Phi Phi Leh Boat Tour

Signed up for a half day tour of Phi Phi li that left at 8am and cost 800 baht ($27 Aud). Was up at 6.45am in time to see the sun rising on our side of the island. It was a beautiful reddish colour that was even enhanced by the clouds that had arrived the night before. I had a coffee and the really great muesli again for breakfast (best mix ever – tonnes of fruit, a smattering of muesli, covered in yoghurt with a swirl of honey. NO MILK)

Sun rise at Phi Phi Relax Resort

I had wondered what kind of boat we’d be getting for the tour. Would it be a speed boat? Turned out to be the resorts longboat which actually made me a little disappointed. Later, when I saw how noisy the speedboats were wherever they turned up I became a mega longboat fan. My fellow travellers were a family of 5 plus friend and a couple. The family had two young children (both under 5 and slept most of the time) and the grandmother and her friend. They were a Swedish and French couple who spoke both languages to their kids at home, plus they spoke really good English. I told her I was jealous that they would be trilingual. The other couple were French and around my age but they didn’t really talk to anyone else much.

That is some motor on this longtail boat

It took about 30 mins to our first stop on the tour which was to glide past viking cave – a cave that opened all the way to the other side of phi phi li. The limestone mountains are just so imposing and after seeing some ropes on them I couldn’t help but think Michael K should climb them. Yet again I heard French people say “ooh la la”. I’m guessing it must also mean “wow”.

Caves at Phi Phi Leh

After turning a corner we entered “The Beach” aka Maya Beach. This was the place where the filmed the movie with Leo Di Caprio and it was a popular place because of it. When we arrived there were maybe 5 boats but by the time we left it had doubled. We had 40 mins to spend here so I went for a little dip to my thighs then explored the edges of the beach where the limestone walls are. The area has great acoustics as demonstrated by someone doing a tarzan call. The beach is sort of shaped like a crescent and about 20 people are allowed to camp there a night. Unfortunately for them though the speedboats start arriving at 6am so they don’t get to have much alone time. I saw a group of maybe 20 backpackers in a tour jumping for photos then squash in to a single longboat where I had seen a guy bucketing out water earlier. Looked pretty dicey and I’m glad I was well cared for in my boat.

Maya Beach where they filmed

As we were leaving I told Jann the French father that he should be a tv host because he was so informative and jovial. I’m not sure he liked that but it was meant to be a compliment. I should have just said he had charisma. 🙂

Entering Pi Leh Bay

Our next stop took us to an inlet where we could snorkel called Loh Samah Bay. Our driver basically moored the boat in the middle and we just jumped in and started looking at the fish. He had brought bread to attract them but it really wasn’t needed since there was so many. I saw all the stars of Finding Nemo plus some even prettier ones. I hadn’t been snorkling since Cairns and it is something I really like doing. Not sure i’m in to scuba, I like the simplicity of just the mask and pipe. I didn’t really want to go but we had other places to see.

Amy in Sama Bay snorkeling

Further around the island we came to Phi Phi Leh lagoon that had varying depths. All of us took it in turns to jump off the front of the boat and in to the water. The driver took a couple of photos of me doing it just to proove that I am actually in Thailand. It was a really great area to swim – not really much fish but great white sand.

Jumping of the boat at Pi Leh Bay

After another 30 mins there we went past the place where the swallows make their nests which then get taken and sold to the Chinese and Japanese for large amounts of money. Lot of bamboo poles for them to climb up to get the nests.

Viking Cave

Our final stop was at monkey beach where oddly monkeys lived. They were fed lots of food by the tourists to the point where they were grabbing people to get more. We didn’t have food which I was glad of. They also didn’t mind drinking water from peoples bottles. Monkeys are cute but annoying.

Monkey Island

When we were leaving Jann told us how he was yelling off a French woman for being topless on the island. He asked her what she was doing and she said ” I’m free”. He told her “this is not france, this is Thailand, show some respect.” Now I didn’t mind, 🙂 but he is right, the guidebooks say Thai people don’t like that sort of stuff. She went and swam in the water after that.

Alas that concluded our tour although we did get to stop at Tonka resort which was near ours. The family had left some laundry behind which they needed to pick up. The swedish wife Ana had told me they had been staying there but relax resort was much quieter. From the looks of the place our bungalows were much nicer too.

My plan for the rest of the day is to have lunch, have a rest, then climb the bloody tall phi phi don mountain to look at the view. They claim it takes 30 mins but I’m thinking it will take me longer. 🙂

Jungle jaunt to the viewpoint

After a lunch of see through noodle salad with chicken and a banana and coffee shake (Thai people make even a shake look pretty), I lazed for a while in a deck chair on the beach. Having had enough lazing there, i went back to my room and lazed on the verandah, dozing to the amazingly appropriate sounds of Mozart.

