[Krabi Province, Thailand. 9'th - 11'th Mar 2006]
After Railay, Ko Phi Phi was next on my island hopping list. Its is also located in the Krabi province and is famous for its coral reefs and limestone cliffs. The Phi Phi archipelago has two rather prominent islands, Ko Phi Phi Don the bigger sibling with the accommodation and other niceties. Ko Phi Phi Leh, the smaller sibling is technically uninhabited and can be done as a day trip from the larger island. If you guys remember the movie "Beach", it was shot at Maya Bay which is located on Ko Phi Phi Leh and is a major tourist attraction.

My main draw to these islands was their supposedly awesome coral reefs, but i cant swim and i didn't wanna dive either (read something about cavities exploding when u dive.. lol not that dramatic but they are supposed to pain a lot) so i've decided to go kayaking around the island and experience the reefs from above. Granted its not gonna be as good as snorkeling but i had no other choice. The more i researched, the more i became obsessed with the idea of kayaking from Ko Phi Phi Don to Ko Phi Phi Leh, its supposed to be an hour, hour and half kayaking distance between those two islands and i thought i could make it easily. In the company of some guided group ofcourse, im not crazy enough to attempt the distance alone.

I was in for a rude shock when i reached Phi Phi Don from Krabi town in the afternoon. Ton Sai village was where the pier was located and unlike Railay, there were ugly buildings everywhere and a lot of construction going on (still recovering from the Tsunami at a feverish pace). Out came the Lonely planet and i desperately hoped to find a quiet spot on this messy island. Sure enough i found it, Hat Yao (aka Long Beach) is supposedly a 300m beautiful stretch of beach on a bay isolated from the main island. I had to options to get there, take a ferry taxi (100bhat) or walk straight for 15 mins to get there. I chose to walk, and stupidly enough i didn't ask for any directions and after 30 mins i ended up exactly where i started. It was getting late, so i plunked the 100bhat for a boat and got to the Hat Yao beach. It was indeed beautiful, quiet with white sandy beaches and a row of beach resorts looking out at the sea. I took a room at the first place i went to, 500bhat per night for the roomy wooden beach bungalows with private bathrooms.


The options for food and entertainment were pretty limited at the Hat Yao beach, you just have to eat at the resorts restaurants, watch DVDs there. Or otherwise take a boat and go to Ton Sai village for the most 'happening' hangouts on the island. On the first night i was pretty tired from all the travelling, so i just had a mediocre dinner at the resorts restaurant and went and sat outside on the sand, looking out at the beach having a cold beer and writing in my journal (btw.. the journal is just for reference, im doing all my writing now fresh off from the memories in my head)


The next morning, i wanted to find a tour group which would take me kayaking to PhiPhi Leh. But all the groups i came across were taking you on a boat to the island and then let you kayak around it for a little while. In retrospect i should've gone aboard one of those boats, but i soldiered on trying to do it on my own. Finally running out of options i rented my own kayak, managed to convince one of the guys working there to join me (i was still chicken to kayak alone in the open sea) went around the Phi Phi Don island (he didn't want to row the distance to Phi Phi Leh). Kayaking was a great experience, i spotted a sting ray, a couple of big weird jelly fish and many schools fishes usually hugging the cliff sides. We also went to a couple of deserted beaches(Hat Laa Naa and Monkey beach) and spent some time there lying in the shade and taking a breather from all the rowing.


After coming back from Kayaking, i hung around in the TonSai village for a while, had my dinner there and bought a couple of Phi Phi T-shirts. Oh yeah.. i managed to lose my ticket also. I was calling Thai airways to postpone my travel date (i was having a wonderful time, that i decided to stay 4 extra days :) and when i went back to the resort i realized that i left my ticket at the booth itself. When i went back, it was'nt there. I was'nt too worried though, called the airlines told them that i lost my ticket and they asked me to get a police complaint and use it to get another ticket issued. It all sounded very simple. In the end, i did everything they asked for but still ended up buying another full ticket for my flight back to India. But it was totally worth it.