was too far, got on a motorbike, sped down the alleys… and ever so politely occasionally slowed down so I could catch up (let me remind you I was carrying massive amounts of crap).  We ended up in one place, the motorbike escort determined it was wrong, so we walked to another.  On arrival at our second “pick up” location, Motorbike tour person realised that the first stop was the right place, and asked if I wanted to hop on the back of the motorbike. Um, Hello? Maria and coordination, and motorbikes in foreign countries are never going to be a good match, let alone when I have a 20k backpack on! So I trekked back to the original destination to board the bus. SUCH FUN. Not that I ever complain.. ever. But come on now? I’m not exactly the worlds buffest person.. so having a fun little adventure stroll with my massive back pack wasn’t exactly my idea of the best time ever.  Once I was finally on board….I pretty much had anything I cared about in a bag on my lap.. the only thing that actually went under the bus was my clothes.  The person next to me LOVED this. but whatever. I wanted to keep my personal belongings thank you very much!

The bus left at about 7:30pm.. we had a few stops.. took a late night break and then arrived some where else at 5:00am.  When I booked my ticket, I was told that it would be a bus and boat ride, and that I would arrive on Phi Phi Island by 11:00am the next day.  Well this wonderful little morning stop lasted 90 mins while we waited for bus number two.  We then drove for a few hours until we got to a travel agency where (surprise, surprise) we had to wait for bus number three.  This apparently happens all time. Tour companies will arrange the bus journeys, but you will make all sorts of “pit stops” where there is nothing but a travel agency or food.  The idea is that hopefully you book more, or buy something.  Finally after another hour, our third bus comes and we are off to the dock.  The boat departs at 1:00pm.  We get there around 4:00pm.   Not exactly 11!  I was fine, as I wasn’t on any sort of deadline, but I felt really bad for a couple I met on bus number three.  They only had a few days, this was supposed to be a nice romantic get away for them.. and they had lost a full day on our wonderful little bus excursion… oh the joy.

Reyana, a friend that I made while touring around New Zealand recommended a hostel called the rock.  She warned me that the beds are like rocks, but that I would walk in and make an instant group of friends.  Considering the fact that I was hot and cranky, I seriously doubted that I would form any serious friendships.. but she was right.  I walked in all tired and sweaty and was immediately followed by Lucy and Katie.  We bonded over our shared hatred for the stairs that led up to the dorm room, then immediately decided to head down to the beach.

Phi Phi island is a small island with out any cars. Everything is carried around in these huge trolleys.  It’s amusing because when you are in the way, the Thai drivers will literally just yell out “beep beep.”  The beach is beautiful, although it is slightly unnerving that a huge garbage pile boat lies smack dab in the middle of it… contaminated much? But on a hot day, when I had just lugged my 20k backpack around and climbed a butt load of stairs, I didn’t care. The water was warm and felt heavenly.. even if I was surrounded by yesterdays garbage (lol, aren’t I doing a great job of selling the place?)

It was then back to the hostel to meet the other roommates and head out on the town. The great thing about the rock is that it really does become an instant community as everyone is similar (well in the sense that we are from all over the world, on a budget, and travelling).    Phi Phi comes alive at night, with numerous parties on the beach and fire dances (where locals have batons made of fire and put on shows.. usually to trance music).

Entrance to our overnight camping trip (on the beach)

Entrance to our overnight camping trip (on the beach)

Reyana had also recommended doing an overnight camping trip at a place called Maya Bay.  Maya Bay is where they filmed the movie “The Beach.”  Aurelia, one of the girl’s staying at The Rock wanted to do the trip as well, so we booked it together.  Maya Bay has become an insanely popular tourist destination, with 5,000,0002  companies doing day tours out there. (I’m really not exaggerating…. all that much) The nice thing about doing the over night camping trip.. is that we had the beach to ourselves, it was literally just the tour group.  Although I do wish it had been a bit longer as the group was big and we were a bit segregated, but it was still amazing.

The overnight trip consisted of arriving just as all the day trips were leaving, having a pot luck dinner, doing a “jungle trek…” LOL now that one was amusing. I proceeded to change from my dress into pants and shoes… what I didn’t realise was that this trek was on a regular pathway with lights all along the side.. it was more like a leisurely stroll through the woods.. but hey, was still a good time.. although the gear change was completely un-neccessary.

We then all relaxed, took in the sites, and  of course went for a late night swim.  I almost forgot about the plankton!!  They are these little microscopic fish, but when you make movement they sparkle.. so literally it feels like you are swimming with fairy dust… straight out of a disney movie.  Probably one of the coolest experiences I had on the whole trip.

Maya Bay and I

Maya Bay and I

That and of course spending the night under the stars on the beach… that part was absolutely phenomenal..  you know just the small things in life 🙂  If you ever get a chance to make it to Thailand.. I highly recommend the overnight trip to Maya Bay.. it still has become a bit more touristy than years past. but at the same time, I am really really glad I had a chance to do it.

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