Thursday, 1 October 2015

Yes, I Did Think Tilda Swinton Was Watching Me

Koh Phi-Phi, Thailand

Koh Phi-Phi on pieces of paper, pronounced as ‘pee-pee’, had been on my list since my last stint in Western Australia; a Dane I’d met had shared photos of her time diving here and my interest was therefore set in stone. Whilst scuba diving isn’t my thing, snorkelling is so that was another reason for making a trip happen in 2014. Fortunately for me I had seven friendlies to share in the experience with.

Koh Phi-Phi, Thailand (taken 2014)

Making the boat ride from Krabi, a two hour long trip in which repairs were made once we were upon the Andaman (seriously!), we arrived in a sun drenched paradise aplenty with longboats and where everything proved itself immensely easy to make happen. This I considered one advantage Phi-Phi has over the rest of Thailand.

Everything and everywhere is reached on foot or by bicycle, which I for one didn’t mind. Some of us did have our views of this element, what with people on the cycles like to get in the way, but if a mix of opinions isn’t on the go then something’s wrong. One part many of us agreed on is that a lot of time shouldn’t be devoted. Two or three days on the island will suit you just fine.

There are a few highlights, all of which can happen at the drop of a hat, I’d like to share. For me it included seeing another pet gibbon and having some good coconut ice cream, but there’s also a consistent nightlife I surprisingly could handle and some visible snorkelling (they don’t allow flippers but you might want to bring your own mask), it was the spots working the sunlight that had me happy to have made the journey.

Koh Phi-Phi, Thailand (taken 2014)

The Viewpoint, once a safe haven for the many escaping the Boxing Day Tsunami and a time killer I learnt about on arriving, was our first stop. One of just many walks on offer, the staircase leading to the top does come off as steep (not the first I’ve taken on) but once that’s out of the way the view of Phi-Phi at sunset is nothing short of spectacular. Consider this a happy accident, if you will.

The Viewpoint, Koh Phi-Phi, Thailand (taken 2014)

We weren’t alone (I came with two Brazilians but was amazed at how many more we found at the top) but a seat on the rocks can be claimed, as well as the all too important photo moment. The group shot was taken by a girl from Miami who I almost swore had an Aussie accent and yes, good shots of me can very rarely be achieved.

Moving onwards, and losing three of our number, we eventually departed for the next highlight. To be factual we were all on an add-on tour provided by ThaIntro which included a live aboard experience to Maya Bay, most commonly known as ‘the Beach’. Danny Boyle filmed his flick The Beach here and at one point, under the shroud of night, I was convinced Tilda Swinton was going to jump out and bring me into her cult. That aside, much of everything else was stunning.              

Maya Bay, Koh Phi-Phi, Thailand (taken 2014)

We had the whole of Maya Bay for the evening where hot curry, buckets and a ball game was had whilst tiny bats flew over. The tour crew were really positive and liked to keep us moving; they played that All Saints song a couple of times (which eventually got stale) and there was a race of hermit crabs. For those wondering, these little guys can give you a nip but that’s as far as it goes, and that’s speaking from personal experience.

However, this is where I must give into morality; if the opportunity to do a live aboard of Maya Bay is granted, turn it down for a day trip. The experience was great, this I admit freely, but only up until the point where we returned to the boat for the night. This was achieved by jumping from a rope ladder into a dingy whilst seawater was hitting the rocks. The crew were comforting after this, for which I am appreciative, but being a teacher of water safety I can’t in good conscious put anyone else on this path; Maya Bay is still pretty fine during the day.

This all out in the open, I’ll just add that everything else wasn’t a bad decision made whatsoever. It’s important to find a positive in your steps, no matter how many or few there might be. Thailand is manic and exhausting, but that’s just how it is, and if Phi-Phi’s a possibility then climb aboard. Just be sure the boat is seaworthy first.

Kòrp kun.
Maya Bay, Koh Phi-Phi, Thailand (taken 2014)