Koh Phi Phi

16 Nov

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It was a bit disappointing to find the wet season hadn’t ended in southern Thailand when we arrived. There’d been the odd shower further north but we hadn’t been caught out. Here in the Phuket area the skies were leaden and sweat ran down bodies like waterfalls.  We didn’t let the rumbling clouds deter us, though.
The ferry from Phuket to Koh Phi Phi was smooth and air conditioned, Ton Sai pier organised chaos with not so much organisation and the transfer to our hotel an experience. There are no real roads on Phi Phi so most transport is by sea using traditional style Long Tail Boats which have been fitted with car engines. Shallow hulled, they drive the bow onto the beach and passengers then wade ashore. Except this is not going to be acceptable to tourists if they have to carry their cases at the same time, of course. The solution our hotel used was a trailer pulled through the water, and over the rocks, by a tractor. Not the comfiest of rides but we arrived with dry feet and luggage.

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Koh Phi Phi was devastated by the Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004 but quickly rebuilt from the rubble and the tourists returned in ever greater numbers. An early warning system is now in place and the only indication such an appalling event ever occurred are discrete signs pointing to the evacuation route.
It is certainly possible to spend your entire time here in the hotel “village”, only venturing out on excursions organised by them but to do so would be such a mistake. Find the unsignposted back entrance and you find the rough and ready real village that has sprung up with all the life and soul, not to mention business enterprise, of the local people. Several of the top rated restaurants on Phi Phi are here in this village along with bars, massage parlours, laundries and small supermarkets.

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The weather pattern so far has developed into blue, breezy mornings with the thunder clouds starting to roll in late afternoon. This means we get out and about early: either a walk along the beach here or to one of the other nearby bays. We’d been told of another bay that could be reached via the fishermen’s village but would have missed it completely if one of them hadn’t pointed the way. I’d like to say I made a valiant effort but, in fact, quickly gave up when a rope was required to go any further. Neil reached the top of the cliff easily but turned around when faced with a decent strewn with cacti. I confess to relief at his return.

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