the island of extremes

Krabi Travel Blog

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the sun has come out in phi phi and now it's easier to get an opinion on the island. i still think it's very much overrated as a destination... while i support it being a beautiful tropical island, what's on the island is just a disgrace.

yesterday, i decided to explore the island on foot. which is not as easy because walkways  between the beaches are private, unaccessible or not existing, probably to support the local taxi boat mafia to ferry tourists around.

but remembering my more intrepid travel days i set off, asking locals where to go i found myself on a big road made for trucks building the new post-tsunami water reservoirs (or that's what i think it is, could also be a giant pool for a new luxury resort, you never know...) marked with 'private road' everywhere.

i didn't care and walked up the hill, smiling and greeting the workers who couldn't be more indifferent about me walking there.

ten minutes later i found myself knee-deep in mud slipping down the road in my flip flops sweating without water or sunscreen in the now bright mid-day sun. i kinda started to regret the whole adventure :)

went on and found a small isolated beach with a single beach hut that was luckily selling some water and continued another track up the hill to long beach.

and long beach is beautiful! some upper mid-range resorts are being built at the moment and next to it are cheap backpacker bungalows that weren't very busy at the moment. unfortunately the bay is quite isolated so prices (including taxi boat to town of course) are even more inflated.

walked back to town, this time over slippery rocks along the coast and through a high-end resort with 'private! no trespassing' paved walkways but nobody cared.

checked out the two town beaches which are a bit nicer during sunshine, but overpopulated with the samui crowd. plus the intolerable amount of garbage (50% man-made, 50% sea stuff) in the not-so-crystal-clear water.

it's really a shame - i can only imagine how beautiful the island was 20 years ago. now it's in state somewhere between post-tsunami destruction, backpacker ghetto and resort location with prices way too high for the lacking infrastructure (but without leaving nature as it was).

and i'm even more a cynic than ever about switzerland's donation frenzy when the tsunami has hit.

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.. that was the main question the about 100 people on board the ferry (a 'speedboat') from krabi to ko phi phi. it was raining all night and everything was grey on grey, perfect weather to visit THE tropical island in thailand. met two swiss girls in the guesthouse on the same way, only 12 days of travelling and already experienced one day flight delay, bad weather here and more to come on the great ferry ride ahead :)

ferry was the same standard as the one from surat thani to ko samui: type sardine can in water. still raining & windy, the sea was a bit rough. 'a bit' being a bit of an understatement: 1.5 hours of really bad bumpyness, shaking and near-death experiences. after 5 minutes they gave out plastic bags that about half of the passengers used shortly after.

i already wrote how my stomach changed from nothing-ever-bothers-me-mode at the beginning of my travels to old-man-cant-handle-bumpy-anymore 6 months later... and this was the ultimate test. but i held through, it was a very close call though. but in the end i was more concerned about my life if the boat capsizes (i.e. my laptop getting wet) so i held on to the safety vest (and eying whose other passenger's safety vest im going to steal to keep my laptop bag safe, just kidding.. or am i? hehe)

everybody on the boat was going into his own way of dealing with the situation, some putting the bag to their mouth, some going into ipod-meditation and others like me doing the watch-the-horizon trick... which didn't work that well as the horizon went from under the window to over the window every 2 seconds.

some windows had cracks in it and the roof was not so waterproof which resulted in pretty much everything getting wet. especially since waves were clashing over us and the boat had pretty dangerous angles to the left and the right from time to time.

arriving in phi phi, everyone was pretty happy and it was a good bonding experience for everyone... those situations make friends out of strangers hehe

got picked up (i.e. with a luggage wheel cart since walking or boating is the way to get around phiphi) and guided to my nice boutique guesthouse kinnaree (2! the first one is a bit shabbier) in the middle of town. 800 baht is a lot, but the room is really great and since it is raining non stop for 2 days i really enjoy the nice hot shower, the big bed & duvet and nice television :)

photo by: forevert2