We really enjoyed our time on Koh Phi Phi – in fact we enjoyed it so much we stayed an extra couple of days. There was lots to do without needing much effort to make things happen.
Our first adventure was the viewpoint, of course. It was a beautiful hot, sunny morning when we set off and thankfully the climb wasn’t quite as steep as some we’ve experienced. One of my favourite parts of the walk was when Tiah took it up on herself to start cleaning up the garbage on the side of the road. As we walked she would pick up plastic bottles and wrappers that had been tossed carelessly and she’d carry them until we found a garbage. I was so pleased that she was trying to help the environment, and that she is equally disgusted by those that can simply discard their rubbish anywhere they choose.
The weather and the lighting were perfect for the viewpoint and we took full advantage, taking lots of photos and dawdling at the small cafe.
I’d found myself a new running track on our first day on Koh Phi Phi – of course this made me happy! I realized that in the late afternoon the tide was so low I could run almost around the entire bay. It was a really interesting feeling as the tide receded quickly leaving the ocean floor a little damp and soggy – I had this feeling I was running on the bottom of the ocean where it had previously been deep and full of fish!
Our next adventure was an early morning walk to Shark Point. We had been told that if we were willing to get up either side of sunrise we would probably be able to swim/snorkel right off the beach with sharks. Tiah was really excited about trying and was first up at 5:30 – all those early morning swim practices paid off! It was a beautiful, quiet walk through the streets of Tonsai Village to Long Beach. We ran into some tricky, slippery spots but it was worth it to see the sunrise from behind the hills.
We arrived at where we thought we should be just before seven and the girls were straight in the water. There were certainly a lot of fish, lots of different varieties and lots of interesting coral. After 10 minutes or so the girls were rewarded with the glimpse of a black tip shark – Tiah was delighted but turned to tell me and in the process scraped her knee on some coral. She was really worried about bleeding around sharks (sensible girl) and got out of the water without debate.
We swam around for longer and Abigayle was lucky to see another one but I had my head turned the other way. Still it was a great little outing and by the time we got back to our beach it was only 9 am and we felt like we’d had our day!
Our big adventure on Koh Phi Phi was a half day boat trip which took us to several different spots. First stop was supposed to be Monkey Beach but the tide was too high which meant a. we couldn’t get off the boat and b. there were no monkeys – we ended up adding the stop to the end of the trip but by then the monkeys had gone to bed!
Next stop – somewhere in the middle of the ocean, surrounded by breathtaking scenery. We were back to the beautiful cliffs – not quite as dramatic as Railay but absolutely stunning in their own right. We all enjoyed jumping off the boat and snorkelling in crystal clear waters. Our next stop was also in a bay/lagoon where the water was deep enough that it has become a popular jumping spot. Jumping in was fun getting back on the boat was a challenge!
The boat pulled up close to our next site but we were only able to gawk and take pictures. The Viking Cave is named so as it is believed that the prehistoric drawings found on the cave walls look like viking boats and were perhaps made by sea gypsies sheltering from monsoons.
The Viking Cave is a unique site that has become very popular in the area. Inside the cave there are lots of ledges that have become home to thousands of birds called swifts. The birds make their nests out of their own saliva. The nests are then harvested by local workers who risk their lives by climbing on the unstable-looking bamboo scaffolding to reach the nests. The nests are used to make the Chinese delicacy, birds nest soup. It all looked very neat but we could only see it from the boat.
The big ticket item on the tour was a stop on Ko Phi Phi Le’s Maya Bay. Maya Bay has become a National Park. It is a stunning bay sheltered on three sides by 100 metre high cliffs. The main beach is about 200 metres long with soft white sand.
Maya Bay has become the main tourist attraction in the area since ‘The Beach’ was filmed in 1999. Since the movie aired maya Bay has become so well-known and popular that thousands of people visit every day, all needing to be brought in by boat, so on any given day 30+ speed boats and long tail boats line the beach while ferry boats bringing hundreds of snorkelers and sight seers stay moored in deeper water. Irony is the basic plot of the film was a young backpackers journey to find an idyllic paradise away from mainstream and crowds.
Truthfully there wasn’t a lot to see on Maya Bay but we did snorkel, had a short walk and the girls loved taking photographs in the place where Leonardo DiCaprio had once stood!
On the way back to our beach we stopped to watch the sunset. Beautiful end to a beautiful family day – lots of fun.
a day at sea