Thursday, November 20, 2014

Ko Phi Phi

Our last stop on route, Ko Phi Phi, was a world away from everywhere else we've been in Thailand. Now I've never been to a Spanish resort town before, but this is exactly what I have always pictured one to be.

Where the streets are lined with identical stalls selling bracelets and postcards, where hearing an English accent is nothing out of the ordinary, where you'll find 1 local for every 10 tourists, and where everything is within a 5 minute radius.

That said, the crazy beach parties, and countless Europeans getting drunk from the alcohol-buckets (which, by the way, I was to afraid to go anywhere near) made me feel like this is the end-of-school girls holiday I never took; Yet the jaw-dropping white beaches, clear blue sea and grand resorts at the other end of the island (away from the backpacker hub we were staying in) took me to what I've always idolized the Bahamas to be.

The above aside, despite it's severe lack of culture and history (however much it pains me to say this), I really didn't mind Ko Phi Phi.

After 3 weeks, what Alicia and I really wanted was just to relax and not have an itinerary, to go somewhere where we didn't have to catch a taxi-truck to every destination or pull out my 'V-Cards' app to explain that I don't eat animal products. Plus, the view when you step on to the beach wasn't too bad either.

We spent 2 nights in Phi Phi, which in my opinion is the perfect end to an adventure-packed trip.

Having arrived from Ko Lanta mid-afternoon, we chose to spend the remaining couple of hours of daylight we had (note: Thailand gets dark at about 6pm!) to hike (and oh boy was it a hike) up to the viewpoint. Let me tell you, I never knew just how unfit I was until I was basically on my hands and knees, crawling up to the top viewpoint.

When we reached the top it was packed; clearly many others has the same idea as us - to see the island from it's highest point at sunset. Sweaty, breathless and cameras at the ready, we sat in awe as we watched the sun set over the island, which was truly, truly beautiful.

The following day we took to our advantage that this would be our final opportunity to go to the beach whilst in Thailand, and so wondered down to what we thought was Long Beach, but later realised was in fact Hin Cape. The sea was incredibly shallow, so much so that no matter how far I walked out, it never hit my waist. Regardless, the luke-warm temperature of the ocean and ability to clearly see the bottom, made it perfect conditions for just sitting, legs stretched out, letting the calm waves wash over you as you gaze contently at the picturesque scenery. Ah it was perfect.

That evening we had dinner at one of the many Irish bar/restaurants on the island, before hitting the streets to shop. Let's just say I was not expecting to spend anywhere near as much I did. As I mentioned above, Phi Phi is without a doubt an island catered to tourists, and in between the identical street stalls, Alicia and I discovered some hidden gems - beautiful clothing and jewellery stores - a lot like those in Pai. I came away with a beaded cream & gold anklet, a handmade shirt, which was specifically tailored for my body, and an oh-so-beautiful-I-cannot-believe-I-own-it embroidered patchwork bag, replacing my old tatty version, bought double the price at Urban Outfitters years ago.

With pineapple-sticks in hand, we walked down the beach, passing numerous open-air bars, each with a fire-dancing performance out front to pull customers in.

In summary, despite having something for everyone, Phi Phi seems to be one of those marmite destinations - you either love it or hate it, but then again, who can resist a scenery as beautiful as Phi Phi's?

P.S. by the time you are reading this I will have arrived in Sydney!

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