We’re now on Koh Phi Phi. Our resort is right at the far end of the smallish bay into which the ferries from Lanta, Lipe and Krabi come, close enough to the action yet far enough away to be relatively quiet at night. We arrived here on the smaller of the two Phi Phi foot-passenger ferries which leave Lanta at 8 am and 1 pm each day after a short one hour ride up on the top deck. (All the ferries travelling between the islands here are foot traffic only – they are quite small, much smaller than the seabus, for example).Travelling on ferries here is a bit anxiety-producing for someone used to the BC ferries system. No announcements are made, people crowd around the gang-planks, pushing and shoving with all their gear, ferries dock two and three deep at the pier. We had to travel over one ferry to get to ours, carrying our hundreds of pounds of luggage. Here the safety protocols that we take for granted in Canada are not observed; life jackets lie piled up on the floor, no announcements are made about anything to do with safety, people are allowed to travel, as we did, up on deck for the journey with little in the way of guard rails or concern about weight distribution. People freely drink booze aboard; if you had too much to drink on one of these trips, you could well end up in the sea. Although I am thoroughly sick of BC Ferries, they look pretty damn good now …) Anyway, we did have a very pleasant sunny ride over and arrived safely on the dock at PP. There we, and several others, were met by a guy from the resort; because it was low tide, the long tail boat could not take both all of us and our luggage so we walked to the resort while our bags travelled in style on the boat.
Ty and I were expecting a beachfront bungalow but what we got was a bungalow halfway up the mountain. The terrain here is steep – you wouldn’t want to stay here if you had mobility or fitness problems. No stairmaster necessary with these hills! It is a very nice room, very large and well-appointed, with a nice view of the bay and the island of Phi Phi Lei across the water. Unfortunately, the shower drain was clogged so the first order of business was to call in the plumber; while he worked we had our first tropical storm go by. After that, we took a shower and headed into “town”.
Phi Phi is a cross between Monterosso on Cinque Terre and Venice, on a much smaller scale. Like those two Italian cities, Phi Phi has narrow pathways between two and three story walkups thronged with flowing crowds of people; unlike the Italian cities, the terrain here is flat – but it has a similar feel, lots of small shops, restaurants, bars, and the ubiquitous massage parlours. At night the place has a carnivalesque feel, with pods of twenty-something women and single men rushing here and there. There are many Italian restaurants, an Irish pub, pizza parlours, many tour offices and dive shops and expensive beachside seafood restaurants with singers crooning saccharine seventies hits to an audience of three.
After walking around and around, we decided to have dinner at Cosmic Café, an Italian restaurant in one of the back streets. I had some really tasty fettuccine with ricotta and asparagus and Ty had seafood and mushroom fettuccine. We finished off our meal with a great cappuccino and people watching street-side at one of the island’s bookstore/cafes. The music in the beachfront bars must have started up full blast around 11, just as we old folks were going to bed, and went on until four – gaggles of drunk and giggling women could be heard staggering home after closing time. Phi Phi is party central – we’re glad to be spending only 4 nights here …
Downtown, right by the beachfront path, is an enormous banyan tree with a very large and beautiful shrine in front of it. At night, tree and shrine are illuminated; this is a memorial and thanksgiving for the tree that saved many lives; during the tsunami many people were able to save themselves by climbing up into the tree’s giant spreading branches. Sunday we spent on the small beach just down to the left of our resort, away from the hub-bub of the main town beach and bars. Among the rocks are many iridescent crabs and small centipedes with sharp large front pincers. No jellyfish to be seen, thank God!
See pictures here.