A two hour ferry boat ride Northwest of Koh Lanta and South of Phuket lies the Phi Phi Islands (pronounced pee-pee).  The islands were made famous when the movie “The Beach” with Leonardo DeCaprio was filmed here in beautiful Maya bay in 2000.  A few years later in 2004, its infrastructure was destroyed in the tsunami.  In the last 11 years it has been rebuilt into a bustling tourist tropical vacation spot.

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The ferry ride over was miserable.  We sat upstairs this time so we had a ‘view’ but there was no ac on this boat so it was miserably hot and sweaty!

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The best option was to sit outside!

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As we pulled into Tonsai pier I was awestruck by the beauty of the mountain cliffs of Phi Phi Don!

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We walked across the island (it’s very very narrow at this point – five minute walk) and caught our taxi – a long tail boat for a 25 minute ride to the Northeast side of the island where sits the Holiday Inn Resort.  This is not your typical Holiday Inn!

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We were greeted with cool wet towels and fruity drinks and after a quick explanation of our room and benefits we were whisked off by golf cart to our room.

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We didn’t get beachfront but we got an upper room with a spectacular view!

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I can’t complain as this 3 night stay cost me $0.  We are each using our one free annual night we get as a result of carrying the IHG credit cards and the third night I paid with in IHG points.  We get free breakfast, which is a fantastic spread of Thai, Western, and European foods plus we got free drink coupons.  I tried an Americano cocktail (blech!) And Jerry had a ginger/lime/lychee Mojito… Also not that great.  At least they were free!  The outdoor shower is fantastic, the bed and pillows are soft and comfy (the last week has been spent on rock hard mattresses!) and we have our own private deck overlooking the pool and the Andaman sea.

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We were brought a plate of fresh fruit yesterday afternoon and last night a newspaper and a small gift (ceramic fish keychain) from housekeeping.  I’m feeling totally spoiled right now.

We had only 2 1/2 days on Phi Phi and no real plans.  The only thing I really wanted to do was see Maya Bay and do some snorkeling.

The first afternoon we walked the grounds, ate dinner on the beach, and then walked as far north as we could on the beach.  We found a really playful little kitten who ran up to us meowing as we left the dinner area.  He has a really long fluffy tail.  I will call him Mr. Fluffytail.

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After our walk down the beach,  we saw the staff from the beach restaurant carrying Mr.  Fluffytail out of the restaurant area.  Uh oh – i bet he was getting into the food!  Little trouble maker made a beeline right back to the tables as she put him down.  Then he ran up a palm tree and back to the beach just being a crazy kitty.  I really would like to bring him home!

There are two other hotels and about 3 beach restaurants here.

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Not much else around.  This is the quiet section of the island… although it’s really not very quiet with all the boat motors going back and forth.   The long tail parking lot is right next to the Holiday Inn.

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Last night we watched them load garbage onto a large barge.  They haul all the garbage from the island to Krabi, on the mainland for disposal.  They also use tractors to load luggage onto long tails and get people off the boats to bring them to shore.  So you hear the tractors too…. And occasionally scooters running up and down the beach.

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Luckily we are at the far south end of the resort so the noise is limited.

Our first full day was a lazy one.  Pool, beach, drinks, walk, lay around…. Repeat.

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We met some people from Idaho and California.  There seems to be more Americans here than on Koh Lanta.

Food here is much more expensive than the last two places we stayed but still not unreasonable by US standards.

Our last day here i got up early in the morning (not hard to do when you’re in bed at 8:00 pm!) And caught a beautiful sunrise.

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I also got a big surprise to find out there are TWO Mr. Fluffy long tails!  Although the second one does not have a fluffy tail.  They both are such characters though!

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We also found a very friendly pregnant kitty who sat outside at the breakfast buffet!

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After all the kitty sightings, we went on a four hour speedboat snorkel trip to Phi Phi Ley – the smaller uninhabited island where Maya Bay is located.  It really is stunningly beautiful, BUT there are so many tourists and so many boats packed in the bay that it takes some of the beauty away.

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I found a kitty on the island!

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And Jerry found a monkey!

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The snorkeling in Maya Bay wasn’t good because of all the boat traffic, but we went to several other areas which had better snorkeling, but again, too much boat traffic.

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I think we both rather would have dived again, although we saw a lot of fish while snorkeling.

At our last snorkel spot I took my fins off before climbing onto the boat.  I threw them up on the boat and one of them fell back in the water and sank before I could get it.  It was too deep to retrieve.  So they tacked on a $30 charge for that to my bill.  Grrrr…

Back at the hotel we got a bite to eat, found some wonderful ice coffee drinks,

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layed at the pool, washed clothes

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and then did dinner.

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Nothing too exciting.  The wind really picked up tonight which kind of washed out my plans of watching the fire show a few resorts down.  I still can’t seem to stay awake past 8:00pm anyways. And just on the news, an earthquake, magnitude 7.9, hit off the coast of Sumatra tonight and there are tsunami warnings out… Although not for Thailand. Whew!!

A few things I’ve learned about Thailand…
Wash cloths are a 50/50 find.  Half the hotels don’t even provide them.
Don’t drink the tap water or use it to brush your teeth.
50/50 toilet paper in the waste basket vs toilet
Coffee here sucks (if you haven’t figured out from my posts already)
They’re not good bartenders. We’ve tried a pina colada, margarita, Mojito, cappirhinna, and Americano and the all were blech blech blech.  If I wanted a shot I would order one!
There are not alot of Americans here.
English is widely spoken.

Tomorrow is our last day in Thailand and we’ll spend that in Krabi!  I will really miss the beaches of southern Thailand!  It is so mesmerizing and relaxing to just sit out and listen to the waves crashing into the shore.  It feels totally relaxing!