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Monday, 18 February 2008

Ko Phi Phi Don. Thailand the Fabled Country



The islands of Phi Phi Don (so named officially) and Phi Phi Leh are equidistant from Krabi and Pukhet and you can go there from either Krabi town or Krabi beach Ao Nang. The fare from Krabi town is Bht.200 and from Ao Nang Bht.390. It takes two hours to reach Phi Phi (or Pee Pee as it is called).

The ferry journey is exciting, the azure of the sea changes to dark green and then turquoise, rocks crop up out of the water and tropical forest accompanies you as you journey along the wide span of the sea. When we went to PeePee from Krabi, there was hardly any other craft on the water, now and then a boat passed or we saw a sailing boat in the horizon. No traffic until we reached Pee Pee. We later learned that boats arrived in the mornings and left in the afternoons and the last boat to Krabi and Pukhet left at 16.00 hours.

Before we could dock at the jetty, hundreds and hundreds of tropical fish greeted us, swimming around the boat and near the shore. What a thrilling experience it was. The color of water was turquoise and the heat and the hustle and bustle of passangers arriving, gave us the sensation that we were indeed landing on an island. Then the trek to reach our Uphill Cottage, through the winding streets full of shops and restaurants. No motorized traffic, only bicycles and the three whell carts lugging visitors' luggage.

Pee Pee Don with its To Sai village which has two beaches namely Tonsai beach(south side) and Loh dalum Beach(north side). The beaches are clean with white sand and shallow water, you can walk on for a kilometer or more and the water will still only reach your waist. On the morning of our arrival, we dumped our luggage in our Uphill Cottage and went to have a look at the beach. It seemed that all the passangers of all the boats which had arrived that morning, were lying on the beach. It was so packed with sun bathers that it reminded me of any beach in Spain or Greece on a summer day.

So instead of taking off our clothes and lying on the sand, we took a stroll through the village. First we had a glass of very cold fresh fruit juice for Bht.20, then had a charcoal grilled corn cob and did some window shopping. The shops were full of articles which you will find in every tourist resort. Coral jewelry, beach wear, T-shirts and shorts, sun hats. I bought a sun hat as I had lost mine in Songkhala. It cost Bht.200 much more expensive than in Hat Yai where it cost Bht.40. T-shirts with Billabong, Rip Curl and other motives were very popular. Prices were 40% higher than in HatYai.
I suppose the prices are higher as every thing has to be brought in from the mainland.

The islands live on tourism, it is an ideal place for young people and back-packers. And the village comes alive at night. Sunflower bar, Tiger Bar, Reggae Bar and other places were full of people chilling out, having a whale of a time, listening to music and drinking cold beer. A sensation of being free, but we saw neither alcohol abuse nor nudity on the beaches.

If one of the reasons of your travel to South Asia is to enjoy food, Thai food is delicious. We were eating Thai and Chinese food every day. No sausages and fries, no pizza or hamburgers. In the morning we came down from our cottage to a cafe for breakfast. This place had a large T.V set and we heard the BBC World News or an Australian channel. For Bht.50 each, we had four slices of toat, butter & jam, glass of fresh fruit juice and coffee and slices of fresh water melon or pineapple.

Another popular breakfast consists of rice noodles with spicy fish curry with vegetables and fresh fruit. Sprinkle it with fish oil or Pad Thai sauce and you have a tasty breakfast for little money. The dish I think is called Khanom Cheen(atleast it is pronounced that way).

Thai stir fried noodles with shrimps, chicken, bean curd and vegetables is a favorite dish. It is called PhatThai.
Another popular dish is KhaoMok which is saffron rice with roasted chicken, ginger pieces and garlic in a sweet & sour bean sauce or soya sauce. Also delicious. Naturally the fish occupies the place of honor among South Asia cuisine. We had fried fish, fish with lemon grass and ginger in a light sauce. Squid, calamari, prawns. A real delight.

The day's activities consist of diving, snorkeling, rock climbing and sun bathing and swimming. You can take a tour of the islands with a long tail boat or a fast launch and stop mid-sea and dive in the turquoise waters to see hundreds of different kinds of tropical fish. You can hire the long tail boat for one or two persons or go with a group of other people. A long tail boat takes a maximum of 12 passengers. Otherwise a fast launch with much more people. In the evening you can join hundreds of people going on boats to see the Sunset. Pee Pee are no doubt the islands in the sun. The ideal time to visit is from October to May, during the monsoon season, boats find it difficult to come in the islands and berthing can be hazardous.
Posted by Island Hopper at 06:35
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