The highlight of my time in Thailand was the Koh Phi Phi Islands day tour we did from Phuket with Tours by U.
We were collected from The Westin at 7.45am and taken to Royal Phuket Marina to meet our tour group of 20 and 6 staff. Jack, our guide was excitable and hilarious and our speedboat was well stocked with water, soft drinks and fruit and biscuits to snack on.
After an hour on the speedboat we hit Bamboo Island where we had free time to walk around the busy (though there were minimal structures) island and enjoy the white sand and swimming off the beach.
Next up we snorkeled over the coral at a deeper point off the island. Masks and fins were provided but the coral and sealife was pretty average – I’ve seen much better snorkeling in the South Pacific where there are fewer boats polluting the water and tourists breaking the coral.
We stopped at Phi Phi Natural Resort for a buffet lunch. The lunch wasn’t spectacular but the scenery stunning and it was hot.
After lunch we visited Monkey Beach. The Tours by U brochures show people standing on the beach hand feeding and touching the monkeys but (thankfully for the sake of the monkeys) you’re no longer allowed to do this – our speedboad pulled up on the beach and we were able to pass them bananas. They were quickly climbing all over the boat which was pretty cool to experience.
My two highlights of the day were swimming in Pileh Cove, and visiting Maya Bay, made famous by The Beach.
I haven’t seen the movie (only the trailer), but Leo was pretty much alone on the beach. In reality it was overrun by tourist with thousands of people and a large number of boats there when we visited in the afternoon.
Mike was using a drone to take aerial footage of the national park. It was quickly ordered down by security which was a bit scary (for me, he didn’t seem too phased).
I was so tired and had had a lot of sun by the end of the day. It was a very long journey home. The moment which put the biggest dampener on the day came when Jack pointed out the re-built main villiage of Ton Sai where thousands of people died when the 2004 Tsunami hit.
We also swung by Viking Cave, just close enough to take pictures. I don’t remember what the guide said about it at all but Google just taught me that edible birds nests are harvested from there.
Koh Phi Phi is a must do but don’t be surprised by the number of boats and people around. Tourism brochures (and movies) are designed to make the place look untouched and while it is still fairly pristine, the circuit is crazy busy.
Have you been to Koh Phi Phi? Which was your favourite island? Have you seen The Beach?
Photos taken by Mike Rishworth.