Day Trip Leads to New Plans

My plans were to pack after I got home from the day trip and leave town tomorrow. I was so bushed that I’m staying in Phuket Town another day. I’m also staying because my plans have changed.

I talked to several people who have been quite disappointed by what they’re finding in Southern Thailand. They, as I, expected that low season would mean a certain amount of piece and quiet. Nope.

Much of the tourist infrastructure in the remote areas shuts down in the low season so getting to the remote locations requires a lot of effort and sometimes astonishingly high prices from one of the few long tailed boat owners who is working now. Thus, most of the tourists head for the name brand locations and the places that are between famous and remote which means not much peace or quiet.

That means I’m going to spend a few hours on the net today and see how and if I want to change my plans. But I can’t come come to Southern Thailand and not see the amazing vertical walled limestone islands, so I took a day trip to the islands of Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh.

First stop was Maya Bay, prominently featured in the movie The Beach.

I wasn’t the only one who saw the movie.

Next we dropped anchor in a sheltered spot on the lee of the island for a 30 minute snorkeling stop. The water was shallow and there were lots of one kind of fish that swarmed you until they realized you didn’t bring any food. No photos.

Five minutes down the coast the boat putted into a long narrow bay lined with towering cliffs. Cool. Again, no photos.

Monkey feeding was next. Two or three boats at a time poked their bows up to the trees while a deckhand tossed banana bits for the monkeys. Forgot my camera when I went up to the bow, so I have some shots of the human zoo from the middle of the boat.

A short ride later we come to the only inhabited part of the two Phi Phi islands. Lunch and shopping. There are no cars on the island, I can’t remember but I don’t think I saw any scooters either. Businesses move stuff around by push cart.

After 75 minutes we headed back to the mainland. The first 45 minutes was unpleasant. The swells has been tiny on the way over, by the afternoon there was a 1.5 meter swell running. The worse part was that it was reflecting off the island we had just left so the seas were short, choppy and hard to read. The skipper would chop the throttle when he saw were were about to slam, thus reducing the impact. I’ve driven power boats in the ocean, if the skipper was better or the waves more readable he would have cut the throttle to avoid a slam. Everyone quickly learned to brace for impact when the RPMs dropped.

It was a workout. My hamstrings, lower back and arms are sore from the pounding. The skipper could have slowed down, but that would have shortened the time at our last destination. So he kept the throttle set somewhere between Tenderize and Abuse and we made good time to Banana island. After about 45 minuets we came into the lee of an island chain and the swells dropped substantially. The skipper took this opportunity to peg the throttles, so we were only pounded a little bit.

Banana island (I think that was the name) wasn’t much.

The best thing about it was that about half of the business were closed so one could grab a chair on their deck in the shade without paying 100 bath (3 dollars) for a beach chair and umbrella.


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