Kho Phi Phi Islands
Kho Phi Phi Don, Thailand
We hadn’t planned to visit the islands of Kho Phi Phi, having bypassed all of Thailand’s beaches by flying from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok. But a few weeks ago while in Myanmar we received an e-mail from our friend Ken. We had last seen him in Chicago in April during our coast to coast drive and was now hopping between islands of Southern Thailand. He was off to Bangkok soon to collect our other Chicago friends Ronnie and Claire before heading down for another week on the beach. Sarah and I rerouted our journey to meet up with them by returning to Bangkok from Phnom Penh, Cambodia via sixteen hour overnight bus.
The resort itself did all that it could to make its guests feel relaxed by providing stacks of books and musical instruments (although I didn’t see anyone play anything) and lounge chairs on the beach.
One of our days we opted for more action and rented two kayaks. Ronnie and Ken took one, Sarah and I the other, and Claire stayed behind to watch us from the safety of her hammock. Ronnie and Ken clearly knew what they were doing and paddled out to sea with strong coordinated strokes. Sarah and I couldn’t get our act together, first going in circles, then finally moving sideways out to the rock island where Ken and Ronnie were waiting. In my haste to get out the kayak capsized, allowing Sarah the pleasure of joining me in the water.
As the sun went down, the other side of the island transformed into a large party. We made the thirty minute walk one night on a rocky path from the Viking Resort. At ten o’clock fire shows began, where talented locals would twirl batons to light up the dark.
Further down the beach, thousands of European college aged kids gathered to dance to thumping music while sipping from buckets of liquor. Some of the partiers were urinating into the ocean to avoid waiting in line for the bathroom. Among all the clubs and bars were a few tattoo parlors for one to forever immortalize their time. Ken warned us not to walk through one club because he had done so the previous week and left with his clothes ruined by neon body paint. Needless to say, we were all happy to be staying far away.
On our last full day on the island we hired a boat to take us to the nearby uninhabited island of Kho Phi Phi Lee. The sea was rough; we were drenched as waves crashed over the deck of the boat, and Claire and Sarah wisely donned their life vests. Eventually we made it to the bay of Kho Phi Phi Lee where we docked among several other boats to snorkel.
All was forgotten though after we walked across the island to the opposite shore to not just to any beach, but The Beach, featured in the Leonardo DiCaprio movie of the same name that all of us had heard of but none of us had seen. Large green cliffs surrounded the light blue water and white sand. After an hour or so everyone left and we had the place almost to ourselves.
Our week together ended too soon and we all parted and went our separate ways. Claire and Ronnie returned to Chicago via Bangkok, Ken went back to his solitary travels, and Sarah and I flew north to Chiang Mai.