To say we were overcome with joy and excitement to be leaving the shit hole that is Bangkok is an understatement. There just seems to be something about the combination of size, temperature, garbage, and third-world, that comes together to make you feel like a claustrophobic being choked out by a dirty sock, in a dark, over crowded, sewage drain. We didn’t even want to put up with the pain it would take to make a slow escape by bus or train. Nope. It was straight to the airport to get the fuck out at as high of speed as possible.
During our over stay in Bangkok we managed to visit Sally’s arch-nemesis, the Dentist. A little problem between two of her teeth turned into four fillings on the spot and the recommendation to get two root canals. This turned our tour of Thailand into picking a singular location to sit for 2+ weeks and visit the dentist multiple times, awesome.
Thankfully we had already booked our flight to Phuket with the intention of making our way to Koh Phi Phi and Sally had enough of Bangkok to rule out any possibility of returning to that shit stain. That meant we had four days in paradise to pretend that our A.T.W. budget wasn’t getting held up and robbed by a Thai with a mask and drill.
When we arrived in Koh Phi Phi we were pleasantly surprised to discover that three of our four days were going to be blessed with sunshine. We had been formally introduced to what monsoon season in SE Asia really meant in Bangkok and we’re feeling a little discouraged about how long the rain actually hung around. Being here during the wet season did have its advantages though. Hotels were 30% cheaper and the island didn’t reflect Bourbon street during Mardi Gras.
We settled into our well equipped hotel room with A.C., mini fridge, and T.V. with cable! We had been reading our friends blog who had been in Thailand a few months before us and they expressed A.C. had made its way to the top of their ‘Greatest Invention’ list, edging out sliced bread. Having made the transition from Cape Town weather just a week ago we couldn’t agree more! I also have to say having been forced to suffer through old forms of entertainment such as reading during this trip, T.V. is also very high on my list.
It didn’t take us long to discover the best beach Ko Phi Phi had to offer was Long Beach. A twenty-minute hike through the jungle was enough of a deterrent to keep a majority of hung over tourists from overcrowding the nice strip of sand. It also has the advantage of only anchoring a few long boats, which keeps the water free of the gooey oil balls of sand that can be found in the water on some of the other beaches.
The water in Thailand feels like it’s almost the same temperature as the hot 90 degree sunshine. You can walk in and go for a swim without any hesitation. Making it by far our favorite water to swim in to date. Which is perfect because having spent the last month in the South African winter, we can’t make it more than 10 minutes without cooling off.
While on Koh Phi Phi we booked a snorkel trip to the national park where the movie ‘The Beach’ was filmed. Thankfully, the Thai have done a good job keeping this area clean and preserving the beauty that a majority of the countries beaches would be able to present if they didn’t have the country’s trademark (trash) littering the sand and water (Yes, even Long Beach unfortunately).
Our time snorkeling reaffirmed the fact that Sally is scared of just about everything. We started off swimming close to each other so she could gain her confidence. She progressed nicely while the fish stayed at a comfortable 10 to 12 feet away. She slowly released my hand and began to swim on her own until someone threw a piece of bread into the water. This created a collection of about a hundred fish less than a foot from us, several of which buzzed right past us. Before I knew it Sally was literally on my back putting as much of me between her and the fish as physically possible. To her credit, once she felt I was enough of a shield that the fish were no longer a threat, she did start to dip her head in back into the water to observe the few fish that remained.
On our way back to the main island, the boat made its final stop at Monkey Beach. Made popular by the monkeys that line the sandy shores, waiting for tourists to either feed them or leave their bags naively unattended long enough that they can snag anything they can get their hands on. They are fearless and for the most part vicious little shits. The beach is polluted with water bottles, coke cans, and food wrappers stolen by the monkeys and then discarded. The only enjoyable part of visiting Monkey Beach is watching the fucking retarded tourists. Trying to snap photos of themselves getting as close as possible to the monkeys before they scratch or bite at them. One Japanese guy actually tried to put a banana in his mouth and get a monkey to bite at the other end like the monkey was Lady and he was the fucking Tramp. It failed as the monkey came running at him much quicker and more aggressively then he expected. The monkey jumped at his leg and scratched at his face, just missing the fleeing mans flesh (unfortunately) as he dropped the banana out of his mouth.
Over all the trip proved to be successful and we thoroughly enjoyed our time on Koh Phi Phi. There is a long running stigma that Thailand’s islands have all been ruined. You constantly feel like you missed the boat as travelers proclaim you shouldn’t go here or there because it’s not nearly as good as it use to be. Koh Phi Phi might not be as good as it once was and most certainly will be ruined in the near future (according to some), but its a place both Sally and I would love to return to regardless.