Aboard a big blue ferry we would lay claim to the front of the boat in the open air along with several other passengers wanting the same thing. A two-hour crossing allowed us to have some time to sit across from one another and share some time together talking, sitting in silence and just being together.
The boat ride long and sweaty both excited as we pulled up to the pier of Phi Phi Island excited to see what the next four days would bring us. Phi Phi is an island is a group of six islands. The two main islands are Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh. The larger and inhabited Phi Phi Don attracts hundreds of visitors to stay on its lovely shores while the smaller uninhabited Phi Phi Leh hosts stunningly beautiful bays and beaches.
The island is 12.25 km² without any vehicles leaving us with the perception that it would be quiet and peaceful. We arrived on the pier swarming with tourists both exiting and boarding two ferry boats that had pulled up at the same time. It was chaos with people trying to dig their luggage out from under a massive pile unable to wait for the crew to unload the luggage onto the dock which, from my experience, has been the normal procedure.
No cars, no tuk tuks, no bikes meant only one thing – you must walk to your accommodation. We were under the understanding that Phi Phi was a sleepy little island, quiet & peaceful. Our accommodation was a 10 minute walk, little did we know the island of Phi Phi is a maze of walkways going in all directions, at each intersection there were four ways one could go, asking for directions at each intersection we found our guesthouse. Instantly I felt uneasy as we made our way to our room through stifling hot hallways to the final turn where there was a white picket fence separating us from the hotel a few meters away. It was even more stifling hot in the sparsely decorated room that had a bathroom door the creaked along the floor as you shut it and resembled more of a metal gate than a bathroom door. I instantly knew I did not want to stay here, we concurred and did a quick walk about to locate another accommodation only to find that Phi Phi Island is also one of the most expensive Islands in Thailand and a room in a decent, nothing fancy but just decent was also going to cost the equivalent of $100 per night. We decided to stay the night and see how we felt in the morning.
As we settled in for the night early both exhausted from the travel day, the party crowd descended on the Island the music became louder and louder, thumping base resonated through the Island into our room, we noticed that the young 20 somethings staying all around us were getting their groove on pre-drinking as they got ready to head out for the night. It was not ideal but we decided that we would tough it out and stay the four days we had already booked through the tourist agency.
We had full busy days leaving us both exhausted by night fall falling into bed and settling in early enough to miss all of the shenanigans happening just outside our paper-thin walls each night. We would drift off to sleep each night with fist pumping, base thumping club music blaring from the speakers of both the bucket sales man around the corner and the clubs nearby. Feeling blessed that my 20 something daughter has no desire to partake in that scene.
We would wander around the island, hang out at the beach, eat good food and enjoy each other’s company constantly sipping on mango shakes.
Hanging out with a fist pumping vegan kinda limits our food options so we scoured the island finding some of the finest restaurants eating some amazing foods.
We arranged a day trip to Bamboo Island, Monkey Beach, Maya Island and enjoyed two rounds of snorkeling along the way. Aboard a long tail boat with a tiny cover above our heads to keep the sun off, level with the sea so each time the boat was rocked by a wave, which was pretty much all day, we were sprayed with water as the waves seemed to jump right into the boat, we got drenched. At one point our new friend, Sophie put on her mask and snorkel as we bumped along to keep the water from spraying in her face, brilliant idea, Jenny and I did the same.
This picture requires and explanation – it was rough and water was spraying in the boat from all directions, I could not see anything, my iphone was in a waterproof case around my neck and I was trying to get an adorable selfie – this was the result! Many, many belly laughs over this picture. Children love to tease their parents, as least mine do, she laughed until tears spilled down her cheeks looking at this picture.
Bamboo Island & Monkey Island.
Maya Beach was made famous by the film “The Beach” featuring Leonardo Di Caprio. Absolutely stunning white sand beaches that’s sheltered by 100-meter high cliffs on three sides, the only way to get to the beach is to jump in the water and swim about 50 meters to a rope ladder, climb to the top, walk down a poorly put together ramp, through a bit of forest following a trail that comes out onto the most beautiful view I have ever seen.
Phi Phi island is an interesting place, a party island, a maze with many 20 somethings sluging buckets to thumping music pathway strewn with tatoo shops, tour companies, tourist shops selling all the same things along with some wonderful restaurants. Not unhappy to be leaving and moving onto something a little more peaceful and quiet. Nothing peaceful about Phi Phi Island.
An interesting look into equiminity and how it can or cannot be maintained while surrounded by anything but peace and serenity. The inward journey is in full force each and every day taking a step back and inside myself to witness the inner working of my mind in such a situation. It took careful consideration and many pauses to continue to keep myself grounded while surrounded with a world that no longer appeals to me in anyway. I found myself feeling ungrounded on more than one occasion during my time on this island.