After our short stint in BKK, we headed down to Phuket for some beach time. We spent about a week in Phuket, which by the end of it we determined was entirely too long. Phuket was supposed to be a paradise destination and it ended up being more of a city that had a beach. We probably could have ventured out further though, to get away from the noise and city feel. Nonetheless, we took advantage of where we were and spent our time on Bangala Road, where everyone goes in Phuket. It is basically the Bourbon street of Thailand. We met some really great people at the hostel we stayed at and went out on the town, drank probably too much, ate street food that was quite questionable (ie: Rob eating raw octopus from a street food vendor after he dipped in spicy sauce… needless to say he didn’t feel too great the next day).
One of our Phuket days we headed down to a beach that was quite aptly named Paradise beach. The beach had one little restaurant that served cheap delicious food, and the beach out in front was beautiful. Not to come across as a snob, but for a beach to be classified as beautiful these days, it has to have more than just the clear water, sand and sun. It’s nice to have a little landscape as well, such as palm trees and some rock formation if possible. Some coral/marine life underwater also goes a long way towards the beaches aesthetic rating in our minds. Well, this beach delivered on all accounts. Rocks, palms, clean sand, clear water and lots of beautiful fish. We had fun swimming with our goggles, and once we got in, posing for some cheesy modeling shots on the beach and on one specific palm that did the cool leaning to the point of horizontal thing. It was a very sexy palm tree, at least until our goofy poses adorned it. There was also a large bouy tied to a second tree in tire swing like fashion. This was a lot of fun to play around with until it was unfortunately time to go home.
In order to get away from the city feel for a little while and explore the island on our own, we decided to rent a motorbike and go on a search for a very special gift for Rob. 2 days of searching and we finally found it! Rob got himself a speargun! (I see a very nice pair of shoes and maybe a dress to go with them in my future…) Of course he was VERY anxious to take it out for a spin so he spent literally every waking moment reading about where to spearfish on the island and watching spearfish videos, so we headed down to Rawai beach. It is a beautiful beach that was much more quiet than the beaches we had seen so far. So beautiful in fact, that we saw no less than 3 wedding photo shoots during our 3 hours there. Rob went out and within the hour came back with lunch for us! A red snapper! I was so proud of him! We took it across the street where a restaurant cooked it up whole fish style, with thai garlic and a soy based glaze. Tasted delicious and obviously about as fresh as can be! After our meal we went back to the beach to watch a great sunset. Upon our departure, Rob performed a very lame “burnout” on the sand with the motorbike. Well, ok, I tried to act unimpressed, but it was badass. (picture this but on two wheels)
We had finally had enough of Phuket and it was time to head to Phi Phi. The promise of paradise! We were so excited. We arrived on the island, no cars, half the amount of people and a few bars on the beach to hang out at. We thought “finally.” We got into the VERY warm water and enjoyed the amazing view around us. There was a little guesthouse right on the beach, bars close by, beach steps away so we booked a few nights there. We made friends with the guys staying next door (Matt and James – looking forward to hearing the scoop on Vietnam from you guys!) and then also the group of travelers staying a couple rooms down from us on the other side as well. It was nice to meet some people we could hang out have play a few drinking games with before the night got started. We realized very quickly though that staying on the beach was not as exciting as we had hoped since the casual beach bars had bumpin’ techno music that started around 8pm and didn’t end until 2am. So your options were to either stay up…. or stay up.
We rented kayaks one day and rode to a neighboring beach, monkey beach (no monkeys though) and did some amazing snorkeling there. Probably the best snorkeling we have done so far. The boats offered us a unique perspective to some of the awesome rocky cliffs that adorn many of the beaches of this island. They are stunning up close, if not a little scary as you watch the waves crash and splash up against the limestone.
One of the days Rob also did a snorkeling excursion which was somewhat underwhelming. The highlights were visiting Maya Bay (from the movie “The Beach”), some pretty good snorkeling, and a monkey/beach area. The low points were the noise and cold on the long stretches of longboat ferrying through the rain. Everyone aboard was pretty cold and miserable, so no one really talked, just huddled for warmth. In the last 2-3 hours of the 7 hour day, the rain let up and it became fun, but it was a little too little to late. Maya beach, as mentioned before, was beautiful, but a little crowded for my liking. The monkeys on the beach were fun to watch. They were all comical doing their monkey things, trying to steal food, chasing each other, climbing and hoping around. There were a few really tiny babies which were of course pretty cute. Athena sadly had to stay home because we both got food poisoning one day apart and she was still feeling pretty sick. I’m glad she didn’t come because to be on that boat for the rainy portion while not feeling 100% would have been miserable. The day on the whole was good, but with better weather I think everyone would have interacted more, and the adventure could have been great.
By the time we left Phi Phi we were ready for some real relaxation and actual paradise. Phi Phi is wonderful for its beauty and the party, but it just wasn’t what we were looking for at the time. We will be headed back there again later in the month when we have friends that come to visit and are more in the headspace to go out for a few all nighters.