Down and out
Koh Phi Phi Travel Blog› entry 45 of 52 › view all entries
Five days of partying to the max and a gruelling day in transit from Koh Pha-Ngan to Phuket do me in, and Iâ€™m destroyed once I arrive in Phuket. The day in transit is very much Thai; a whole scala of different vehicles, from buses to taxiâ€™s to tuktukâ€™s to boats and minivans, a heap of misunderstandings from drivers and passengers alike and a lot of shops along the way where commission is to be earned. Itâ€™s not strange at all to be dropped off and directed to a waiting van to bring you to your next destination, but only after heâ€™s shown you his shop, and his mumâ€™s shop, too. Itâ€™s not at all like the tuktukâ€™s commission rides in Bangkok that you can easily turn down. You have no choice but to go with the driver as heâ€™s the one that will have to drive you later on. In Surat Thani, the main transit hub that connects Southern Thailand and the islands, these jokes take us two full hours, as the bus has to completely fill up before taking off as well. Iâ€™m sick and have no choice but to quietly let it unfold; leave me alone and just shut up.
In Phuket I find myself a cheap but decent hotel room; nice bathroom, fridge, TV, big bed. The only problem is that I canâ€™t seem to sleep. I have no energy whatsoever during the day and lie on bed most of the time, but canâ€™t find any sleep at night either. I sleep fifteen minutes at a time before waking up and this makes me paranoia. I get half schizophrenic due to sleep deprivation and start imagining stuff and seeing things. Iâ€™m confused about dates and times of the day and my living rhythm is completely messed up. That rat on my bed though? Iâ€™m pretty sure that was real. After two sleepless nights enough is enough and move to a more expensive hotel in the hope to get some sleep there.
Iâ€™m slowly getting better, but my body takes its time. Five days in Phuket and all Iâ€™ve seen are my hotel rooms, the breakfast joint next door and a convenience store. Phuket is not for me though. Where Koh Pha-Ngan was backpacker party paradise, Phuket is sex tourist party paradise; it seems to cater only for the sex tourists. The streets are packed with your average guy with a petite Thai on his arm, the strip clubs are even more in your face than in some suburbs in Bangkok, and everywhere are packs of women on the hunt. After having read Bangkok 8 and talking with some other travellers about the subject, I look at prostitution in a different way. Sure there is always abuse and mistreatment going on, but I reckon the girls here have it pretty good. Living the good life is addicting, and the price they pay is relative. Thatâ€™s all there is to see in Phuket and I donâ€™t think Iâ€™ll go back there anytime soon, except maybe to do some diving. Thatâ€™s the only thing I missed.
From Phuket I make my way to Koh Phi Phi, an hour and a half by boat. Koh Phi Phi isnâ€™t that special, but when I take a boat tour to sister island Phi Phi Leh I am completely stunned. Maya Bay, where Leo DiCaprio filmed the Beach, is one of the most beautiful places Iâ€™ve ever seen, right up there with Yangshuo in China. The high rising cliffs, the incredible blue green waters, the beach... itâ€™s a little paradise. Of course the fact that the beach is actually the beach adds a lot to the place, and I canâ€™t stop but fantasizing about the Beach community, being self sufficient, back to the basics, freedom. If you have no idea what Iâ€™m talking about go and read Alex Garlandâ€™s The Beach and see the movie. The book for the superior story, the film so you can see Maya Bay. Itâ€™s a magical place.
But why Nicander, you ask, are we not seeing any photoâ€™s of this paradise? Do not withhold such magnificent beauty from us! Donâ€™t keep it all to yourself, you sleeky bastard!
Believe me, I would love to share my pictures of Maya Bay, but I canâ€™t. Iâ€™m writing this in Alice Springs, Australia (I know, Iâ€™m sorry) where I lost my camera. I donâ€™t care a ratâ€™s ass for my camera, but the pictures on the card? [Insert appropriate swearword here]. I burned my pictures on CD in Bangkok, which means I lost all my photos and videos since; Chiang Mai, Laos, the Gibbon Experience, Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng, Bangkok once again, Koh Tao and Koh Pha-Ngan, Phuket, Koh Phi Phi, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Adelaide. Fuck indeed. I uploaded the most important pictures until Koh Pha-Ngan on TravBuddy so itâ€™s not like I lost everything, but I feel especially bad about losing Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. I reckon I lost my camera in a cab in Alice but a search didnâ€™t yield any results. Thereâ€™s a tiny tiny chance someone still hands it in to the police, but I donâ€™t count on that. Tough lesson learned.
In the next three days on Koh Phi Phi I sleep a lot, still a bit weak. Iâ€™m eating more than in Phuket, but a meal and a half a day is still enough. I shop around for transport to Malaysia and decide to fly instead of going overland. I donâ€™t fancy the 12+ hour bus to Kuala Lumpur and book an AirAsia flight, but the trip still takes me a whopping nine hours, much thanks to the ultra efficient Malaysian immigration service. Ahem. Another stamp in the passport, another country to tick of the list, another place to discover, another place to conquer, and another TravBuddy to meet!