Published: November 25th 2007November 13th 2007
WOWOWOW! Thailand, and the underwater adventures that lie within, continue to amaze! I took a ferry from Krabi over to Koh Phi Phi on the most packed, weighed down boat I've ever seen! We were a can of sardines (sardines with huge backpacks!) and the entire ride over I felt like the boat was going to sink any minute! But as soon as we pulled into the harbor on this amazing island, I knew I was in for another day in Paradise! The island is super small, but manages to host about half of the European population in its tiny streets and cafes! I was astounded at the number of travellers and tourists on holiday that were there! The store fronts were alternating souviner shops and dive shops - and that's about all the island had to offer. It was a little sad to see that there was essentially no Thai culture here, but honestly, I picked this particular island for the diving. I went straight to one of the shops and booked my dives for the next day, then met up with the fun English girls (that I met snorkeling Hong Island.) We went and got massages/pedicures and then went
out for dinner and buckets! The Thais like to serve their mixed drinks in a bucket, which is actually pretty cost effective for the traveller, and a super fun novelty!
We went to a Reggae bar that had a Thai boxing ring in the middle, and customers were encouraged to sign up for boxing (winner gets a free bucket!) to entertain the people! It was very random...but we got into it and had a great time cheering for the boxers and watching them embarrass themselves! Then we headed over to an awesome club that was thumping the music and danced our faces off! I had to get up early for diving, so was very well-behaved. :)
My first dive was at Bada Nui, which was highly reccommended by a dive shop on the mainland, so I was super excited to descend and check it out! It was the most spectacular display of colors and coral reef! There were tons of HUGE fan corals, barrel coral that I could practically climb inside, and a shelf that went on forever in both directions! There were lots of awesome schools of fish, and at one point as I was gliding along
next to the reef I looked around and was surrounded by a couple different schools of fish, and literally thought to myself, WOW I AM SO LUCKY, I'm in the middle of a National Geographic photography exhibit right now! I also saw my new favorite critter under the sea - the peacock mantis shrimp! Look it up, sooo cute and also known as "the smasher" because they have the most powerful relative strength in their "arms." They cannot be kept in captivity because they just smash the aquarium glass !!! Seriously!
The second dive was not as spectacular, because the visibility wasn't as awesome, and we did a reef wall which usually means less fish. BUT, I finally spotted some good size moray eels and a sea snake! Apparently the sea snake we saw was tiny, but super deadly! One bite is enough venom to take out 5 horses, but their mouths are so small, you have to be incredibly unlucky for them to bite you - they can only take a bit out of your ear or between your fingers and toes! Diving was absolutely exhausting, so I went to the beach party for only a little bit,
enjoyed a few drinks and the fire dancing show!
I met a fun couple from Sweden on these dives, Molin and Daniel, and we decided the next day we would rent a longboat for the day and go out to the place where they filmed The Beach! We got there early and had the entire place to ourselves, there were about 5 people there! It was sooooo breathtakingly beautiful!!! We took millions of pictures and snorkeled our hearts out, then decided to explore the interior of the island. After about 30 minutes of jungle and mountain exploration, we came back out to our beach only to find about 2,000 people and 50 boats all docked! It was INSANE! All the day-trippers from Phuket and Krabi had arrived in speedboats of 50 people or more! AAAHHHHH! We had a quick beer, then decided to head back for lunch...the awe of that beach is absolutely lost when its sardine packed with people (mostly in Speedos!)
So today is very significant, its my last day in Asia! (I'm behind a couple blogs, Malaysia coming soon, but in real time, off to Australia tomorrow!) I've done really well in my self-quest to
"The Beach" when we got there at 8am! SO GLAD we went early!!
become un-ruffleable, but today presents a difficult challenge....you see....I've lost ALL OF MY PICTURES. Each of my 3 SD cards for my camera has a virus - must have picked it up from the computer at the airport a few days ago - and my camera says the card is "locked" and the computer says the card has a virus and I have no access to the files! Breathe in, breathe out. It's OK. I'm going to send them home and hope that there is some way to access/fix it when I'm home. I'm actually so stunned and sad that I don't have a real reaction to it yet. 700 pictures of the most awesome, most unbelievable, stunning, memorable 11 weeks of my life. But put in perspective, I'm safe, I'm incredibley happy, lucky, and blessed! I've met oodles of amazing people that I hope to see again soon (I'm seriously going to have to take 3 months to tour England and visit all my new friends!) and I have many more great adventures waiting for me!
I am extrememly sad to leave SE Asia. It has been one delightful surprise after another! I cannot wait to return and
This is where they filmed "The Beach"
the irony of the tourists descending on this place is so thick....
spend some quality time here again! Now in Singapore with malls, signs in English, and an obvious lack of culture, I'm feeling a real reverse culture shock, and already missing the exotic adventures that were India, Thailand, and Malaysia!
I love all of you so much, and hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving! Keep in touch and keep sane during the holiday mayhem! I LOVE YOU!
**OK two days later...spent some time in camera shops yesterday and finally found a place w norton antivirus that could clean up the files and salvage the pictures! Phew! Saved them to a disc and learned a very valuable lesson! Download pics to cd once a month !!!
There are more photos below