Phi Phi!

For the ferry ride over we had a movie prepped and ready to enjoy for the approximately four hour journey. “The Beach” – filmed at the incredible Ma Ya Bay, is not just the scene of a dope movie, but an absolutely eye popping natural gem that screams sensory overload and delivers! It may have been amazing to see on a screen but there was nothing that could pull our eyes away from the jaw dropping beauty that surrounded us as we pulled into port.


Phi Phi Don is the main island where all the accommodation is, and Phi Phi Ley is a marine park that houses one of the worlds most beautiful beaches. Sheer cliffs peppered green by lush vegetation that greets you at every turn.

Pulling into Phi Phi Don

We found a nice little pension right in the center of town and negotiated a few nights stay. We were happy to finally rest and decided to hit the beach for a nap. After a photo shoot in the shimmering turquoise waters we laid on the soft sand, content.

Fish out of Water!
Fish out of Water!

Right as we were falling asleep, a Canadian man approached us selling his services for a cruise on his sailing yacht around Phi Phi Ley. We listened as he talked but told him we were nearing the end of our trip and unfortunately…Â our funds. He was understanding so he offered us a price we couldn’t refuse. But, we had to meet on his boat in 20 mins. We quickly grabbed what we needed out of our room and boarded. He had the whole day planned out with made lunches and all the cold Chang beer we could drink.

Fun on the Boat!

Before we knew it, we were on the boat with 4 other peeps about our age, and were dropped off to swim up to monkey beach with a dry bag full of bananas and a strict warning to stay away from the grown up ones. It was packed full of tourists slinging fruit and as Chels bent down to feed a baby monkey, the angry parent went for her. She high stepped out of the way behind a shocked teenage European kid in rock’n a Speedo. Laughter ensued.

Monkey Beach!

We all swam back to the boat and headed off to do some cliff jumping. The only other guy and I were the first to go. We climbed up the sharp limestone cliffs to a height of about 30 feet and leapt off into the blue waters. As I swam back to the boat, Chelsea jumped in and we swam over for her turn. As we began climbing we were met by a swarm of hissing monkeys. When we looked up further, the swarm was growing and most certainly were telling us we were not welcome. Unlucky for Chels but better to turn back than challenge a pack of pissed off primates.

Cliff Jumping!

It was time to sail off to Phi Phi Ley. As we approached, our skipper told us a brief history of

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the island. How there is a highly coveted swallow that nests in the high cliffs. The birds spit is sold for around $1000 a gram as it is believed to be an aphrodisiac (…..yea). So for many years the island was a battle ground for this bird spit. There had been mafia type warfare going on for years until the government stepped in and said no mas. They took possession of the island and made

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it a marine park. The bird still nests and is still highly valued so “don’t be surprised if we are greeted by a man holding a AK47, but it’s okay.. because he knows me” – says our confident captain. He explained how the birds nest high up in the cliffs and is only accessible by a dangerous climb that claims the life of at least one person a year.

Crystal Clear blue water!

The water was so incredibly beautiful, and the undeveloped island provided a perfect backdrop as we sat on the yacht drinking beer and eating watermelon. We pulled in to a small bay and ate some lunch. Suited up with snorkel gear and swam to shore. Right before I jumped in, I asked Captain Bob what kind of sea life I should look out for? He named a few native fish, sea snakes, Tiger Shark, etc. At the time I guess I wasn’t really listening but looking back I realized, man why didn’t I pay stay in longer… And that thing about the Tiger Sharks being one of the more aggressive brands of fish.

Num Num NUm!

We snorkeled across the bay, spotting “Dory” and even a sea snake before coming to a small cave opening we had to climb through! Suddenly the colors around us changed from crystal blue to piercing green as we trekked through the jungle to find MaYa Bay. We knew we were close when the dirt below us turned to soft pure white sand, and when we emerged onto the beach, it was unreal!! The water was just SOOOOO turquoise, the sand SOOOO white and soft, and barely anyone around! The ONLY disappointing thing was seeing a few boats in the bay. We figured since it was a national park, boats wouldn’t be allowed. BUT still plenty of space to admire the beauty.

About to emerge onto the beach!!
MaYa Bay!

Before we knew it, we had to make our way back to the boat to try for a little open-sea fishing! Although we DIDN’T catch anything, we did see a crazy fish swarm/sea gull fight! Along the way, Captain Bob also taught us how to sail the yacht (super cool!) before taking us to a little private beach on the side of Ma Ya bay. This one was teeny tiny but really exotic feeling. The jungle came right up to the sand, with steep cliffs surrounding the sides.

The Crew!


Private Beach!

Just when we were hopping back on the boat, a crazy storm suddenly approached, and it just started down-pouring. The 3 girls climbed into the cabin but before we knew it, the hurling wind and rain had passed and we were all jumping off the boat into the warm water! Unfortunately we had to skip the caving part of the trip because of rough waters, but we were all pretty beat by now anyway. The sun was starting to set as we played in a private cove….which gave perfect opportunity for some cool pics!

Brad backflipping at Sunset!

Eventually it was time to head back, and Bob took couple by couple back to the mainland on his dinghy. Brad and I were last to go, but decided to ask if we could stay to have a beer with him. He was super cool the whole time, letting us bring our ipods to rock out to our

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own tunes….so of course he said yes. In retrospect…probably a bad decision haha. We had already had plenty to drink! Anyway, the boat ride made for one incredible…and memorable experience! We felt so privileged to have seen “The Beach”!

The next day was spent wandering the streets of Phi Phi. It’s really small with so many little shops and restaurants. Lots of tourist stuff…but also if you really wander… you can find the local markets with fresh raw fish and veggies galore! We stumbled onto a place that we decided was a MUST to visit later.

BUT tonight was Halloween and Stones was the bar to go to tonight! Right on the beach and offering free BBQ, drink specials and a fire show…it was an easy decision. As we walked down the beach, we noticed it was a huge competition between the bars, with a contest of skeleton sand castles and fire, free giveaways, and lit-up jump ropes. We weren’t terribly anxious to drink, but went for the buy one get one free buckets anyway, and anxiously awaited the fire show. The crowd grew in perfectly sized numbers as everyone chilled out around the fire.


Finally about 4 Thai guys, 1 Thai girl, and 1 white dude painted like a smurf emerged with fire poles and sling-balls to start the show. IT WAS AWESOME!!! The music was perfect with the DJ placed high in a tree house overlooking everyone. The dancers were amazing, especially the smurf-guy!

Smurfy Fire Dancer!

Somehow we got so lucky with the weather because the day we were leaving was a crazy rainy day! We didn’t leave without going to “Just Noodles”, the little hole-in-the-wall spot in the middle of the local markets we found yesterday! The reason we were attracted to it was because everyone that eats there from around the world leaves a note and hangs it on the wall! EVERYONE said it was the best Pad Thai they ever had…and it WAS!! It was creamier than normal…think she added a bit of coconut milk….but SOOOO good!

Just Noodles!
Our note for the owner…”Song”

A belly full of pad thai is possibly one of the best ways to leave a place…even though we didn’t want to. But I get an easy feeling knowing that Phi Phi, like so many other places we’ve been to, will never have to leave us!

This entry was posted in Beaches, Phi Phi, Thailand and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Phi Phi!

  1. Carla Branch says:

    That was very enjoyable and I kept on smelling and tasting Pad Thai.

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