As I write this I am sitting by a large swimming pool with a view out to the Andaman Sea. The sun is baking, the sand is with, the sea is turquoise and the surroundings are tropical. When I closed my eyes and pictured South Thailand this is exactly what I had hoped it would be.
Since my last post I have met Karen at the airport for her two week stay and after a great week in Bangkok we flew South to Phuket. After a few days staying at a fantastic (and cheap!) place in Patong Beach we decided to indulge in a bit of luxury and stay at the Phi Phi Island Spa Village.
We boarded a ferry in Patong Bay and settled down for the 1hr 30 minutes journey to Kho Phi Phi. A quite surreal experience started when we became acquainted with a lone travelling Spanish lady; together we drank a bottle of red wine (from her personal supply) out of the bottle and some conveniently shaped sandwich cartons.
That certainly made the journey quicker as after no time we were approaching Tonsai Bay – the main tourist area of Koh Phi Phi and were all the hotels were located. We had opted not to stay here as it is still quite a busy area and instead we headed round the east side of the island to Phi Pi Island Spa Village.
The big ferry stopped outside of the bay and smaller longtail boats took us the final stretch up the bay to the resort. It was here that I was instantly struck by this place – individual huts lined the beach with a restaurant, bar and the reception area also sitting just off the sand.
Without doubt this is the most luxurious place I have stayed. The Village is virtually cut off (a 1 hour walk to Tonsai Bay is possible through the jungle) and there are no cars or vehicles on the island. The only mode of transport is by boat. Our rooms are little houses sat on stilts amidst the coconut trees. Everywhere is covered in flowers (there was even a lotus down our toilet on arrival) and even though virtually our only option to eat is in one of the restaurants the food is fantastic.
Today we went on a boat trip to see the surrounding areas. Due to the weather went mainly down the east side of the island visiting various snorkeling spots and a fantastic enclosed lagoon. The highlight was stopping at Maya Bay where large parts of “The Beach” were filmed. Normally this is accessed from the west of the island but we stopped on the east and swam up to an alcove that took us their from the back.
When I first saw the film many years ago the whole of Thailand and Phi Phi island seemed a world away. Everything from the opening scenes in Bangkok to the arrival on the famous beach was so distant to me. I can’t describe how I feel knowing that I have now walked the same places and brought it all into my reality.
I am a big fan of the film (and the book) so to visit here has definitely been a highlight of my trip. On arrival I realised Maya Bay is smaller than is made out in the film with the whole place being much more enclosed. The beach itself was also packed with people and boats making the “undiscovered paradise” fantasy a bit unachievable. For me this didn’t spoil the experience and just seeing the place, walking the beach and recognising the scenery was worth travelling out here for.
We have three nights in total here in paradise (although this may change…) and then we head back to Phuket. From here we will most likely travel to Koh Samui for a few nights before Bangkok.
I have so much to write about including the amazing people we have met, Muay Thai at Bangla Boxing Stadium and of course kissing Orangutans at Bangkok Safari World.
Will write soon.