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Ko Phi Phi. The Island In the sun

Thailand The Fabled Country

sunny 32 °C

It was our intention to stay on Pee Pee for a day if we found any accommodation or return back to Krabi the same day or go to Phuket. However, we got a double room at Uphill Cottages and decided to stay one night and go back the next day on the last ferry leaving at 16.00 hrs. Our cottage was the last one at the top and I found it difficult to go up all the steps to reach our room. The view from the balcony which overlooked the pond and the countryside was great and the room was OK. The bed was comfortable and there were few mosquitoes, however there was a bad smell in the bathroom and the fan was throwing down all the air right on top of us. And every time I tried to open the tap, it would come out of the socket. And no mirror.

So when we went down and told the manager about this problem of bad smell and climbing up all the steps, his wife laughed and promised to change the room next day and give us the very first room at the beginning of the steps. We also met an old lady from Singapore who had the room next to ours and had been staying there for more than one year. So we said what the heck, if a woman older than us can climb up all the steps, we could do the same. And next day when we came back in the afternoon, our luggage had been moved to the new room which indeed was spacious, with a big bed and properly tiled bath room. But no mirror.

So instead of staying one night, we stayed there three nights and enjoyed our sojourn. On the morning of our last day, we got up early, went down and had a breakfast of pancakes filled with chicken and cabbage, fresh fruit juice and coffee and then strolled down to the beach. There were few people about although we knew that by ten 0'clock the beach will be full. All the young people must be sleeping after enjoying Pee Pee nights out. The sea was calm, not a breeze and we waded in the water for nearly a kilometer and the water barely reached our waist. What a fantastic place is Pee Pee.

Afterwards we left the beach and came back to the Uphill Cottages and showered and changed and came down again to find about the ferries leaving for Krabi and Pukhet. We were told by the wife of the manager that ferries left at 14.00 hours and we could buy the ticket right there, from them. So that was that, the husband brought down our luggage and told us that he will take it to the jetty. So once again we went strolling through the winding streets, saying hello to everybody and reached the jetty. at 12.00 hours we said good bye to Ko Phi Phi Don, the island in the Sun and took the ferry to Krabi Town.

Posted by The Islander 10:56 Archived in Thailand Tagged boating Comments (0)

Ko Phi Phi Don

Thailand The Fabled Country

sunny 32 °C

The islands of Phi Phi Don (so named officially) and Phi Phi Leh are equidistant from Krabi and Phuket and you can go there from either Krabi town or Krabi beach Ao Nang. The fare from Krabi town is Bht.200 and from Ao Nang Bht.390. It takes two hours to reach Phi Phi (or Pee Pee as it is called).

The ferry journey is exciting, the azure of the sea changes to dark green and then turquoise, rocks crop up out of the water and tropical forest accompanies you as you journey along the wide span of the sea. When we went to PeePee from Krabi, there was hardly any other craft on the water, now and then a boat passed or we saw a sailing boat in the horizon. No traffic until we reached Pee Pee. We later learned that boats arrived in the mornings and left in the afternoons and the last boat to Krabi and Phuket left at 16.00 hours.

Before we could dock at the jetty, hundreds and hundreds of tropical fish greeted us, swimming around the boat and near the shore. What a thrilling experience it was. The colour of water was turquoise and the heat and the hustle and bustle of passangers arriving, gave us the sensation that we were indeed landing on an island. Then the trek to reach our Uphill Cottage, through the winding streets full of shops and restaurants. No motorized traffic, only bicycles and the three whell carts lugging visitors' luggage.

Pee Pee Don with its Ton Sai village which has two beaches namely Ton sai beach(south side) and Loh dalum Beach(north side). The beaches are clean with white sand and shallow water, you can walk on for a kilometer or more and the water will still only reach your waist. On the morning of our arrival, we dumped our luggage in our Uphill Cottage and went to have a look at the beach. It seemed that all the passengers of all the boats which had arrived that morning, were lying on the beach. It was so packed with sun bathers that it reminded me of any beach in Spain or Greece on a summer day.

So instead of taking off our clothes and lying down on the sand, we took a stroll through the village. First we had a glass of very cold fresh fruit juice for Bht.20, then had a charcoal grilled corn cob and did some window shopping. The shops were full of articles which you will find in every tourist resort. Coral jewelry, beach wear, T-shirts and shorts, sun hats. I bought a sun hat as I had lost mine in Songkhla. It cost Bht.200 much more expensive than in Hat Yai where it cost Bht.40. T-shirts with Bilabong, Rip Curl and other motives were very popular. Prices were 40% higher than in Hat Yai.
I suppose the prices are higher as every thing has to be brought in from the mainland.

The islands live on tourism, it is an ideal place for young people and back-packers. And the village comes alive at night. Sunflower bar, Tiger Bar, Reggae Bar and other places were full of people chilling out, having a whale of a time, listening to music and drinking cold beer. A sensation of being free, but we saw neither alcohol abuse nor nudity on the beaches.

