Thursday, June 26, 2014

Thailand Part 3: Koh Phi Phi

Koh Phi Phi is probably one of my favourite places in Thailand, along with Chiang Mai. It's one of those places that sucks you in and you don't really ever want to leave...
After Koh Phangan, I headed to Krabi for a night on my way to Koh Phangan, where I did some rock climbing and met a few Canadians! We ended up at the bar of my hostel and played beer pong against some Americans (and won, of course! When it comes to Canada vs USA, whether it's hockey or beer pong, we always win ;) )
The next day, I went on a bus to the pier, and met a girl from England and a guy from Belgium. We talked all the way to the pier, and then on the 2+ hour ferry, we kept talking. Finally, when we arrived on Koh Phi Phi, we all decided to follow her, because she had a reservation in a good hostel. She had booked a double room, which was the smallest room they had, and so I decided to share the room with her (Because when you're backpacking through a country, rooming with a total stranger is honestly not weird!) and the Belgian guy booked a room with his friend right next to us. We ended up spending our whole time together and I had such a great time with them!
These signs were everywhere. Koh Phi Phi was one of the places that was hit during the tsunami.
The island of Koh Phi Phi is an interesting one. Where most people are is called Tonsai Village, which means "tourist" village, and that's really what it is: hostels, hotels, restaurants, bars, convenient stores, tour shops, tattoo shops and souvenir shops. There are more tourist than locals there. I'm not usually a fan of very touristy areas, but I really loved this place. 
Notice the Irish pub in the background? (And yes, that's a REAL monkey!!!)
The day after I arrived, I went on a boat tour, that eventually made its way to Maya Bay, where the movie The Beach was filmed. Honestly, it was a beach like any other, but the way we got there was really cool. We arrived to this sort of round rock face by boat and in front of us was a rope ladder, which connected to a boardwalk. This boardwalk lead us into what looked like some sort of hidden summer camp with wooden cabins and everything. The path continued onto the famous beach. (I didn't take many pictures because we were all soaked...)
On our second night, we were out late for dinner and suddenly, all the bars around us started closing.... Confused, we asked our waiter and he told us that the military announced a coup d'├ętat, which included a nation-wide curfew: 10pm-5am. So even though we were on a tourist island, very far away from Bangkok where all the protests were happening, they still closed down most of the bars and shops out of respect. It was a little strange the first night, but the curfew was a lot less strict there. They left us tourists alone and we were free to do whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted.

Finally, it was time to leave. I needed to head back to the mainland, to Phuket to catch a flight to Chiang Mai. I didn't want to leave, but I had no choice. So with a heavy heart, I said goodbye to my new friends and made my way to my least favourite place in Thailand. After a 2 hour ferry ride, I had to pay 5 times the normal price for a taxi to my hostel. Everything in Phuket was insanely expensive because of the intense amount of tourists there. The taxi dropped me off at the beginning of this insane street and told me to go "that way." That insane street is called Bangla Road. It's basically the red light district all in one street: strip clubs, night clubs, prostitutes, ladyboys, drugs, ping pong shows (don't ask...) who are all harassing you. So after an hour of walking in circles, I finally found my hostel. The A/C was at 15 degrees Celsius at night and you couldn't turn it up... So I nearly froze to death and got no sleep... But, the best part of Phuket was the sunset on the beach.

After 4 amazing days in Koh Phi Phi, Phuket is barely even in my mind. It's definitely a place I recommend and if I ever go back to Thailand, that will definitely be on my list of places to visit.

Thailand posts:
Part 1: Bangkok // Part 2: Koh Phangan // Part 3: Kho Phi Phi // Part 4: Chiang Mai // Part 5: Khao Sok

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