Beautiful Beaches: Phi Phi Island Tour

by FieryTree on August 26, 2013 · 6 comments

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We headed down to Krabi to check out our friend’s hometown and spend a few days on a beautiful Thai beach for my birthday. Our base was Ao Nang Beach but we took trips to surrounding islands. The first trip was to Phi Phi Islands (yes pronounced “pee pee”) a set of islands between the city of Krabi and Phuket.

Our journey began in a two engine speedboat that held about 24 passagers. The back was crowded so we headed up front where there was additional seating. We were out in the sun, with a great view, thinking we had made an excellent choice…until the boat started.


And so the boat ride began…

It was an overcast day and the sea was choppy so this meant that the boat glided less and jumped more. At first this was hysterically funny to us, we would fly above the water, catching air, crying out with laughter. We bonded quickly with the other passengers in the front, enjoying the ride. BUT about the 15th time I was slammed back hard into my seat, it lost its amusement. Being the practical lass I am, I didn’t want permanent spinal injury over a stupid boat ride. James was able to signal the driver to slow down for a moment and I quickly fell back into the main section which was worlds calmer. This did not stop the Korean group from squealing with each wave but the nice British bloke beside me kept me entertained with various tales and so passed the 45 minutes ride to our first destination: Viking Cave.

Viking Cave and were bird nests are harvested.

Viking Cave, where bird nests are harvested.

We could only view “Viking Cave” from the boat but they explained that there were pictures of Viking ships on the cave walls. My skeptical mind didn’t think a picture of a ship proved Vikings but who’s to say. [I purchased a postcard of Viking Cave and the picture of the ship used didn’t change my mind, looking more like a Chinese Junk ship to me, but we’ll call it Viking.] Regardless of Vikings or not, our first view of the limestone caves was beautiful and I (of course) took many photos of the rock formations.

The location is now primarily used as a collection area of bird’s nest (used primarily in soups), evident by the solar panels decked out on bamboo docks. The nests are from the Swiftlet and revered for medicinal qualities. We often see this offered along with shark fin soup in Chinatown. A wikipedia search explains:

“The nests are composed of interwoven strands of salivary laminae cement. Both nests have high levels of calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium.”

Our next stop luckily included snorkeling not soup though and we headed into beautiful Phi Leh Bay.

Beautiful cove

Beautiful cove – Pi Leh Bay.

A moment after the ship stopped and the anchor was dropped, James had already jumped into these beautiful waters for a swim. The rest of us followed at a slower speed, easing ourselves into the crystal water and paddling around for a bit. The area was ours besides another boat in a further corner.

There were not many fish to be seen but James found his own treasure of a fishing net and plastic crate. He dragged it back to the boat, so this pristine area could remain that way and they grudgingly accepted the trash. (It is not uncommon to see people throw trash on the ground here and think nothing of it, thankfully we did not see a lot of trash in the water and desired to keep it that way.) With all passengers back on, we headed to Monkey Cove:

Monkeys - when they were still "cute".

Macaque Monkeys – when they were still “cute”.

At this point, monkey’s were still cute to me and it amazed me that we were able to get so close to them. Our boat did not offer them food though and perhaps that is why they shook their branches and even bared their teeth at us. I was happy to be in our boat, snapping photos.

The little monkey that could...

The little monkey that could…

Another boat pulled up and started to throw bananas to the monkeys. A monkey reached for one but ended up falling into the boat so he received many, many bananas. As a passenger of that boat, I would have wondered about the wild monkey on board but they didn’t seem to mind. As the boat started to pull away from shore, he dove out into the water and swam back on shore. I’m guessing there will be more “falls” for the monkeys in the future. He certainly received a lot of bananas for his “troubles”.

Tons of beautiful fish amongst the coral.

Tons of beautiful fish amongst the coral.

With the skies turning once again to grey, we came to rest a few coves over in a beautiful area with coral and lots and lots of fish. The clear water allowed viewing of the fish even from the boat but the spectacular views were underwater where we saw many fish we couldn’t name – and one I can: parrot fish. Woot. James snapped away with his water-safe camera and I looked with my eyes, holding my breath as all of the snorkels appeared to have a mold on them and they were not going into my mouth. (Thailand has cured me of my germaphobia only so much!)

Day moments before the rain began.

Day moments before the rain began.

With the rain starting, we loaded back onto the boat (don’t want to get wet!) and headed to Koh Phi Phi Don for lunch. Included with the package deal was a “family style” lunch, which was actually pretty good. It included fried chicken, tom yum soup, a vegetable dish, chicken and vegetable dish and even a sweet and sour fish dish, with a dessert of fruit (and tea and coffee available). We were pleasantly surprised.

View from the beach of Aoh Phi Phi Don.

View from the beach of Koh Phi Phi Don.

With a full belly, we headed to the beach and chatted with our tour guide. He informed us with the current bad weather, we would not be able to go to Maya Bay, pointing at the crashing waves on the distant island. As the rain picked up, we headed back to the boat through many shops and tourists, not bothering to use the umbrella as we were still damp from our snorkeling.

Beautiful beach

Bamboo Island

Our last stop was Bamboo Island, an idyllic little white sand beach, shaded by pine trees. We were given about an hour to relax on the beach and snorkel as desired. The sun had returned but the area to snorkel in was very choppy so I opted for a quick trip to the other end of the beach, chatting away with the British bloke and his wonderful wife.

Pine trees on the beach.

Pine trees on the beach.

We passed tents to stay the night on the island and a food hut but time was limited to explore the entire island. With a proper amount of chill time on the beach, we headed back to main land once again and I day dreamed about cruising in a sail boat around these awesome islands. It was a nice trip and had the bonus of introducing us to some interesting fellow travelers, as seems to happen so frequently. I guess a lot of cool people go to Thailand. 😀

What is your favorite beautiful beach?

More beach shots:

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Karen August 26, 2013 at 9:54 pm

Beautiful waters and scenery in these photos. I hope that you had on plenty of sun-block. I would have ended up a lobster after a day on the boat and in the water (fair skin). A belated birthday greeting to you. What an amazing way to celebrate your “day”!


2 FieryTree September 6, 2013 at 5:57 pm

Thank you Karen!
And yes to lots of sunblock, I learned that my first time down in the islands (10 years ago), worst sunburn as an adult!
Was fun to back in the water seeing such great sites, great way to celebrate my birthday!


3 Emma August 27, 2013 at 4:48 am

Wow, it looks so beautiful there! Also: monkeys!


4 FieryTree September 6, 2013 at 5:59 pm

“Too many monkeys” is my new tagline, but it was definitely beautiful!
I’ll have to get up a post about my favorite day to James Bond Island and surrounding islands!


5 Pam Mirabal August 28, 2013 at 11:42 pm

Hi Maria, Looks like you and James are really loving it over there. Thanks for sharing with all of us. I love traveling through your eyes. Miss you. Love Pam


6 FieryTree September 6, 2013 at 5:59 pm

Thanks for your comment Pam! I’m glad to have you traveling with me! We are definitely loving it here and headed to Cambodia Monday! Lots of pictures to follow, I’m sure! 🙂


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