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Our cabin on the boat
Get ready for a long read... this posting is full of info!

Our journey to the Phi Phi Islands (koh = island in the Thai language) started early with a one-hour van ride across Phuket to Ratsada Port (Le Meridien is on the east coast of Phuket and Ratsada Port is on the west). We booked a day tour through Easy Day Thailand, which I highly recommend. We took a larger boat for the initial ride to Koh Phi Phi (rather than the cheaper speed boat option, which would have been a long, bumpy ride!) and spent a little more to sit in the VIP cabin of the boat. The extra comfort was well worth it. We had complimentary refreshments for the 1.5 hour ride as well as air conditioning. Additionally, our private tour guide, Jame, was fantastic. He was really concerned about our comfort and took extra care to make sure we had the best experience possible. He made sure we were always the first guests off the boat at all the stops and the first back on.

The views throughout our journey to Koh Phi Phi were stunning as we were blessed with great weather. The sky was a rich shade of blue as was the ocean. Every once in a while we passed small islands that seemed to appear out of nowhere, and they were covered with vibrant, green foliage. We spent most of the ride at the front of the boat, enjoying the wind in our hair and snapping what seemed like a million photos. Click the photos below to enlarge the images (all of the photos I post are clickable for a larger image).

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View from the front of the boat
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Island in the Andaman Sea
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Enjoying the view
Our first stop was the Koh Phi Phi Port and the ride into the port was spectacular. I captured video because pictures didn't quite do the experience justice (sorry the audio is a little rough... it was really windy!).
At Koh Phi Phi Port, all of the passengers on our boat made transfers to their final destinations. I noticed many guests had luggage and were staying at resorts on Phi Phi. They were picked up and shuttled to their hotels by really cool wooden Asian boats. Each one had a small engine and was steered by hand. We had a different ride, and were picked up by a speed boat for our day of island hopping and snorkeling.
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Hotel shuttles
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Boats in the harbor
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Our speedboat and Jame (in the yellow shirt)
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Monkeys on Monkey Beach
Our island hopping started with a visit to Monkey Beach. I'll admit, I was a little weary of going to Monkey Beach, considering my history with monkeys (read the MacRitchie Reservoir post for more info). In short, I think monkeys are kind of mean and they scare me.

As our boat approached the beach, Jame threw bananas on shore to lure the monkeys our way. Joe and Rick also took part in the feeding, and the monkeys eventually made their way onto our boat. As they scurried around, I made sure to run the opposite direction on the boat (which, as you can imagine, was quite comical because the boat was really small and there wasn't really anywhere to go). Di was also unsure of the primates.

However, Joe, Rick, and Raul were highly entertained and didn't think the monkeys were aggressive. In fact, they got really close to them. Joe told me they had soft fur. I took his word for it.

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Underwater view of fish
The next stop on our journey was Bamboo Island where we had an amazing time snorkeling! This was only the second time I had ever snorkeled and it was far different from my last experience (which was when I was 13 and I snorkeled with manatees). We had an underwater camera to capture the experience on film.

Jame threw some bananas into the water to attract a school of fish towards our boat. Even from the boat, we could see the hundreds of vibrant, neon fish because the water was crystal clear. Then, we geared up and hopped into the water.

At first, it was a little weird to jump right into the middle of the school of fish because I felt like I was going to smash into them, but the fish just swam around us as if we were one of them. I'm guessing they are used to humans from the thousands of tourists that flock to Koh Phi Phi. In any case, it was neat to swim alongside the fish. And, the sights in the ocean were awesome. We saw coral (including a vibrant blue coral), big spiky sea urchins, neon fish, tiger fish, rainbow fish, and other sea creatures. I could have spent hours just wandering around and exploring the ocean floor if it wasn't for the fact that swimming is exhausting! I had to take several breathing breaks back on the boat.

I'll be sure to post more photos to the "photos" section of this blog soon. For now, here's a few for you to look at.

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Four big fishies
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Coral and sea urchin
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Joe, Rick, and I masked by our snorkel gear
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Seafood platter
After an hour of exploring the deep, blue sea, we made a pit stop on Bamboo Island for lunch. We ate a fabulous buffet lunch at one of the resorts. We were greeted by the delicious seafood platter you see to the left, which included crab, prawn, calamari, and fried white fish. Yum!

The Phi Phi resorts looked incredible, and I would love to go back to Thailand to spend more time in the area. After lunch, we hopped back on the speedboat which took us out to sea where we were transferred back onto the big boat for a quick journey back to Koh Phi Phi Port.

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Our new friend, Twinkie the kitten
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View of the ocean from Bamboo Island
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Relaxing on Bamboo Island
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Jame led us off the boat at the port for a quick walking tour of the main island of Koh Phi Phi. I was amazed at how clear and clean the water was at the port, despite the number of boats in the little harbor that go in and out every day. We could see the many fish in the water that lurked around the port for bits of food from tourists.

Again, Jame had some bananas handy and we fed the fish. Raul loves fishing, and got a kick out of having the fish eat right out of his hands.

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Welcome to Koh Phi Phi
The small town on Koh Phi Phi was like many others we've seen in Asia, with narrow winding paths and dozens of vendors selling touristy trinkets. As Jame led us through town, he explained that many of the hotels on Koh Phi Phi offer cheap accommodations. Some were only about $60 a night, although I'm not sure if these were nice places  because we couldn't really see any of them from the town.

Within about 15 minutes we had walked through the town (it was pretty small) and came across a beautiful beach in a little cove. The scenery was spectacular, like most of the scenery we had already experienced earlier in the day. Vibrant, green hills surrounded the beach, which had soft, white sand and crystal clear aqua water. I wanted to jump into the ocean and spend the rest of the day there!

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Edge of town... the beach in sight
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Beautiful paradise!
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Strolling through Koh Phi Phi
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Saying goodbye to Koh Phi Phi
The end of our excursion came all too soon and it was time to say goodbye to Koh Phi Phi. On our boat ride back to Ratsada Port, we passed Maya Beach, which is now famous because it's where Leonardo DiCaprio's movie, The Beaches, was filmed (see photo below).

I highly recommend traveling to Koh Phi Phi if you ever visit Thailand. Let me know, and I can help you plan your trip!

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Maya Beach
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Jame and Raul on the boat ride back to Ratsada Port
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Goodbye Koh Phi Phi... until next time!
Diane Lopez
10/18/2012 14:36:43

Perfectly depicted! Wow!

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Mark Sholl
10/19/2012 06:56:48

Joe does go to work on occasion, right? I'm kidding! You guys must be having a great experience.

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