Asia, Thailand

Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

Our first SE asia trip consisted of two parts: Laos and Thailand. After we spent our few (i.e. not enough) days in Laos, we headed south to the most famous island in Thailand: Phi Phi.

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Originally posted 2/1/2011

We woke up from our one night in Phuket and take the hotel shuttle to the port where we endured a 2 hour ferry to Phi Phi Don, the island that will be our home for the next 8 days. We’re now in the southern part of Thailand and the weather is extremely hot. The ferry docks and we’re starved so we find a restaurant. My love for Tom Kha started at this very spot. If you aren’t familiar with Thai food, it’s a sort of coconut-lemongrass soup and to this day I order it nearly every time we get Thai food. Once fed we walked down the main “road” (no cars) and look for our hotel, Bay View Resort. It’s the last resort on the first of two main beaches on this side of the island. We check in and are taken up to our bungalow which is so cute and bungalowy and I love it.

Side note: Al ate a very questionable sandwich from a street cart back in Laos and he’s been feeling it on and off since we were on the plane in Bangkok. By the time we get up to the room the food poisoning has now severely set in and he can’t even leave the room. I walk back into town and find a pharmacy and since in Thailand you can get any kind of meds over the counter, I just tell the lady what’s wrong with him and she gives me some kind of strong antibiotic and a Rx level pain killer. I take him the meds and I go down and start my vacation by getting a $12 massage on the beach. He feels better the next day but maintains it’s the best sandwich he’s ever eaten.
The next few days are spent in utter relaxation despite our weather being dreadful. It was overcast nearly every day and rained for about an hour each of those. We found a bookshop and bought a bunch of books and spent a lot of the rainy times out on our porch. Not the perfect picture I was imagining, but still relaxation at its finest.

New Year’s Eve rolled around and we spent it eating the biggest buffet dinner ever at our hotel then headed down the path into town to find someplace to hang out for a while. We got a few buckets (WAY more expensive than in Laos) and settled in to enjoy each other’s company and wait on midnight. Al ended up meeting some guys from France and I got bored listening to their French chatter of which I can only understand maybe 50%,  so a little after midnight I headed back to the bungalow and Al stayed out with them.

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Our last few days we finally got beautiful weather. Phi Phi is made of two islands: Phi Phi Don (inhabited) and Phi Phi Ley (uninhabited). Phi Phi Ley is famed for being one of the most beautiful places on the planet so I wasn’t going over there on a cloudy day. We waited until the weather cleared and charterd a longtail boat to the island for 6 hours. Our nice Thai boat guy named Kip took us all around the island to different snorkeling spots and finally stopped at the well-known Maya Bay where they filmed the movie “The Beach” with Leonardo DiCaprio. The scenery around the island and the view from the beach was astonishing. The turquoise water with towering sea cliffs nearly completely surrounding the lagoon was something that, just like in Vang Vieng, I’ll never be able to capture with a camera to fully register how beautiful it was in person.

While relaxing on Maya Beach we thought it was strange that there were a lot of bodyguard sized men and cops running around the place.  It turns out that the Thai royal family was there! Random. But they left soon after and took all the badged men with them.  After leaving, we stopped at a beach crowded with monkeys, most of which are completely unafraid of people and will happily steal anything and everything you have.

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Once time to depart, we bought some more souvenirs and headed back down the dock to board the ferry back to Phuket. Sad face. Once back in Phuket we had all day to kill before we boarded our plane back to Bangkok so we found a giant mall to roam around in. Because we have been living in rice-paddy Japan and missing some aspects of civiliation, we decided to see a movie. It turns out the Phuket mall has one of those luxury cinemas so we splurged and saw “The Tourist” in absolute bliss. They’re quite extravagant, luxury cinemas. We buy our $18 tickets and wait in the fancy lounge where there’s free food and cake and drinks. They call everyone in when it’s time to start and you have a Lay-Z-Boy, a blanket and pillow and your popcorn and pop of choice is there waiting for you on a stand beside said Lay-Z-Boy. It was well worth my $18.

We finish the movie, get to the airport and hop our plane back to Bangkok. We arrive at 11pm or so and wait on our shuttle to hotel #4 of 5. It was pretty nice for a Bangkok airport hotel. Our flight out of Thailand the next day didn’t leave until evening and by this time we were running very short on funds so, unfortunately, we didn’t have the money to take a quick trip into Bangkok to see the sites for a few hours. We just had some lunch, went to the airport and checked in and chilled in the airport for 3 or 4 hours, ha! Booooring. We boarded our flight and started north. Just like our trip down we had a layover in Taipei but on the way home it was an overnight layover. So we land and check into our last hotel of the trip. We board our LAST flight the following morning bound for Osaka.

Once in Osaka we had to wait on our bus, which was about 2 hours after we landed. But WAIT! Al forgot to set his watch to local Japan time so we missed that bus and have to wait another 2 hours for the next one! Let’s just say I was less than amused.

So 7 flights, 5 hotels, 2 tubes, 6 buses, multiple tuk tuks and 6 passport stamps later I’m sitting back in cold Japan wishing I was still on this amazing vacation with good food, good drinks and great friends. (cheesy ending)

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