I had set myself a lazing limit of 3.30pm, so that it was cool enough to go for a walk but not so late that it would be dark when I came back. I packed a torch, a couple of bottles of water, some bandaids and mozzie repellant. I even left a note in my room saying where I was going and what time I left – in case I never checked out the next day. All those man vs wild episodes must have subtley sunk in while Pauline was watching them. I did feel like a bit of a pussy though, like when I put swimmers ear in after going for a swim, but I’d rather survive the jungle and have no earaches and just live with being a prepared pussy.

The book said it was a 30 minute walk through the jungle and I believed it after seeing the “do not feed the monkey” sign as I started the trek. As it usually happens about 5 minutes in I have to rest and wonder should I go back – especially after the steep incline I had to go up, but eventually it evened out. I kept myself busy the whole walk by essentially internally chanting variations of the following: “you are a fuckwit. Why the fuck are you doing this? Just to take a fucking picture? Why is there no one else on this trail? Caus they aren’t fuckwits. You are the only fucking fuckwit” and so on.

Of course to me every noise in the trees was a monkey, every root was a snake and every tree wanted to cut my legs. My heart was pumping from the cardio, my nose was running and I had sweat pouring down my red and overweight face. It would have been really pretty to see.

Just when I think I’ve reached the top because i’ve seen huts I discover that it’s just a refreshments stall selling soft drinks and coconut beer. A sign says viewpoint 3 and I spend the next few steps wondering if that means 3 minutes, 3 miles or 3 kilometers. A cat meows at me as I walk towards it so i ask it to pull me the rest of the way. I hallucinate while it says “no man, I is going the other way” and I think fuck you, you aren’t a LOL cat.

Finally I reach the top (turns out 3 meant minutes for a fit person) and I am observed by a couple of people in the store as I turn up in my depleted state. I continue past to make it to the viewpoint where I am greeted by a magneficent view of Phi Phi Don. Between the two mountains is a small stretch of land where the pier I arrived on is and a bunch of hotels. This area was impacted greatly by the tsunami but judging from the commerce it has bounced back quickly. I was rewarded for my walking with a headache so I rested for a while drinking water an taking ineffective photos thanks to the sun not really being in the right place. I’d only taken the panasonic camera cause I didn’t want to lug an slr – my stomach was luggage enough. I didn’t mind though, the view was worth the effort.

Phi Phi Don View Point

The walk back was an entirely different experience altogether. My fears were gone and my inner voice was basically going “la la la la” because I knew at the end of it I could walk in to the sea to cool down. I think I was a sight for the relax resort guests as I emerged from the bushes all red and puffing but I didn’t care, I had water to go to.

Walking back to the Relax resort

Back at the room I showered and recovered once again on my verandah. I spent a fair bit of time thinking about how even though you can’t understand people speaking in other languages you can still get the gist of it. Like the brand new boat the resort got, but their ladder to get in to it wasn’t wide enough to sit properly. The staff were all laughing about the fact that they hadn’t measured it Or the French lady getting annoyed at her boyfriend when she was getting off the boat – her tone and speed gave it away.

I also thought about the staff here at the resort. I’d seen the same people in the restaurant whether it was 7am, 12pm or 9pm. I wondered if they worked maybe 5/6 days and got time off. I liked how the guys just hung around all day waiting for boats to arrive so they could carry luggage and the women who lounged in hammocks until someone wanted a massage. To me it seems like a really relaxed approach to working and I wondered if they liked it or got bored. It would be hardest to be housekeeping as they were always busy and I got to watch them coming and going as the laundry was right next to my room.

The Phi Phi Relax resort really does allow you to get away from it all. A book is the only thing you need and if you don’t mind cold showers, no toilet paper and lights that only come on around 6pm then this place is heaven. Shame I have to leave the whooping sound of what i think is a monkey tomorrow. 🙁

Total cost in food

Tonight i has the special which was fresh fish with vegetables and horrible fries. How much has my relaxing folly cost i hear u ask?

Bear in mind i’m paying resort prices, had about 3 cocktails, 3 dinners 2 breakfasts and lunches and some drinks to go with it and you have agree that $80 total is pretty bloody good! Can i live here?

Accommodation: Phi Phi Relax Resort at Phi Phi Don

Tweets of the Day:

2010-01-22 04:12:11
amyob: Spending the morning on leo’s beach

2010-01-22 04:13:19
amyob: Grabbing Internet from a boat just off phi phi li. Visited Leo’s beach.

2010-01-22 04:31:43
amyob: The monkeys are cheeky at monkey beach. Glad I took my rabies shots.

For more photos, check out the Flickr set.

[flickrset id=”72157623590425146″ thumbnail=”square”]



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