On our first day, John went into a Padi shop to inquire about scuba diving, and we learned that the water was going to be too rough for diving, so rough, in fact, that the woman recommended land activities for the next two days. John and I just stared at each other in disbelief. Crap.
I had already booked what I felt like would be a really cool tour to the James Bond island for Tuesday, and we considering booking another trip to Phi Phi for today. I’m typically not one who travels in tours; I cringe when I think of the large groups in Europe, following a tour leader carrying some ridiculous stick of shiny material with jingling bells (or something equally as annoying) through the narrow passages of a city. At any rate, with the limited three days we allotted for Southern Thailand, a tour becomes the only real way to see some of the other islands. The tour we already booked I found at home through reviews on TripAdvisor. This company focuses on small groups (8-10 people), and they are known to bypass the touristy stuff for more secluded beaches. The description that sold me on the tour was that they go past all the tourist trap stores, to a real village on stilts. Lunch would be fresh fish prepared in the village. Sounds amazing, I thought.
We sought a second opinion – because that’s what you do when is someone is telling you something you don’t want to hear. We wanted to hear that it’d be fine to go out, that we should also visit Phi Phi. The woman told us that the larger boats always go out, speed boats may cancel if the weather is too bad. And so that is how we found ourselves in a crowded tour, the ones I try to avoid.
The tour transported all the guests to and from their hotel. We were fortunately one of the first groups to get on the boat. There was tons of room and few people, so I had a warped sense of what the trip would really be like. We opted for plastic chairs on the deck, so we could enjoy the sun and the breeze. As we neared departure, the boat filled. There were people everywhere, cramming extra bodies onto already full benches. People crammed on the floor on the upper-deck. I felt like it was a bad dream just waiting to happen.
We set out for our two-hour journey – the water was rough, sending the boat back and forth, up and down. Huge rocking motions that would force the plastic chairs to the left, then to the right. People were clinging onto poles, in hopes of securing their seat. I found the whole trip to be hilarious. At one point, I was laughing in hysterics. It was so funny to watch chairs slide across the deck. Watching people try to walk throughout the boat provided even more entertainment. They’d grab on to whatever they could get ahold of, but those moments where nothing was in reach, proved quite comical. Everyone looked drunk, slamming into doors, walls, people. I had tears of laughter.
Then it all changed. Clear barf bags were distributed throughout the boat. And people were using them. Lots of people. Clear barf bags. Some made it in the bags. Others didn’t. One of those full benches cleared out in mere seconds when one of its members vomited all over the bench (and on the woman in a bright yellow dress, which in turn, made her sick).
It was a sight to behold. People trying to run full barf bags to the trash. Please don’t fall. Please don’t fall. As we hit bigger waves, the floor of the deck became wet, making the route to the trash can that much more difficult.
We ended up making it to our first stop without being vomited on, so I’d say that was a major success. The first stop on Phi Phi island was a beach called Monkey Beach. The beach is deserted, the only inhabitants, monkeys. The only way to the beach was to jump in and swim. Many people stayed on the boat, but John and I gladly jumped.
We snorkeled, something I had never done before. I tend to get a bit nervous when I think about all the things in the water. Even seeing small fish close up makes me a little uneasy, but I’m happy to report that I didn’t mind snorkeling. The monkeys were the best part of the day, though. They were so much fun to watch. The monkeys were playing with several empty bottles, such curious little fellas. A girl from our boat attempted to clean the beach – she picked up several of the bottles that were on the ground and threw them in a hole in the limestone. She didn’t see her followers until she turned around and found several monkeys who hopped right into the hole to retrieve the bottles. It was as if they were saying, ‘don’t mess with our home.’ Another tour boat pulled up and started throwing bananas to the monkeys. As soon as they started, several monkeys jumped into the water and onto the boat. The rise out of the people was comical. They liked the monkeys, but they obviously didn’t want them that close.
The next and final stop was on the Phi Phi Don island where we had a terrible lunch, but a gorgeous view. John and I ate some fruit and headed to the beach for the rest of the stop. It was so gorgeous.
I’m getting tired, so a brief ending – the boat ride home was much like the first. Just bigger waves and more water splashing in. I tried to sleep but every few minutes I’d have to readjust my chair. So, maybe the woman was right – stick to inland activities, but I’m glad we didn’t listen to her. It was a good, entertaining day.