Our flight to Phuket landed just after midnight, but we had found a place just a few minutes away from the airport. There was a guy standing there holding a sign with our names on it — just like in the movies! We arrived at the hotel, barely knowing what our surroundings looked like, and passed out. We awoke to a beautiful day, so we hopped in our suits and ran over to the beach. Gorgeous waters, bright sun… amazing.
We managed to soak up a few rays, but we knew this wasn’t where we were supposed to stay. We packed up and took a cab to Phuket Town, our jumping off point to get to Ko Phi Phi, one of those glorious islands you see in all the pictures you search for on Google while at work and dreaming of a vacation.
After a fairly uneventful stay in sleepy Phuket Town (it is the off season, after all), we experienced plenty of excitement on the ferry over to Ko Phi Phi. The views were absolutely breathtaking and the water was a shocking palette of blues and greens. The boat was crowded with all sorts of people from all over. At one point, we found ourselves tripping over a bunch of backpackers who had managed to position themselves in the most inconvenient spot. At first we were a little annoyed, then one of them pulled out a guitar and started playing songs by The Lumineers, which made everything better. It was the perfect soundtrack for the trip.
The pier at Ko Phi Phi was bustling, and we elbowed our way into the little town. (Having a huge backpack really comes in handy when you’re fighting for personal space.) The town is mostly made up of beachfront bars, souvenir shops, tattoo and piercing places, and people selling day trip packages to tourists. We eventually made it to our hotel and high-fived when we saw the view from our balcony. The view was so picturesque, it didn’t seem like there was any reason to leave the comfy lounge chairs that were set up… but we wanted to explore.
Our Let’s Go Thailand guide mentioned a hike that promised “stellar” views. What it didn’t mention was how long the hike was, or that getting there wasn’t exactly a piece of cake. The viewpoint was incredibly scenic and ended up being kind of worth it. It was, however, extremely windy at the top. Want to see how windy it was? Look what the Google Machine made for us!
We ended the day with a lovely dinner on the beach, complete with some fruity cocktails.
The next morning we awoke to some overcast weather. Up until that point, we had been pretty lucky, considering it’s the rainy season in Thailand. (But we really can’t complain because we got so lucky for the wedding.) We had big plans to visit Phi Phi Ley, a smaller island that’s home to Maya Beach (featured in one of Leo’s not-so-great movies, The Beach), so we hired a longboat to take us around.
The weather seemed to be getting a little bit worse, and the waves were… pretty impressive. We didn’t end up going to the beach because we had to swim to it from the boat and the water seemed a little treacherous. Plus, we watched as a bunch of tourists were paralyzed with fear as they prepared to climb down the rope ladder and then swim back to their own longboat. Our driver indicated that we had made the right choice, and we weren’t too upset as we had seen the beach on the ferry ride in. We did make it to another beach on the island and then swam in one of the bays, but we were thankful to get back on solid ground.
We did spend some time at the beach, but the weather just didn’t feel like cooperating with our plans to return to the States bronzed and beautiful. Most of our sun came from that first morning and our ferry ride to Ko Phi Phi. And this happened to poor Mike:
We had big hopes that the weather would be a little better for our next destination, Ao Nang beach.
[Cross-posted with www.kathleenplusmike.com]