I think Ko Phi Phi (Phi Phi) was the most beautiful place I have been so far. Before we left Krabi, the receptionist from the Krabi guesthouse we stayed at offered to arrange in advance our “pick-up” service with our next guesthouse in Phi Phi. Collectively we decided it would be worth the few dollars extra to avoid the hassle of trying to figure out where we were going and how upon arrival at Phi Phi. We arrived in Phi Phi around 11-am after a 1-½ hour ferry ride from Krabi. The Island was beautiful with white sand beaches and blue water. We walked with all our bags to the end of the dock to find what we assumed was our taxi waiting for us. We found a small Thai man holding a sign with one of our names on it and followed a few feet then he told us to “wait here.” We stood and waited for him in the middle of what seemed like a busy market made up of tons of souvenir selling stands in every direction with very narrow walkways, we had no idea how we would find the little man and his taxi. About 10-minutes later the little man comes back with a huge metal cart for our luggage, we thought that was very thoughtful of him to go out of his way to get a cart to take our luggage to the car when we easily could have carried it ourselves. He directed us to follow him as he wheeled our luggage, about 15 minutes into our walk through the busy market area it occurred to us there wasn’t going to be a taxicab. The “pick up service” we had arranged was in fact this little Thai man and his cart.
When we finally arrived at the guesthouse we were very grateful for his service because honestly it could have been hours until we found the place we were staying at. Although small, the island’s central market/town area wasn’t easy to navigate through. It was made up of narrow dirt roads and numerous sandwich stands, pancake stands, souvenir stores, restaurants, bars, adventure & scuba tours, nail & massage salons, and guesthouses.
The next day was incredible. There were about 9 of us (NTU exchange students in Phi Phi for recess) that also really wanted to go snorkeling so we were able to arrange a private longboat and tour guide to take us to a coral reef, Maya Beach (where Leonardo DiCapprio’s “The Beach” was filmed) and cliff jumping. In total we each paid under USD$13 for the entire adventure (I don’t even think it is possible to rent snorkel gear in the US for under $13.) The snorkeling was better than I could have imagined. I expected it to be similar to the snorkeling I did in Indonesia, but instead we snorkeled in a large cove protected by the tall rocky cliffs (unlike Indonesia where we were out a bit deeper in open water.) The water was calm allowing for excellent visibility and the ability to swim easily without being thrown into the coral. Simply by skimming the surface of the water you could see a wide variety of brightly colored fish, coral, and other sea creatures you would only expect to see on The Discovery Channel.
Maya Beach was a little over-rated in my opinion. I can’t say it isn’t a beautiful beach, but unfortunately the heavy tourism has subtracted from its natural ‘untouched’ beauty. Maya Island is very small and doesn’t have any resorts hotels, restaurants etc., only one man lives on the Island, but offers the opportunity for others to arrange an overnight camp adventure and sleep outside in a tent on the beach.
Only one guy from our group actually went through with jumping off the cliff, the remainder of us passed simply because the idea of hiking up a rocky cliff just to risk your life jumping down didn’t sound too appealing. Luckily he made it up and down safely, completing our snorkel adventure in Ko Phi Phi. The next day we took a late ferry to Phuket, ate dinner and flew back to Singapore very early the next morning, putting an end to our AMAZING recess break in Thailand!