Life's Cup of Tea

Monday, 4 January 2016

Travel: The Phi Phi Islands, Thailand



I dare you to type the Phi Phi Islands into Google images. That my friends is what heaven looks like. Even if you aren't a wander-lusting pinterest-pinner, you have likely seen the Phi Phi's in any magazine / book describing Thailand and probably on the big screen as this was where Leo filmed 'The Beach'. 
As we were staying in Ao Nang, it was relatively easy to book ourselves onto a day tour of Phi Phi for not a bad price at all. as with every tour we went on in Thailand we were promptly picked up and deposited at the speed boat we would be spending the day in. It's about a 90 minute ride to the islands from Ao Nang, make sure you sea sickness up. It gets a little bumpy. Our first port or call was Phi Phi Leh, the seconds largest and uninhabited island of the lot. Have some photos... lots of them! 


We stopped and snorkeled - well they snorkeled. I got out of the boat for 5 minutes, saw fish, felt ill and quickly got back out again while swearing to improve my fish stamina by the Great Barrier Reef. We slowly made our way past The Viking Cave (top picture), a top place for the bird nest industry apparently. 



Our guide then excitedly told us we were heading to Leonardo Cappuccino's The Beach. We had no idea what this beach was supposed to look like, we'd never sen the film (a miracle, I thought I had worked my way through most Leo films!)  In all the hysteria our guide was creating, we peaked over the side of the boat and saw the above beach. It was stunning but tiny. 'How did they fit Leo on there, let alone a camera?' I asked my travel buddy. 'Where did he go to the loo?!' she asked me back. Feeling we'd just seen a piece of Hollywood history, we desperately took hundreds of photos of the tiny strip of sand as we sped past. 
Now this next photo may shatter every dream you had of this dream like beach you may have seen. I am sorry. 
















We landed on the real 'The Beach' aka Maya Beach. Imagine the sound of someone repeatedly trying to kick start a grass strimmer, add the sounds of a motorbike revving, a bit of smoke and a chatter of people and that is what you have as you try to shut your eyes and relax in this 'world beauty site'. 

There was no denying that the Phi Phi islands were in part stunning. The sad thing for me was that I could see tourism ruining them, and yes hands up, I was one of those tourists! It is one of those places where you are never going to see it as it is in the tourist and pinterest photos for all the people and polluting boats - unless you do some careful cropping like me. Were I to go back again, I would NOT go on a day trip, instead going by ferry or longboat and planning our day as we wanted, spending more time in the places we wanted and less in the money traps and snorkeling.