Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Phi Phi Islands, Thailand

One of the main reasons we went to Phuket was to get to see the Phi Phi Islands.  The Phi Phis are about 45km from Phuket which takes about an hour or so by speed boat.  Ko Phi Phi Don and Ko Phi Phi Leh are mountainous limestone islands in the Andaman Sea which were made famous from the movie The Beach with Leonardo DiCaprio.

We booked a sail tour with Phuket Sail Tours because they had a very high rating on Trip Advisor, and we were very happy we did!  Our guide, Sampong, was great, and the crew really knew their jobs.  On our tour we had several stops with the first being Maya Bay. This is the exact location The Beach was filmed so it gets very crowded, and an early morning visit is a must to beat them.  Maya Bay is truly breathtaking as cliche as it sounds.  The sand is pure white, the water is aqua blue lined with traditional longtail boats, it's surrounded by lush, green, limestone mountains.  We got to hike up the mountain a bit to check out a lookout point, passing by campers along the way.

Our next stop was Monkey Beach... and that's exactly what it was, a beach with lots of monkeys.  Sampong brought lots of Southeast Asian fruits for us to snack on during our sailing adventure, and he made sure we had plenty to feed the monkeys too.  You just hold the fruit out, and those little things come right up and grab it.

We got to snorkel in two different spots that were very shallow with sea urchins all around, and we went by a really strange cave where birds make their nests out of their spit.  The nests are collected and made into bird nest soup, a delicacy in China, which costs around $1000/kg.  They claim it's the most expensive food in the world.

The last stop was Bamboo Island, or Ko Phai.  I have never seen a more beautiful beach.  It was prettier than a post card. 

During our journey, we had lunch on Ko Phi Phi Don at a really neat outdoor restaurant overlooking the Andaman.  They kept bringing dishes and dishes, and they were all so amazing!

On our way back, we had to go through a monsoon.  Yep, in the middle of nowhere on a boat in a monsoon.  It was a bumpy ride, a bit scary, but it was also pretty exciting.  Luckily, I had taken a motion sickness pill prior to getting on the boat.

Our sail tour was the highlight of our trip to Phuket and one of the most beautiful places either of us have seen.

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