We started our journey out from Koh Tao late at night headed for the port town of Surat Thani. From here we were due to jump on a bus which would bring us to our final destination of Krabi. The journey itself again was not found wanting for complexity or comedy! The initial boat ride that carried us through the night crammed a hundred or so travellers into tiny sleeping spaces, cramped next to each other and of course we got the spot with the broken over-head fan. The journey itself wasn’t comfortable, and it had crossed my mind that I had been deceived and once at Surat Thani, I would discover I had been victim of an illegal people trafficking operation. Despite this, spirits were high on the crossing, anticipating what lay ahead. For us, that was a short pickup ride from Surat Thani to a small cafeteria, where we had to wait for our coach for almost three hours, whilst serenaded by Thai versions of 80’s pop classics on the stereo at 6am!
It seemed our luck had changed when our transport arrived. How silly we were to believe we would be able to catch up on some
sleep in the comforts of an air conditioned coach. The air conditioned coach part was great – but what wasn’t was the driver decided to turn the volume up to full on the movie which was playing, rendering us all unable to sleep once more! We were almost too bleary eyed to notice that the driver eventually dropped us off down a quiet street in the middle of nowhere at yet another cafeteria, where we were charged an additional taxi fee to reach our ultimate destination in Krabi.
Whilst many things in Thailand are made easy for travellers (including arranging transport), actually getting from A to B is another story entirely.
So...Krabi. We decided to spend two nights in Krabi, in part because we had been told by others that it has a pretty spectacular coast line with lots to do and partly because we wanted to allow the tail end of the Full Moon goers to be done with Koh Phi Phi before we arrived, leaving the island hopefully a little quieter. We opted for accommodation recommended in Lonely Planet in Krabi Town, and stayed at Chan Cha Lay House. If ever you visit Krabi, I would highly
recommend this very cheap option – the rooms were very clean and modern and the four women who run the place will help with anything you need.
We had one full day in Krabi and so, through the hostel, we arranged a tour of some of Krabi’s coastal islands: Chicken Island, Moh Island & Tub Island. We visited Moh Island first for a spot of snorkelling in what was a mixed bag for Amy. She was initially ecstatic when Howie pointed out a patch of coral from which tiny clown fish repeatedly poked their heads out from their shelter. However, things quickly turned hilarious when all I could hear where manic shouts as Amy began frantically punching at larger fish who had started to bite at her legs! They always say you should let nature take its course and never get involved so, however much I wanted to be the chivalrous boyfriend, I didn’t want to upset the natural order of things so instead, just floated there and laughed.
The following day, we set sail again for a short crossing across the Andaman Sea to the beautiful islands of Koh Phi Phi. Phi Phi Don is the larger
of the two islands (Phi Phi Leh being the smaller and more famous, given its appearance in ‘The Beach’). After dumping our gear, we headed down to Ao Lo Dalam beach for a bit of sunbathing before exploring Ton Sai village, the primary settlement on Phi Phi.
After exploring the town some and meeting up with friends, we discovered Reggae Bar – a bar where free drinks are given out to anyone who takes part in a Thai Boxing match against another traveller. Whilst the gloves and head guard are provided, most bouts we saw generally turned ugly with tempers reaching boiling point. It came as little surprise then when, after being challenged to a bout by another drinker, Howie showed a flicker of hesitation. However, with numerous friends around, he couldn’t back down...after accepting the challenge; he spent the next 2 hours preparing for the big fight, updating his non-existent boxing knowledge and technique. However, the crash course coaching sessions he took in his corner combined with his obsession with the Thai film “Ong Bak” resulted in a rather polished fighter who claimed a solid points victory!
After parting with some of our friends the following morning;
Amy, Howie and I had arranged to visit Phi Phi Ley. After some more snorkelling and general wowing at the rock formations on the smaller island, we took the adventurous route to reach Maya Bay, setting of the movie itself. Rather than our boat simply motor into the bay, we approached from the opposite side of this small island – a daunting rope climb up some rocks while waves crashed against our backs. After a short walk to the opposite side of the island through some greenery, we emerged onto Maya Bay beach, simply stunning in its scenery, surrounded on all sides by mountainous cliff faces with a small opening to the sea a few hundred meters out into the lagoon. Like ourselves, there were a few tourists about (although not too many) sauntering over the flour textured sand, and even the odd piece of rubbish but neither were close to being enough to disrupt the sheer awe that this beach conjures.
Many photographs later, we returned back to Phi Phi Don and had dinner with a few friends we had made from the trip to Phi Phi Ley. Sadly, this was our final night with Howie, as he
was set to return to England early the following morning. His presence was a welcome addition to our trip and he will be missed. We said our goodbyes the following morning, after which Amy and I spent an additional relaxing night on Phi Phi for our penultimate night in Thailand before heading south of the border...
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