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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Koh Phi Phi

Koh Phi Phi

Our next destination was the beautiful brochure model Phi Phi islands. They're not a backpackers destination, most backpackers stay in Krabi in the mainland, but we wanted to see these world famous islands.

As we arrived we took a long boat to Longbeach, where the bungalows we had booked were located. It's a nice area, 30 min away from the noisy party Phi Phi village. The Longbeach bungalows where we stayed were quite basic, but better than the ones in Koh Phagnan (800 bt/night).

There's not much to do in Longbeach. It's a place to relax and enjoy the sun and the water (in high tide, otherwise the sea is full with rocks). We met two swedish girls in the resort (we can't get rid of the Swedes...) and went out one night to the only bar where something seems to happen. They have fire shows up till midnight. It was really funny dancing on the beach under a thunderstorm. We also had a close encounter with the chef from the restaurant where we had dinner earlier. Strange creepy drunk guy. He was chewing his lit cigarette in front of us.

Maya beach
We took an afternoon off to go to the now extremely popular Maya beach, in Phi Phi Leh, where the movie The Beach was filmed. I can only say it's a fantastic place, well worth spending a day there (it's in a natural park so you have to pay to go in and there are no touristic infrastructures on the island).

Phi Phi Village
The new Phi Phi Village (the old one was washed away in the tsunami) is a labyrinth of narrow streets located between the sunrise and sunset beaches. It's not a nice place to stay, but it's the only place in the island where you can find supermarkets, bars and restaurants at affordable prices and a market. At night it's crowded with drunk tourists. The bars on sunrise beach were funnier and less crowded. There's fire shows every night on the beach bars and we just grabbed beers in the supermarkets and sat down on the beach enjoying the shows until the party started. It was fun to stay there for two nights, but I don't think I would have enjoyed staying there for a longer period.

The postcard picture
Walking up to the viewpoint to get that beautiful picture of Phi Phi Village in between both beaches with the bluish/greenish sea bathing the island is an exhausting activity given the heat, humidity and inclination. On the way up we took the forest trail. After reaching the viewpoint we relaxed there for a while enjoying the views. It's quite relaxing the place.
After that we decided to walk to another beach on the other side of the island. It's a hard walk downhill but it was well worth the effort. Hat Rantee beach it's the place I had been dreaming of all this time. Almost deserted, there are only two resorts there and they're kind of hidden by the vegetation, sandy beach, hardly any rocks. Simply perfect. It's a pitty we didn't stay longer. It started raining a couple of hours after we arrived so we left before the steep trail became muddy and before the actual storm that was heading for the island arrived.

We just went to Phuket to catch a plane to Bangkok. As we saw that the airport wasn't that far from a beach we left the bags at the airport and walked 15 min there. it wasn't as easy as i expected to get there, because it is part of a national park, so foreigners have to pay... as i wasn't willing to pay when i was 50m away from the beach, we turned back, turned right and walked 10 min until i saw a trail following an electric wire that went through the forest. we followed it and... arrived in a beautiful, deserted beach, where we stayed until it was time to go back to the airport and catch our flight.

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