So all the travel books say not to head to Koh Phi Phi in the high season without booking accommodation… Since I stopped following the travel book long ago, I didn't take heed to this warning. The majority of Guesthouses do not have internet sites, nor is there a yellow pages or phone book of Thailand. So how could these places be pre booked if there was no way of reaching them right....WRONG! The ferry ride was a straight shot from Phuket only taking about two hours, however it was a long two hours. The person next to me was an annoying talker that insisted on playfully bashing the United States, I wasn't havin it. After arriving on the shores of Phi Phi around 4pm I set off on a scout for a room that night. Up until now my routine if I arrive at a new place later in the day has been to find some decent accommodation straight away even if it is a little pricey then have a good scout about in the morning. After asking the first twenty guest houses if they had room and with all their replies being FULL, I knew I was in trouble. Thankfully this SCUBA instructor, Hussein, outside his shop stopped me asked me if I was searching around for accommodation. When I told him I that I was and was having no luck, he let me drop my rucksack in his office and told me to go looking a little more, if by the time he got off that night I still didn't have a place, I could sleep at his place. This threw me back a bit, thought it was a little sketch but being able to leave my pack at his shop was something that I was willing to do. So once again I set off searching and praying for a place, I was scared to be out on the streets for a night. In my head I was already devising a plan on how I'd stay awake for the entire night. In the end I tried literally every guesthouse I could find on the streets with no luck. I returned back to Hussein defeated. He told me not to worry that I could have his bed and he'd go sleep at a friend’s house. When I found out that his bed was actually in a dorm room at a well known guesthouse, I was put at ease.
So finally with accommodation taken care of I was left to enjoy the village of Tonsai, the only real inhabited village of Koh Phi Phi. It was very small, no room for any vehicles whatsoever. Locals insisted trying to bike around on bicycles however the streets were too packed with tourists that a bike was more of a hindrance. I wouldn't really even call them streets. They were more like elaborately packed alley ways with shops, guesthouses, restaurants, and bars all packed on top of each other.
One of the days I was able to take a sunset snorkeling trip to various coves and beaches around the island. Including the infamous Maya Bay (the filming location of "The Beach"). I have many pictures, but I'm afraid that my account and photos wouldn't do it justice. The entire area was truly remarkable with scaling cliff sides and turquoise blue waters. Limestone carsts with wild jungle vegetation scattered the oceans surrounding Phi Phi. This place had remarkable beauty. My only gripe would be the hordes of tourists everywhere, but hey I'm one of them so I can't really be a hypocrite and complain.
In transition from Phi Phi to my Live aboard trip in the Similan Islands, I decided to make a stopover in Phuket (pronounced Poo-ket not Fucket). The famous Phuket is the largest island in the world, so large in fact that it didn't feel like an island. It felt more like the mainland. Hordes of tourists every year crowd these shores for resorts, sex, and parties. Patong beach is where all this action takes place and can sort of be considered as the Tijuana equivalent of Thailand I'd say. So of course this is where I decided to plant myself for the night hahaha. Patong screams sex but not in a good way. Bangla street was lined with bar after bar littered with go-go girls and prostitutes, touts hawking ping pong shows, drunken tools and nasty old men. Not my scene; instead to escape the madness, I had a very "American" day. I spent the day browsing their massive mall. It reminded me of Honolulu’s massive mall complex or some mall complex you'd find down in southern California somewhere. It transported me back home for a bit; after reminiscing about home for a while, I decided to take in a film. I went and saw Tron. Besides the Thai subtitles, I found the movie to be good but the most interesting part of the experience took place before the movie even started. If I haven't mentioned it before, His Majesty, the Thai King is very egotistic (I'm sure I'd be stoned to death over here if I expressed those feelings to a local Thai). His seems to be somewhat worshipped over here. You can find extravagant monuments and larger than life-size photographs of him and his queen scattered about in any town or city here in Thailand. A bit flashy if you ask me. So back to the film...before the movie started, the audience all had to stand to give respect to His Majesty the King while the played what I believe to be the national anthem in the background. Thought it was interesting enough to share with you all. =)
Well stay tuned for an account of my live aboard scuba trip to the Similan Islands. I'll be writing very soon. Just to give everyone an account on where I am now though, I've moved on to Cambodia. My blog is about a week behind so I'll try to catch up in the next few days.