Ciarán & Elaine's Travelog

Monday, July 23, 2007

Paradise on Phi Phi

The second we stepped off the ferry at Phi Phi we loved it. Wandering to our hotel through the windy streets we immediately noticed that there was no traffic at all. Everywhere we've been in Asia has been teeming with mopeds but here on this little island they don't have any motorised vehicles and it was such a change not to have to constantly duck out of the path of a crazy driver. Apart from the 'island' feel the sun is shining and it's hot hot hot here!!!

Phi Phi is famous for two things; the movie 'The Beach' and the Tsunami. Two tragedies. There is evidence of the tsunami everywhere on the island. Apart from the evacuation route signs, the memorial garden which is so sad and the photo's in bars and restaurants of the massive cleanup operation afterwards there is so much rebuilding going on. Everywhere you go you can see construction sites.

One of the days we took a walk up to the viewpoint and were chatting to a Thai guy up there who had photo's of the island from the viewpoint before the tsunami and again just after. The difference in the landscape was unreal. It's so sad to think of what happened.

Aside from the tsunami Phi Phi is amazing. It's tiny and two of the beaches split the island into one of the most picturesque places we've been. Couple that with great food, great weather and great nightlife and you've got a little piece of paradise.

We met up with Marc & Megan again and bumped into some other people that we've met while travelling through SE Asia. It seems like everyone's on their way home now and determined to make the most of the last few weeks. We intended spending three days on Phi Phi but ended up staying for ten.

One of the real highlights was a trip to the beach from the movie 'The Beach'. We took the sunset boat trip, stopping along the way to kayak to Monkey Bay to see the long tailed monkeys, followed by snorkelling and more kayaking in the lagoon before reaching the 'tunnel' to the beach. Like in the movie, it's not the most accessible place. We had to swim from our boat and clambour over rocks (there were ropes to hold onto) before making it through the tunnel. It was worth the effort. The Beach is stunning, definitely one of the nicest we've ever been to. It began to rain lightly as we reached the water but swimming in the warm sea with the rain coming down seemed to make it even more beautiful.

Phi Phi has been a real highlight of Thailand. Eating at Papaya restaurant, which has the best Thai food and friendliest staff, free drinks in Tiger Bar and watching the fireshows on the beach at night. Topped with blue skies, hot sun and swimming in crystal clear water - it's been a perfect end to Thailand.


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