Published: November 25th 2006November 20th 2006
Beautiful Rock formations and crystal clear water make Phi Phi one of the loveliest Islands in the world once you get away from everyone.
After a rather long overnight trip from Koh Tao to Phuket we found ourselves on the hot busy streets just a couple blocks away from Patong beach with 7 people and nowhere to stay. While this isn't typically a problem, we were all hungry and cranky and rather confused. Ryan, Adrian and Randy had a friend from their work back home whose son owns a bar in Patong, so we started first by calling him even though the number didn't work. From there we scouted a few cheap hotels until eventually we settled (a tad forcefully) on the Paradise Inn. We managed to get all 7 of us in two rooms, but thanks to the wonderful Air Conditioning we prevailed and relaxed a bit before we headed out for a big night on the town.
I can't remember the last time I actually had the pleasure of relaxing in an air conditioned hotel room, but the first thing we decided to do was crank it up (or as low) as it would go. We sat in the room with the machine set to 15 degrees for as long as we could until sleeping bags came out and Randy started begging
I think I was hit hard here in this shot but I'm not sure. Either way brother looks mad at something or other I did to him in our childhood!
us to turn it back up. It was sometime around then we simply started calling our room the "Paradise Meat Locker". Later that night we went out for a drink only to find the alleyway where our hotel was located had inconveniently transformed into a hooker alley where men of all ages were sold. "Sexy Boy Disco" and other reputable bars were scattered everywhere in the vicinity and after a quick analysis we determined that our hotel was the only one on the block that wasn't rented out by the hour.
That night, and the following several nights (and days) went something like this: wake up, eat Subway, get water from 7-11, then start drinking -visit the bars and maybe get some dinner, then stumble home sometime around 1-6am with strange Thai food in our hands and half finished beers. There's really not a lot to be said about Patong beach. It's infiltrated with the highest density of western chain stores and restaurants I've seen so far in Thailand, while at the same time there are more prostitutes in the area then there are anything else. There are shopping malls for women, men and strange combinations of both sexes
In honour of all the Lady boys, the chaps pose on Patong beach.
that manage to dwell between it all. One minute you would find yourself playing Connect 4 with go-go dancers and seconds later your crotch would be in the hand of a man with fake breasts trying to pull you away. While it was a bit much to handle we did get used to it and managed to more or less sit back and laugh at what this place has actually become. All in all its probably one of the oddest places I've visited. The prostitution and the clash of Thai/Western cultures make for a very odd situation. During the middle of our stay there -Ryan, myself, James and Trevor had to make a quick jaunt into Myanmar to renew our Thailand VISA's. This essentially amounted to about 2 hours across the border and some new stamps in our passport. Myanmar in my extremely brief time there seemed to be some sort of a cross between India and Thailand, which not surprisingly makes sense given its geographic location.
But, after Patong beach we decided to get out back to the ocean and thus our errand was to seek out the lovely Phi Phi Island. We spent one night in Phuket
Cruising out to Bamboo Island!
Town where we mainly just relaxed and caught up on various chores. One thing worth mentioning was the enormous room that Ryan and I shared. For $4 a night each we basically shared a gymnasium of a room which if filled with beds could have easily accommodated all 7 of us.
From Phuket town we jumped on a boat and set sail for Kho Phi Phi Island. There are I believe 6 (I may be wrong) islands in the Phi Phi area, Kho Phi Phi being the biggest one and only one other island you can actually stay on. While Phi Phi was also a very strange place, their woes can be blamed on the Tsunami as the demand for places to stay was clearly far greater than the supply. The island has what can essentially be referred to as a "Bottleneck” and from what I was told this area was greatly affected by the Tsunami. While much of the area is actually in mid-construction, there is even today still evidence of complete destruction. We had a hard time finding anyplace for 7 people and subsequently split up.
Our first night on Kho Phi Phi saw us at
Gambling in the Meat Locker.
the "Reggae Bar” which was famous for their Muai Thai ring in the center of things. "Bar" is probably a generous word for the place, as I would more likely call it a simple warehouse with whiskey flowing through the middle and a constant stream of drunkards taking shots at each other in the ring. Of course, the first order of business was to get in the ring myself, so James and I decided to have a go at each other, which most people seemed to be all for (if not outright demanding it). Two tall Canadian guys going head to head? Brothers? The crowd seemed to agree and 10 minutes later James and I were beating each other up. While I quickly determined that the cardio I had gained from Nepal was now vanquished and was left with a dry whiskey flavored wheeze, the 2 minute rounds were about as much as either of us could endure and with the god-awful humidity we found ourselves dripping in sweat before the fight was over. While there was no KO and hardly any kicking whatsoever (neither of us are anywhere near what you would consider a trained fighter) the judge (the
The old "Bread in the Hand" trick.
ref) gave James a well earned win and we both retired to our seats in complete exhaustion. It’s been quite awhile since I fought my brother and this particular bout found him for the first time weighing more than his older nemesis and found me in total confusion as to what exactly was going on. In the end we celebrated our show and went back to our table to faint.
Other highlights of the night were Ryan and Trevor's fight, which ended with a compromising shot to Ryans newfound upper body mass and several rugby tackles in the arena. Later that night Jord then found himself in the ring with and incognito Swedish street fighter that ended in wild cheers. After the mayhem we all went out for a few more drinks before calling it a night. I'm not sure how it happened but somehow Jord, myself and Ry all seemed to fail in the arena one after another.
The following nights were a bit tamer and we decided to stay away from the Arena of Death and instead do some skin diving near Bamboo Island and some other beautiful cliffs in the area. All in all I
Mom and Dad told us not to fight, too bad they're thousands of km's away and Jodie wasn't here to break it up.
have to say that I really liked Phi Phi island, but it is a bit overcrowded (even if it just seemed that way because there wasn't enough accommodation) and if I went back I'd try to get a place as far away from the main beaches as I could. The area has so much to offer and enjoy without getting trapped in the bars and restaurants. The cliffs and rocks and crystal clear water were by far the best part of visiting the island.
On a final note, thumbs up to James for wining the eating contest between him and Adrian where enough food was consumed to feed an entire Thai family for 3 months.