If one of the reasons of your travel to South Asia is to enjoy food, Thai food is delicious. We were eating Thai and Chinese food every day. No sausages and fries, no pizza or hamburgers. In the morning we came down from our cottage to a cafe for breakfast. This place had a large T.V set and we heard the BBC World News or an Australian channel. For Bht.50 each, we had four slices of toat, butter & jam, glass of fresh fruit juice and coffee and slices of fresh water melon or pineapple.

Another popular breakfast consists of rice noodles with spicy fish curry with vegetables and fresh fruit. Sprinkle it with fish oil or Pad Thai sauce and you have a tasty breakfast for little money. The dish I think is called Khanom Cheen(atleast it is pronounced that way).

Thai stir fried noodles with shrimps, chicken, bean curd and vegetables is a favourite dish. It is called Phat Thai.
Another popular dish is Khao Mok which is saffron rice with roasted chicken, ginger pieces and garlic in a sweet & sour bean sauce or soya sauce. Also delicious. Naturally the fish occupies the place of honour among South Asia cuisine. We had fried fish, fish with lemon grass and ginger in a light sauce. Squid, calamari, prawns. A real delight.

The day's activities consist of diving, snorkeling, rock climbing and sun bathing and swimming. You can take a tour of the islands with a long tail boat or a fast yacht and mid-sea stop and dive in the turquoise waters to see hundreds of different kinds of tropical fish. You can hire the long tail boat for one or two persons or go with a group of other people. A long tail boat takes a maximum of 12 passengers. Otherwise a fast launch with much more people. In the evening you can join hundreds of people going on boats to see the Sunset. Pee Pee are no doubt the islands in the sun. The ideal time to visit is from October to May, during the monsoon season, boats find it difficult to come in the islands and berthing can be hazardous.

Posted by The Islander 18:38 Archived in Thailand Tagged boating Comments (0)

Krabi to Ko Phi Phi

Thailand The Fabled Country

sunny 35 °C

We had booked our ferry tickets to Phi Phi at the hostel the night before, it cost Bht.390pp and we were told to be ready and at the reception at 8.00 hrs. next morning. We had to wait 45 minutes for the pickup bus, which turned out to be a truck, with two long benches placed vertically. Kind of transport used to ferry farm laborers. From our hostel we were the only two passengers, we piled in and the truck started its round and picking up more people from various hotels. Then a long ride to the ferry jetty. We were surprised to see the large number of people going to Phi Phi and other islands. Lots of activity on the harbor.

The day was bright and very warm and we were looking forward to going to Phi Phi of which we had heard so much. After all the passengers had arrived and were boarded, their luggage piled up, we started. Almost all the passangers were young backpackers, seasoned travelers of today. They were relaxed, used to isle hopping. Midway to Phi Phi, we saw to our further surprise that the ferry stopped near an island and there were four or five long boats full of people heading our way. In a few minutes they stopped alongside the ferry and started helping the people to board. . It seemed that there were hundreds and hundreds of people climbing up, backpacks piling higher and higher. I was thinking that with so many passengers, the over loaded ferry might keel over and sink. We have read so many times about such disasters in Asian countries, where boats and ferries cross the sea with an overload of passengers and sink.

The night before, in Krabi, we had tried to book accommodation at the island but every where we asked, we were told that all accommodation on Phi Phi was fully booked and we would not get any room below Bht.3000-4000 per night. So we decided to take a chance, and failing to find any place there, would come back at nightfall. However on arriving at Phi Phi jetty, we found that there was some sort of panic among the passengers, travel agents were shouting and running here and there, hustling people to their respective offices and given little chance of making a decision about the place or the price. In half an hour the place was clear.

After hanging around one office for fifteen minutes, we were told that a double room was available for Bht.700 per night, five minutes from the beach but ten minutes walk from the jetty. We accepted although we were willing to pay up to Bht.`1200 for a beach side cabin. In Phi Phi there are no taxis, passengers' luggage is put in a hand cart and taken to the accommodation rented by them. The owner/manager of our hostel loaded our luggage with some other people's suitcases and started toward his place. It seemed that we took more than ten minutes to reach the hostal and to our more surprise, saw that we had to climb a hill to reach UPHILL COTTAGES. In my photo gallery I have posted a photo showing the cottage we occupied.

Phi Phi is a typical island full of small winding streets with shops selling every thing a visitor might need. There were restaurants and bars, pizza places and shops selling sausages and french fries. Massage parlours and a tatoo shop too. Travel agents and diving schools. Super markets and fruit stalls. Very busy too. Men in swim suits, T-shirts and shorts. Girls in bikinis, pareos and in shorts & T-shirts thronged the narrow streets. However, we found that the island was quiet and peaceful, there was a sensation of being a part of every day life but somehow detached from it too. No doubt the island is so popular.

Phi Phi has two beaches, there was quite some activity of building new accommodation on the island. Rooms to share with other guests, hostels for backpackers, luxury accommodation, Phi phi has every thing. If you are looking for a suitable place to stay and do not want to book with the travel touts on arrival, you will always find some. We went in November which is the peak season, but even then , there was adequate accommodation available, vacancy signs sprouted every where.

Posted by The Islander 07:23 Archived in Thailand Tagged boating Comments (1)

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