Koh Phi Phi was the best possible way to end off our incredible adventure through South East Asia. Catching a ferry from the mainland and sailing off to the turquoise waters of this Thai island paradise was the best decision we could have made.
Koh Phi Phi is a tiny island in the Andaman Sea consisting of two concave bays )( lined with the most gorgeous beaches and a stretch of civilization in the middle: Tonsai village. The village is a maze of narrow cobbled streets buzzing with fruit sellers, restaurants, boat companies advertising trips to Maya Bay and stalls selling extra-strong cocktail buckets for the crazy nightlife that happens down on Doh Lam beach each night.
Our attention was caught by an advert for a free pool party right on the beach with happy hour cocktails. After the spending the past 4 days sandy and salty, we welcomed the idea of a cool pool in the shade. We enjoyed the cool water on our skin and the panoramic sea view as we sipped on a Mai Tai and Pina Colada from the pool bar. It was a lovely relaxed and vibey welcome to Koh Phi Phi.
After our dinner that evening we wandered down to the beach where the sand was a buzz of activity. Fire dancers, limbo and jump rope-all to the rhythm of loud music and accompanied by free shots. Everyone was having a good party! We danced along for a bit and took in the crazy beach party atmosphere.
For our first full day on the island we decided to join a boat tour around the island, stopping at all the best beaches and snorkeling spots. A nice sized group hopped onto the company U-Rip’s longtail boat and we crossed the unbelievably clear, blue water. Our first stop was Monkey Beach where we squealed with delight at the cuteness of these little monkeys who seemed far too comfortable with interacting with humans. They were very sweet and playful but could sometimes get a little aggressive.
We then crossed the surprisingly choppy bay to get to our first snorkel spot: Shark Point. Stereotypically black tipped reef sharks are found on this particular reef, hence the name. Luke was so excited at the prospect of spotting one, I had my reservations. We dived in and were immediately blown away at the stark contrast. Here the visibility was out of this world! Crystal clear water allowing you an insight into this colourful and magical world beneath the waves. Immediately after jumping in we were surrounded by bright greeney/yellow and blue striped little ones, we saw purple, blue, pink and green parrot fish, black, white and yellow striped fish like Gill from ‘Finding Nemo’ and plenty of bright clams that retreated into their shells as you swam over them. Absolutely amazing.
We then continued on our way, cruising up to Bamboo island. This is a protected national park and honestly had the best water I have ever seen ever. I am not joking! Imagine approaching a small green island in the middle of the ocean, as you get closer the water turns bright turquoise and blue, leading onto the whitest sand you’ve ever seen. No words can begin to describe the brilliance of it! We arrived at the shore and spent the next hour swimming off the shore and discovering the most amazing sea life in those reefs. See-through blue fish nearer to the beach, sword-shaped long thin ones, parrot fish, butterfly fish, long black spikey sea urchins, all the while circled by abundant schools of the greeney/yellow and blue striped ones! What a privilege.
We made our way back along the island, stopping at a few more breathtaking snorkel spots. Each unique and more stunning than the one before. We swam through corals in every colour, shape and size, surrounded by fish decorated with every different pattern. Definitely the absolute highlight of our trip for both of us!
We continued on to Koh Phi Phi Leh which is a small island off the main Koh Phi Phi Don. Here the main sites are the Pileh laggon, Sahmar Bay and Maya Bay.
We cruised over the mottled waters of Pileh lagoon, taking in the beautiful colours as people kayaked around. We then passed through Sahmar Bay before arriving at the iconic Maya Bay. This beach became famous after the Leonardo DiCaprio movie The Beach was filmed here. Crowds of tourists flock here everyday to take THE photo and move on. To be honest I think it is incredibly overrated and don’t quite understand how THIS became THE place with the rest of Phi Phi being as beautiful as it is. We saw it though and ticked it off the to-do list.
We ended off the most perfect day (honestly our favourite day of the whole holiday!) by watching the sunset over the ocean as we cruised back to shore. It was such an amazing day of seeing the most incredible marine life, being on a boat in the bluest water and seeing views of absolute paradise. We loved every minute of it!
The next day we spent relaxing on the beautiful Long Beach. Lazing underneath palm trees, taking many dips in the refreshing deep blue and snorkeling with the fishies.
We then walked over the hill to the other side of the island. Moo Dee Beach was picturesque with its tall palm trees and brilliant blue shore, but it was also very windy and wavey. We didn’t stay for very long but enjoyed exploring yet another beautiful corner of this stunning island.
For our final full day on Koh Phi Phi, and actually our last proper day of holiday, we decided to hike up to the viewpoint. There were lots of steep steps, taking us ever higher for the best perspective the island. An all-encompassing, panoramic view of this idyllic paradise!
We were so taken by the beauty of the water on the right hand side, which was Doh Lam Bay, that we decided to rent a kayak and explore the pristine waters.
It was such an incredible moment, paddling gently over crystal clear, turquoise waters; exploring the ocean in yet another form. We paddled to Monkey Bay where the conditions were absolutely perfect for snorkeling. It was an amazing last snorkeling session where we experienced the colourful underwater world of Thailand for the last time. With each different fish that interacted with us, I tried to savor the moment as best I could, storing the beautiful encounter in my memory.
And so that wraps up our incredible tropical paradise holiday. It was honestly one of the most incredible experiences filled with lots of adventure, out of this world experiences, and a few crazy, unexpected surprises (both good and bad). I wouldn’t trade a minute of it for the world and will treasure these memories forever.
Unfortunately at the end of it when we were taking the ferry to Phuket, staying the night in Phuket and then flying back to Cape Town, Luke came down with very hectic fevers, vomiting and fatigue. It was really terrible and he wasn’t himself. Upon returning to Cape Town on the Thursday it didn’t improve and so we spent the whole of Sunday in the emergency room of Constantiaberg Mediclinic trying to figure out what was wrong with him. He was tested for Dengue fever, Malaria, Typhoid and Tick Bite fever. They diagnosed him with Tick bite fever in the meantime. Once we got his blood tests back though it proved to be none of these (thankfully!) and they put it to a viral infection. We’ll never know exactly what it was but we’re all so grateful he’s back to being himself!
I must apologise for the delayed post but the past two weeks have just been crazy getting back to Cape Town, recovering from jetlag, catching up with friends and family and now starting varsity. But better late than never!
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