Many movies like The Beach and Hangover 2 were filmed around Phi Phi Island and Riley Peninsula because of its absolutely stunning scenery. The rocks rise out of the water like ancient creatures and the water is a beautiful hue of blue. The beaches have soft sand, and the drinks are cheap. We stayed in a rustic (ok, barren might be a better word) bungalow in a garden behind a rock climbing school. Our room consisted of a bed with mosquito net, a fan, and a rock floor bathroom that gave you the feeling that you were outside. We had electricity from 6pm to 1am, a nice stoop with hammock, a cold water tap, and a run in with the largest hairiest spider we’ve ever seen.
This being our first stop in Thailand we had to sample all of the beer options and discovered Chang Beer (6.4%) and Chicken Naan from our new Canadian friends. Chicken Naan is like a burrito made with Naan, chicken breast strips, and lots of mayo and ketchup… it was a great break from the Chinese style noodles that have recently dominated the menu. The beach is setup perfectly for climbers with routes available right from the beach. We enjoyed watching the hard core overhang climbers while eating thai pancakes :-) At night the ramshackle of a town becomes filled with drinks, stories, slack lines, reggae music and locals training for a fire twirling competition.
We tested our rock climbing skills on a deep water soloing trip. We took a boat out with ‘Base Camp’ outfitters for the day. This type of climbing doesn’t involve ropes or carabiners; you just free climb until you fall (or jump) into the water below. It was so much fun and we met a bunch of cool Canadians (aren’t all Canadians cool?) from Montreal. Kevin got over his fear of heights with his “massive” 25 foot leap into the water below (most of the folks were upwards of 65ft).
We also went on a sunset snorkeling cruise that took us to 4 islands and dropped us at a fifth island for a seafood BBQ dinner on a remote beach. The trip was a little disorganized to say the least but we did manage to come out with some tall tales and some good snorkeling.
Near the end of our cruise we arrived near the beach for our BBQ dinner but the boat was unable to dock due to currents and other nautical jive. When they were talking about shuttling us over with a long tail we asked the skipper if we could swim to shore, against the current and then float back to the boat prior to dinner. So it began… we and two others jumped out and swam ashore. After a little wandering along the most amazing remote beach/sand bar, we started to swim back to the boat so we could pick up our camera for the sunset. To our surprise when we got to where the boat was supposed to be … it was gone! Talk about your open water experience! We eventually swim back to the shore against the current but never saw the other two swimmers. Alone on the beach without a boat in site we enjoyed the sunset. Just as the sun fell off the horizon a long tail boat arrived with our tour guide and a few unhappy tourists… minus the other two swimmers! A few minutes passed and a private dingy pulls onto the beach with the missing swimmers who apparently had swam to a sailboat down current to seek refuge. The experience created amusing conversations over dinner, and for the rest of the night. As the horizon darkened against the islands, we watched what seemed like an endless supply of enormous fruit bats flying from their nesting island to find their dinner on the mainland. Our tour concluded with what was truly an amazing night snorkel to see the phosphorescence algae glowing all around us in the water. This is definitely a must do and was the highlight of our trip! As we aqua jogged in the water we looked like glowing silhouettes from the movie Tron.
We stayed our last night in southern Thailand in Krabi so that we could catch our 9am flight to Bangkok. We had low expectations for this town, but actually really enjoyed it. Luckily, we met a couple on our longtail boat ride who recommended staying in a place called Blue Juice. For just $6 a night, we were living it up with a proper bed, clean sheets, and fantastic food in the restaurant downstairs.