Saturday, April 1, 2017

Day 12 &. 13- Phi Phi Island- The Long Walk and Underwater Magic




Phi Phi Island is stunningly gorgeous.

After breakfast at the resort restaurant on the beach, John suggested we go for a little walk to the Phi Phi viewpoint.

We got on the path and followed the signs. The path weaved itself up and up and up. In some areas the incline was quite steep which took a lot of energy to climb in the heat. We saw lizards and beautiful flowers along the way but it was quite hard work going uphill in the heat. Every now and then we would pass a sign saying "Viewpoint" with an arrow pointing the way which made us think it was just around the corner. An hour into the walk, cheery Kim had turned into angry and incredibly crabby Kim.

When we finally did reach the viewpoint, there were actually three viewpoints (but we missed one of them). The views were stunning looking over the lush landscape and the vibrant teal and emerald waters. Gorgeous.

The way down was a lot quicker and easier but with many steps leading directly into the town. We realized that it would have taken us half the time if we had taken the opposite direction from our bungalow and gone through the town and up the stairs. Oh well, part of the journey.

We went to a restaurant overlooking the water and had a nice glass of wine (me) and a large Chang beer (John) with our lunch.

We also stopped at my favourite natural health store and bought more 100% organic essential oils which are a really good deal in Thailand. In Canada it costs about $20-$30 a bottle where in Thailand it is $8 per bottle.

Back at the bungalow, we sat out front on the beach and relaxed. I got a kick out of a peacock that was chased past me by two irritated locals...not sure what offence said peacock had committed.

Late afternoon we went down to a bar at the end of our beach (Long Beach) that John discovered earlier to watch the sun go down.

The sunset was fine but the colours in the clouds were spectacular.

We met Sarah & Kyle from Minnesota and their friends. We spent a fun evening chatting as we waited for the fire show. John and Kyle in the spirit of international relations shared several buckets of rum and coke...yes they sell buckets that come with numerous straws for sharing.

The fire show started later than advertised. I was a little concerned because the fire thrower had really fuzzy, kinky hair which he had gathered up into a beach ball sized ponytail at the top of his head. I hoped that he hadn't used hairspray or the show would end with one horrifying grand finale.

After the show, John and I headed back towards our bungalow, stopping for a late supper.

The next morning, after breakfast, John and I caught a speedboat, the Rose Hanna, from our beach and headed out for an all day snorkeling and sightseeing tour of beaches, coves and snorkel areas on Phi Phi and the outlying islands.

Our first stop was Maya Beach which is where the Leonardo DiCaprio movie "The Beach" was shot. This beach is on an island close to Phi Phi so can only be reached by boat. Surrounded by huge cliffs on three sides, lush jungle, powder white sand and bright jade colored waters,  it is a stunningly gorgeous, idyllic beach except for the hordes of tourists all over it, us included. In hindsight, it probably would have been more enjoyable if we had seen it on a 6:30am tour when it was less crowded.

We next stopped at a sheltered bay for some snorkeling. Fish were plentiful and large schools of beautiful blue fish would come so close that they would practically hit your mask. The other joy of snorkeling here is the warmth of the water, just like a bath.

We stopped at another island called Monkey Island. There were lots of really tame monkeys that would come and sit on people's shoulders when they fed them. Some tourists were even giving them cans of coke. Not good for the monkeys or tourists.

We stopped for a boxed lunch on a nice beach on Bamboo Island before continuing on to Wong Long Bay which was entered through a narrow gap in the cliffs. The water was so clear, we could see endless schools of small fish clearing the way as our boat floated in and a beautiful large jellyfish pumping his way past.

We stopped for more snorkeling in another deep bay, enjoying the many fish, large sea clams and purplish blue things on the coral that would shut themselves up when any fish swam by. 

 Our last stop was in the shallower water, not far from our bungalow. We saw different types of sea life here. The bottom was scattered with sea cucumbers. There were bright blue damsel fish, many vibrant parrot fish and even a small eel. Some in our group saw reef sharks. So cool.

We were dropped off in town where (despite still being wet) we had supper in a seaside restaurant under the huge canopy of a very large tree. 

Early evening showers started and we walked back in the warm rain. The tide was out so we even were able to walk across some of the tidal flats thus saving us a few climbs up and down hills.

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