Exhausted from a long and seemingly never-ending trans-atlantic flight (28 hrs including 2 brief layovers), prying to keep our eyes open after a serious caffeine/sugar crash, we finally made it to Phuket (Poo-Get)!! A collection of limestone peaks dotting the Andaman Sea against the orange hue of the sun…beautiful sight for sore eyes! 🙂
We grabbed an airport taxi to take us to our hotel Le Meridien on Karon beach; our home for the next few days.
The hotel’s beach was lovely, crystal clear blue water and soft powdery sand against the warm sun – this was so great. We could not believe that we had just arrived from -10ºF (and snow) to THIS in less than 48 hours!
After a quick lunch (severely jet-lagged but bouncing with joy), we discussed the plans for the next few days and bought the tickets from the concierge (we had a fairly good idea about what we wanted to do – island hopping)! However, we had grossly under-estimated how long it would take us to get one from one island to another (Phuket –> Krabi) even if one were to take a speed boat (ferries are quite infrequent and take much longer), and boat tours are not daily but specific to certain days (M/W/F). 😦
No matter, we could still do one part of Krabi – the famous Ko Phi Phi (“h” is silent) Island Hopping Tour! Guess we’ll just have to be back another time for the rest of Krabi! 😉
The next morning, we were picked up from our hotel to drive to the Royal Marina. We could not have asked for a bright(er) sunny(er) and hot(ter) day!
We ducked into the cafe at the pier to get hydrated and lathered on loads of sunblock (although we still got pretty burnt by the end of the day)
Once all set, we walked towards our speedboat to grab an outdoor seat (big mistake – it’s great initially, but the sun is brutal and other people can be very possessive about their chosen seats displaying no sense of compassion whatsoever!)
And off we go!
1. First stop was Mosquito Island, not much of a beach but offered some good snorkeling.
The snorkeling here felt like swimming in an aquarium much like this one here; lots of clown fish, parrot fish, giant purple clams – we have to invest in an under water camera! (suggestions?)
2. After an hour of snorkeling, we headed towards Bamboo Island where we could relax and take in the beautiful setting. The beach was not very crowded and we walked around admiring the view of limestone cliffs and the sea laced with ribbons of emerald-green and turquoise waters…
3. Next stop was the larger Ko Phi Phi Don; for lunch (and a quick nap)
Lunch was much better than we expected! Tom Yum soup, grilled chicken, stir fried vegetables in a clear broth kinda curry, side of salad and fruit! All the vegetables and fruits were pretty fresh and crispy (always a welcome relief on a remote island)
4. After lunch, we drove (can you say “drove” for a speed boat? well, it’s not sailed…hmm) by the Viking Cave (aka. Birds Nest Cave) to see the caves where local workers collect the nests by climbing fragile bamboo ladders to get to the swifts nests, high up in the caves. There are several platforms inside the caves where they make an offering and pray to the gods for protection before climbing up in the cave.
These swifts nests are exported to China for the world famous bird’s nest soup (a chinese delicacy). We didn’t see any birds, but definitely a ton of fish in the sea!
5. Next up, Monkey Bay. Nestled in a cove surrounded by lush forested limestone peaks, a bunch of monkeys greeted us on arrival. This cove is mainly reached by kayakers and is a quick stop for the speedboats.
The eager monkeys waited for the food from tourists, but my monkey-hating hubs obviously didn’t want to stay any longer than we had to, And after a few quick pics, we headed towards the next swim spot. Don’t feel bad for the monkeys, the kayakers fed them enough!
6. Pi leh Bay, not to be confused with Phi Phi Leh (opposite side), is a thin long bay surrounded by high cliffs on all sides. They manage the traffic in the bay from getting too crowded, but the flat calm water inside is great for a quick swim and some good snorkeling. The scorching heat of the midday sun had us thoroughly exhausted and we didn’t stay here very long.
7. And finally, Maya Bay – a gorgeous beach surrounded by cliffs on three sides making for a highly picturesque setting, ever popularized by the movie “The Beach” (1999). So well-known in fact, that there are at least 30+ boats and hundreds of tourists on any given day! If you’re looking for a quiet beach to relax and enjoy the view, well this definitely is not it! 😦
We walked through the island to see where the movie was shot…they still have the “huts” where the crew stayed and filmed (not that exciting).
Then made our way towards the opposite end that had a stunning view of the bay…
And of course clicked a picture – Can you tell how tired and dehydrated we were by then?
So we stopped by the snack bar and feasted on coconuts; slurped on chilled coconut water, and ate the rest!
Only to walk back to our beach spot to be greeted by throngs of tourists that had descended to the shore like a swarm of locusts! Nope, not the beach experience we had in mind…
This about wrapped up the island hopping tour and we packed our
bags towels for the speedboat trip back (1.5. hours) to the pier. And then another 30 min back to our hotel!
Our last day at Karon beach, we decided to take some more pictures as it was not very crowded and we were still recovering from the tourist-overload of Maya Bay from the previous day.
But the splashing waves would not let us hold our pose…so instead, we just looked from a distance
And then spent the afternoon getting a massage, and grabbing lunch in Patong (more on this later).
…to be back in time for sunset for one last stroll.
And the photo of my man capturing the sunset – can you spot him?
Hope you enjoyed reading!
xo, – A&A