Where We Be
|Our guide said, "Do something silly" and we obliged! You'd think we were
jumping to our deaths instead of the invitingly warm waters of Pileh Lagoon.
|Phi Phi Islands, Thailand
After a rest day we went on our second big tour
of Thailand's amazing islands. This was another
fantastic full-day tour, this time with Simba Sea
Trips -- TripAdvisor's #2 ranked tour in Phuket.
Again, not cheap at $125 each, but as they say,
you get what you pay for. The focus was the
Phi Phi ("Pee-Pee") Islands -- two islands just
southeast of Phuket. Like our other tour, this
one had us getting up extremely early at 4:30
for a 5 am hotel pickup. The goal was the same:
beat the hordes and catch sunrise on the water.
Sunrise first! Then we sped southeast for an
hour to reach Phi Phi Leh, the smaller of the two
islands. Our first stop was the blockbuster sight
of the whole trip -- Maya Bay, the spectacular
beach setting for the movie The Beach. Maya
Bay instantly rocketed up into our top two or
three beaches ever as it really is something to
behold with its 360 degrees of cliffs and karst
surrounding a fringe of soft white sand. What a
spot! After an hour of sunning and swimming we
finished things off nicely with breakfast right on
the beach. Then it was off to our second sight,
Pileh Lagoon, which was almost as dramatic as
the first. Read on to discover what else we saw
and did on this amazing day of "the four S's"
--sun, sand, swimming, and snorkeling.
|Okay, tell me this isn't a great way to start off a day
|Here you can see the narrow gap leading into Maya Bay. Within,
the sands are soft powdery white and the waters warm and clear.
|Magnificent! There are cliffs just behind and vertical karst formations ahead
and to both sides, leaving just a narrow inlet through which boats can pass
|We walked to the far side of the island, Loh Samah Bay, for a
different view (shown above), but nothing could beat that first view
|A full hour gave us plenty of time to swim in the turquoise waters
and sun ourselves dry before breakfast on "The Beach"
|And what better place to get started than Maya Bay. This stunner
totally deserves its reputation as an amazing beach destination.
|We headed off to our next destination on Phi Phi Leh,
past sheer cliff faces that were colorful and impressive
|Pileh Lagoon was our next stop -- and again, what a spot! Boats enter from a
relatively narrow point which then opens up into a pristine lagoon surrounded by cliffs.
|There is no beach here but it is the perfect
place to jump straight off the boat into the water
|And that's exactly what we did -- multiple times while striking the most ridiculous poses. Our guide, “M,”
couldn't stop laughing after taking the photo at the top of this page. "You've got to see this one," he chuckled.
|Happiness is a boat in your own perfect lagoon
|One of the things we loved about this tour was that it included snorkeling. Phang Nga Bay's waters are
too murky for snorkeling, but here at Phi Phi Leh they're crystal clear. We saw many fish but the reef
itself was mostly bleached out except for some spiny black urchins and occasional patches of blue coral.
|We got the chance to explore two different snorkeling sights before leaving
Phi Phi Leh behind. What a dramatic island! We definitely wouldn't mind coming back.
|The most remarkable thing here was seeing the monkeys apparently
quite relaxed despite their precarious position on the vertical cliffs
|We zoomed north to the bigger island, Phi Phi Don. Here our first stop was Monkey Beach
(Sam Had), where we paid a visit to some long-tail macaque monkeys on a cliff face.
|Time for some lunch! Instead of a beach picnic we went to
an actual resort called Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort.
|We dined at Api, a thatched open-air restaurant where they had
a whole table set aside for our group with food already laid out
|The resort itself is lovely with palm trees and a nice
stretch of white sand -- very classy feeling and luxurious
|We could see spending a day or
two here (or heck, why not a week)
|Our last stop of the day was Bamboo Island, a wide stretch of white sand and crystal clear blue water.
Here we stopped for an hour to enjoy some beach time before heading home. Another fantabulous day!
|Due southeast of Phuket, the Phi Phi Islands offer a tempting target --
an hour away by speedboat, with scenery to knock your socks off