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Phi Phi Islands, Thailand

The shuttle bus picked me up from my hostel right around 8:30am and I was off to the harbor, which would take about 2 hours because we had to pick up people along the way (Sirena helped me find the best service which was super helpful). It was actually a really nice mini-van where I had the whole front row to myself and was able to eat my dragon fruit I had bought the night before (as well as have my coffee before the van came), so the timing was perfect. We arrived at the harbor/pier where all these vans were dropping off tons of tourists. It was a hassle and no one was really there to help (like they did in Bali) with bags, so I carried all my bags with me to the booth this lady was guiding us along to. I got a sticker and boarded the large ship packed with backpackers to the Phi Phi islands and grabbed a seat in the front where there were all these couples and a few families. I sorted through pictures and relaxed during the 2 hour boat ride and then went up to the outside deck as soon as we were arriving at the islands. It was a very beautiful view with clear blue skies and aqua-colored water and tons of those long colored indigenous looking boats and other ships all around. When we arrived at the island, we had to pay an unexpected 20 bat tax fee that I originally thought was going to a taxi to my hostel but wasn’t. There were tons of locals holding hostel signs and I knew mine probably wouldn’t be on there since I didn’t set anything up like that. So I asked one of the guys and he said it was really close so I looked it up on and it actually was only 5 minutes. But in the heat and with all these small alleyways with popup stores selling souvenirs everywhere, it was tough getting past all the slow walking people with all my bags. I finally arrived and the receptionist was really nice and checked me in early. I relaxed and charged my phone in the air conditioned private room and ($40/night?) and then headed out to this viewpoint the girl from Germany, Pia, had told me about. Well first, I actually got lunch right outside my hostel which was this shrimp soup curry that was really yummy and had a nice kick to it. The walk to the viewpoint was interesting, it really gave me a feel for what I was in for the next couple of days on this island. With tons of pop-up stores with souvenirs, braided hair, nails, scuba diving, massages, boat ride tours, restaurants, cafes, fruit pop-ups, 7-11s, cart pop-ups, markets, tattoo parlors, bars, and hostels...basically a big beautiful yet trashy beach island with tons of tourists. I approached the steps up to the viewpoint that were extremely steep but felt good to sweat. As you get to the top you have to pay a small fee and then it was hard getting pictured with everyone in the way, the second viewpoint especially had a nice view of both beaches. I stayed up there for about an hour after taking pictures and then headed back down before sunset. I wanted to go to this so called "Monkey beach" to see the sunset which I thought would be on the other side to see the sun set on the water, but it wasn’t. It was a longer walk than expected and the tide was super low, so had to walk out towards the water and couldn’t see the sun, but it was a beautiful backdrop of this cliff and green limestone mountains with clear water crabs and tons of coral to maneuvers around as I walked out in the low tide. Then it was sunset sky time so I sat on the beach and relaxed before going back to shower once it got dark. After I showered I went to get dinner and was going to go to another place but was actually really tired so just went to the same place right outside my hostel and ordered a chicken stir fry dish this time, did some research, and then went to bed.

The next morning, I slept in really late because I was still feeling congested and could tell I needed the sleep. I had looked up this coffee shop with good reviews and went there, the lady said it would take some time and I said it would be fine and my cappuccino came out really quickly and then after 20 minutes I went to check on my food and she still hadn’t started making it so I left because I didn’t feel like waiting longer. I went to this other cafe I had also looked up and ordered scrambled eggs and a banana smoothie and it was much cheaper there so glad I went. I decided to get my hair braided because I felt like it and then walked towards Long Beach (the opposite side to Monkey Beach). It was another part of the island I hadn’t seen before, more elegant looking and I much preferred it. It was a long walk along this trail set off in the trees with a beautiful scene of the water surrounding. There were resorts at first that were a bit trashy and not my scene and then cool bungalows, and then finally got to LongBeach where there was white sand and clear blue water. Not too crowded and I decided to walk all the way to the end to check it all out before settling down. There was this resort at the very end that had an infinity pool and I got in without anyone saying anything which was great and then I found a spot on the beach and went in the water finally after so much walking and sweating - it felt amazing. The water was shallow for a while and I played swimming for a long time before laying in the sun and taking a nap and then going back in the water for a long time. I needed some time in the ocean, my last chance at the beach in who knows how long. And it was relaxing to be there on my own (even though there were tons of loud Russians and couples everywhere, I just ignored it) and thought about life and things. It was about sunset so I needed to head back and that German girl, Pia had messaged me that morning on Instagram telling me that they were heading to the island that day unexpectedly and would arrive around 3pm so I asked her where they were and we met up and went to get dinner (one of her friends had also come along with her and her boyfriend so it was the four of us). The thing about being in a group with basically strangers is that it’s so hard to make decisions on where to eat, that’s the one thing that seems to be an issue every single time. We landed on a place right outside my hostel and it was a small plate and cheap, not the best, but I ordered this yellow noodle dish with shrimp and then they went back to nap as I went back to shower. I was tired but wanted to go out for a little so we met back up around 9:30pm and walked towards the beach bars. As soon as we arrived, there was music blasting and tons of neon lights and drunks. It was a cool beach party scene with different bars and themes, and free shots signs everywhere. One had a fire thing going on with jump roping and the other neon jump roping, many games and people around. We went to all the ones along the beach and ran into the people from our other hostel in Phuket we had originally met at (that one guy from Utah was wasted), and we watched all the entertainment going on and Pia played musical chairs. Then we went back to this other bar to dance and then decided to check out the scene at a bar inland and it was nice to not be on a beach with drunks with cool live music, playing songs like Hakuna Matata and fun music like that. After 4 beers I was tired and it was approaching midnight so I headed back to my room as they went back to the beach.

I went to bed and was up in time to get some breakfast before catching the 11am ferry. I checked out and it turned out the company I bought my ticket with didn’t have an 11am ferry I had to pay for another ticket back and airport transfer. I was really upset and annoyed because I even asked the guy when he gave me the ticket what times were available and he said 11am and 1pm everyday too and he was wrong because certain companies have certain times. I tried to go talk to that company at the pier in Phuket but they weren’t there and so there was nothing I could do. I got to the airport 4.5 hours early so I got lunch, my last pho, and bubble milk tea, did some journaling and research as it poured down rain and then I was ready to get to Chiang Mai.

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