Koh Phi Phi

I arrived in Bangkok (Grunthep) at 5 a.m. the day of my mother’s arrival.  I spent hours trying to find the offices of ECPAT, but kept getting the ring-a-round and finally gave up.  I stumbled upon some amazing graffiti, which I had hoped to find that afternoon so it worked out perfectly.  Nothing makes me more satisfied than having a day to myself exploring a place on foot with my camera. Dee mak mak!  I headed to BKK International Airport around 11 p.m. and finally met my mother’s eyes in a sea of faces around midnight.  We headed to Khao San Road (not my favorite place due to all the farang but cheap and easy), landed at bar, had some refreshments and smoked shisha until 4 a.m.  The next day, we awoke early and headed out to two of Bangkok’s most spectacular temples – Wat Pho and Wat Prae Keow.  Bangkok was rainy and cold but it was a much-welcomed break from the heat for me.  After the temple tour, we had some eats and headed to two of Bangkok’s sex districts – Patpong which caters to tourists and is overrun with commercialism, and Nana Plaza – Thailand’s largest red light district and seedy enough to break my heart, but I had to show mums the realities of prostitution and trafficking here.  Sometimes you just have to see it to believe it.

The next morning we caught a red-eye to Trang – a quaint town in southern Thailand.  We then went by private a/c van to Hat Yao Pier and caught a high-speed catamaran to Koh Phi Phi – an island in the Andaman Sea.  I had read that Phi Phi was the most beautiful of all with its limestone rock mountains surrounded by sea green waters. I never expected it to be above and beyond my wildest imagination but it was.  Phi Phi is literally the most spectacular place I have ever been in all my 35 years.  A bit touristy and expensive with a reputation of a party island, it really didn’t matter.  I speak enough Thai to impress the locals and get around easily.  We stayed in a dumpier guesthouse away from the main center and spent our first day on a private beach in Noi Bay swimming in paradise.  That night we ate an incredible seafood dinner after hiking to the top of the island where we had an incredible view of everything.  We made it to View Point Two – a sweaty, steep climb but it was worthy every droplet of sweat.  I shot the sunset and the full moon and it was absolute perfection.

The next day we toured the entire island of Koh Phi Phi Don and Koh Phi Phi Leh by high-speed boat.  We visited many bays and swam in turquoise waters that were rejuvenating and refreshing in the incredible heat.  Add some snorkeling among the coral reef (that is mostly destroyed I am sad to report) and swimming with multicolored sealife and you’ve got yourself the dream life.  We even visited Maya Bay where the movie The Beach starring Leonardo DiCaprio circa 2000 was filmed.  What can I say about Phi Phi? It is a fantasy.  An unimaginable paradise.  A place of dreams and dreamers.  In another life, I would join the sea gypsies, renounce modern life and life on that water forever…

But Phi Phi has its troubles.  The island sees a glut of tourists every year – some estimate that one million people visit annually.  The impact is huge and the coral reef is dead due to the unconscious behavior of Thais and foreigners alike including kayaking, pollution from numerous boats, sewage, and waste.  Even though Phi Phi is heaven on earth, she needs better protection and conscious ecotourism.  The tsunami of 2004 nearly obliterated her and there has been much effort to rebuild the island.  Today it is hard to believe a tsunami ever reached its shores.  I am grateful to have spent some time basking in Phi Phi’s incredible, sparkling waters.  What I wouldn’t do to live there forever.  But it was time to leave the dream and head back into reality…

Cambodia was calling.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


One thought on “Koh Phi Phi

  1. I hope you two have a blast….it is so colorful everywhere there…especially pre-spring. My female squirrel is looking mighty plump! Loving you both, S

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s