Koh Phi Phi – Paradise in the Mist

 

Take me to that beach!

True to their word, the maxi-taxi driver picks us up on time and delivers us to Phuket Port where we ferry across under stormy skies towards the dramatic looking island peeking out from the mist.

Dramatic coastline behind traditional long tail boat

Noisy, crazy-looking long-tail boats motored by reconditioned car engines mounted on a block with a long pole connected to a propeller, carrying fishermen and tourists weave their way around the ferry as we come in to dock just under two hours later in a beautiful crystal water bay and steep jungle covered cliffs; the colours are amazing.

A local takes us under his wing on arrival and guides us to the Tropical Garden Hotel; bungalows nestled on a lush tree-filled hill with butterflies and sweet smelling tropical flowers whose heady, lingering scent follows us as we walk past the swimming pool and into our cute little abode. We head off to explore the ramshackle, labyrinthine streets filled with food stalls, markets, tattoo parlours and dive schools tucked in to every nook and cranny.

The town has a sleepy feel to it; it’s the off season, prices are low and we feel lucky to experience the magical island without having to share it with thousands of other tourists that it looks like the place is geared up for. There are spectacular fire shows every night on the main beach, where the lithe locals spinning poi and fire sticks to the thumping music entice punters to stop and drink and stare a while. The most popular drinks are ‘buckets’ filled with ice, liquor, mixer and a shot of pure Red Bull concentrate that by the looks of the happy faces all around seem to do the trick.

Maya Beach, Koh Phi Phi Leh, busy busy busy

We hire a long-tail boat and pilot for the day who takes us out to Koh Phi Phi Leh  (famous after  the movie The Beach was filmed there)  where if you are able to turn a blind eye to the thousands of other tourists and way too much litter floating around,  the stunning beaches, snorkelling and swimming in bright turquoise water is a real treat.

Getting back to the mainland was unexpectedly very easy; the Thai people seem to really understand the value of keeping tourists happy with a very well organised transition from the ferry and into maxi-taxis that bundled us off happily to our respective hotels back in Patong, well worth the US $17 We paid for the round trip, ferry included. In fact the Thai people are undeniably the happiest bunch I have ever come across in tourist towns; they spend a lot of time chatting and joking amongst themselves, they seem to always have a cheeky spark in their eyes and tend to be a bit more relaxed than other haggling nations.
About Imogen Throp

Imo takes life as it comes, fueling her wander-lust with hard work along the way. She loves the lessons learned through shared experiences, interaction and bloody good yarns. Imo is humbled and awestruck by stories, situations and stunning panoramas that she encounters on her path. Often, all it takes is a smile.

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