Sunday, October 16, 2011

Looking back at Ko Phi Phi (Part 1)

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This was me in Ko Phi Phi, Thailand last year. I was going through photographs in my hard drive and saw the ones from that trip. God, I miss that place and would really love to go back.

Phi Phi is actually a small group of islands along the Andaman Sea that are part of Krabi province. There's the main island Ko Phi Phi Don, its little sister Ko Phi Phi Leh, and a couple of other islets. Its main claim to fame was when the Leonardo DiCaprio starrer The Beach was filmed there (but that was in Phi Phi Leh).

To get there, we boarded a ferry from Phuket to Phi Phi's Tonsai pier. Normally the trip only takes 45 minutes but because the monsoon season came in early (we went there in June), the huge waves midway through our journey slowed us down.

Choosing a place to stay was a headache for me because every place had mixed reviews. We ended up at Phi Phi Cabana Hotel, which was just a short walk from the pier.

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The lobby reflected the typical opulence I've come to associate with most Thai structures. Such intricate designs are one of the many things I admire about them.

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Phi Phi Cabana sits at probably the narrowest point in Phi Phi Don. Its facade faces the wonderful Tonsai Bay while most of its guest rooms are accorded an equally awesome sight with Lo Dalam Bay on the opposite side of the island, much like this:

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Spectacular view, right? And it's really great to wake up every morning to this sight. Our room, though smaller than where we stayed in Phuket, was just fine. Sure, it may be a little old, especially the bathroom, but we weren't really complaining.

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The sliding glass door also offers a peek at the rest of the hotel...

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And some rubbish floating in the high tide. Oops...

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Before we hit the road, we had room service: pineapple rice (served in a carved-out pineapple, of course!), some soup, and chicken satay. Damn, were we famished!

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Then began our exploration with postcard-perfect views of Tonsai Bay. No one really swims or sunbathes here, though, because it's where all these ferries, long tails, and speedboats dock.

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Thailand's famed long tail boats! I really wanted to ride one but I still haven't fully recovered from the scary ferry ride from Phuket.

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And here's why it's called a long tail:

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There aren't really any big roads anywhere in Phi Phi. All you have are small dirt roads and pavements because the island is just too small. Besides, there are only bicycles and motorcycles here. But don't be fooled because the place offers a vast array of shops, money changers, restaurants, bars, pharmacies, computer shops, spas, and more.

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Because of all the chaos that is Tonsai Bay, people head to the opposite side of the island to relax, have some drinks, and simply enjoy the island life. And yes, we love it here.

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I saw a couple of Thai kids playing football. And boy was it a surreal setting for a football match, what with that majestic limestone outcrop in the background!

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It's maintenance time for some speedboats, though.

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Food isn't really that expensive here in Ko Phi Phi. Yes, there are restaurants that are a bit pricey but you can always find spots like this to enjoy authentic Thai cuisine at a bargain. Pad Thai, anyone?

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Phi Phi is also a party island, and there's no shortage of bars and nightspots here. The party animal in you will never be bored here. Too bad that animal in me has long been dead (translation: I'm too old for that).

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This post has become so long already, so I'll have to cut it right here. I'll show you more photos from our island-hopping trip in my next post. You haven't seen beauty yet.

(Part 2 here.)

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