We had been warned that Koh Phi Phi’s paradise had met its demise due to overdevelopment, so we searched for our own quieter beach on the island. We managed to find a stretch of white sand beach with Phi Phi’s famed spectacular turquoise water, with only a few sleepy resorts nearby. Unfortunately, we encountered trouble in paradise after eating dinner in the main tourist hub: Jon and I contracted a nasty case of food poisoning at the “Four Seasons” hotel Phi Phi. Definitely not the real Four Seasons, but an (apparently dirty) Thai knockoff. We were laid up in our cabana for 36 hours, only venturing out briefly for rice at one point. We made it through and moved on to Koh Lanta.
Next we moved onto a rocky outcropping in Krabi province, called Railay. The views of the karst limestone islands are gorgeous; we could hardly contain our excitement on the boat ride in. We stayed up on a hill in a beautiful valley surrounded by cliff instead of the beach, as the island is packed with people.
We rock climbed one day, and hiked up to a view point and lagoon the next day. After our hikes, we hung out on a gorgeous beach, with an interesting shrine in the cave. A nice island day…until: ANIMALS ATTACK! First, while we were relaxing on the beach, a green snake slithered across our blankets! We were on our feet before we realized what had happened. Then a few minutes later as we were walking back to our hotel, a rather large monkey jumped onto the path in front of us and briskly walked straight at us. Jon bolted, Jen tried to run, but the monkey pursued. When he was very close, Jen thrust her plastic bottle at him, as protection, or a last ditch effort, or the only thing she could think to do. It turned out that’s what he had wanted all along: the plastic bottle of iced tea! He climbed a tree, opened the bottle and drank it. We felt a little bad for giving him the bottle, but relieved to have avoided further confrontation.
We started our tour through tropical paradise in Thailand’s best known, biggest, and ugliest island: Phuket. We did meet a lovely Irish couple (hi Breffni and Orla!) and we even learned how to pick a delicious and un-smelly durian fruit. Yes, it’s true. We are DURIAN-LOVERS! After a couple of nights, we had enough of the strip malls, trash-filled beaches, and grouchy Russian tourists, and so we headed for a less-touristy island: Koh Yao Yoi.
– Note: Our camera was left under the bed in Phuket, so all of the photos are from the iPhone until we recover the camera in Bangkok!
KOH YAO YOI
This one was fun because we found the gorgeous and less-travelled island on a fluke: Jen looked at a map, and wondered why she had never heard of the giant islands right next to Phuket. After a quick google search of the island revealed the phrase, “one of the last unspoiled islands in Thailand,” we planned our trip there immediately.
The island lived up to its accolades: the scenery was stunning and the people were kind and Thai-quirky. For example, on arrival, our taxi driver told us, “You are welcome to Thailand!” at least 10 times, before suddenly pulling over and declaring that it was time to take photos. An awkward photo session of epic proportions ensued session. For every shot he would arrange us with expert precision: hands held, Jen’s head tilted against Jon’s chest. He was adorably wacky in a way that reminded Jen why she loves Thailand.
The view and the pool at our bungalows were stunning, and we hardly left the resort for 3 days. We met Canadian writers, Kristen and Kavi, who were also on an extended RTW journey, and together we took a long kayaking trip to a nearby beach, and later celebrated Kristin’s birthday, a couple of times.