Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The Phi Phi ("Pee Pee") Islands

From Phuket, we made our way (via multiple modes of transportation yet again) to Koh Phi Phi Don Island.

It wasn't what we were expecting, but it was still a great experience. We had been anticipating vast expanses of white sandy beaches, but were faced with a small town-like atmosphere filled with shops and vendors. On either side of the island were two kind of half-beaches. The first one can barely be classified as a beach as it was basically a pier, and the other side was hit-and-miss. This is what the beach looked like during our first visit...

Not so inviting. The tide was waaaaaay out revealing nothing but a muddy beach with completely visible boats/anchors scattered about. We still walked around though.

If there's one thing this country can claim besides inexpensive goods, it's ratty looking cats and dogs. Dan unintentially began a game of fetch-and-kill-small-defenseless-fish with this doggy on the low-tide beach.

Dan was ACTUALLY attempting to throw the fish into safer waters, but this dog was just too quick.

(If you look closely near the dog's lethal left paw, you may spot the recently lifeless fish).

Our next trip to the same beach was much more successful and the boats were actually submerged the regular amount...

Our accomodations lacked air conditioning and fully enclosed walls, but it had rustic charm. The Chunut house was actually several little tree houses.

As mentioned previously, the food here definitely leaned more towards the overwhelming side of the whelm scale. It was inexpensive and yummy. We've generally discovered that Western food in Thailand is kind of a no-no, but we found one joint here that mastered it.

Now THAT'S a burger!

Besides relaxing and perusing the island at our own pace, our main activity was a day trip with a water taxi. We were taken to snorkel hot spots, and multiple surrounding islands.

While we waited for our water taxi driver to pick us up, the man at the travel center entertained us with You Tube videos. Man, that Nathan from 'This Hour has 22 Minutes' is quite a character!

Anyhoo, our driver did pick us up, and our journey began.

(These are our new Dutch and Norwegian friends. The Dutch boy in the neon shorts reminded us of cousin Steve Larsen, so we automatically liked him best).

First stop was monkey beach. We didn't linger here because apparently the monkeys can get aggressive, but we stopped long enough to feed the monkeys, watch them drink from water bottles, and naughtily crawl on a fellow tourists' head.

Next, we stopped for our first snorkel experience in Thailand!

I briefly questioned the sanitation of the mouthpieces, but then decided that the hesitation just wasn't worth it.

We purchased a less-than-fabulous disposable underwater camera and got some fun (although slightly crappy) shots.

(Carlynne and I are hiding behind some fishies!)

En route to the next snorkel stop, we passed a cave where bird nests were harvested for bird nest soup.

So odd.

At our next snorkel stop, the drivers congregated on our boat and cut up fruit for us. They didn't just hack and slice the fruit- they cut it so elegantly...what a treat!

We were told that the fish especially appreciated the watermelon, so Daniel dove in with watermelon in hand... and he was very popular.

The snorkel stop right before our final destination was Daniel's fave. It was a clear lagoon between two cliff faces. I think it is now his "happy place".

Our final stop was 'The Beach' (aka Maya Beach) where the movie 'The Beach' with Leo DeCaprio was filmed. Apparently when the movie was filmed, 20th Century Fox bulldozed the beach to widen it and make it look like "paradise" (which was followed by lawsuits up the wazoo). Thai politicians banned the Beach from Thailand because they were upset with the depicted drug culture and "blasphemous" buddha scenes. Interestingly, the Tsunami is to thank for restoring its natural beauty. Here are some scenes captured from the movie...

And now for OUR experience at The Beach.

Direct access to the beach is restricted, so we had to go through a tunnel, up some sketchy stairs, and down a path before reaching The Beach.

There was no shortage of these oh-so-reassuring signs...

We watched the sun set on our boat before retiring to our treehouse. We thought it would be appropriate to watch the movie 'The Beach' together to commemorate the experience. The four of us snuggled on a double bed together (as we have often done) to watch it. Carlynne and I were ansy from the start, and I claimed I needed the toilet about 30 minutes in. Carlynne happily slithered out of the bed with me, and together we went to their bungalow to watch Gilmore Girls on the ipod. So there you go... The Beach is NOT a girly movie. Leo or no Leo, it did not suit our tastes.

On our final day on Koh Phi Phi Don, we decided to hike to the viewpoint. It was only a 20-minute hike or so, but we accidentally went the wrong way at first (adding about an hour) and it was HOT. We all had insane amounts of sweat dripping off of us (not like that's anything new in this country!) But good thing the viewpoint was worth all the sweat in the world (and also a popular place to congregate)...

From Koh Phi Phi Don we headed to BOTTLE BEACH which was a relaxing oasis- I would go so far as to say overwhelming... but more on that later!


Shelley said...

great photos! i remember when "the beach" came out and there was so much stuff in the paper about how the film industry was being sued and banned from there. Craziness!

Bloggy Mama said...

Totally cool. Beautiful water... looks like paradise, that's for sure.

Chaeles Bagli said...

mann i love bird's nest soup too even IF its made from spit!!! <333

i eat it like once every monthish and used to bought from website hongkong-bird-nest.50webs.com/index_e.htm sometimes, my mom went back to hong kong and bought a full suitcase of it cause its cheaper there XD