koh phi phi don and leh

on the ferry ride to koh phi phi, i kept doing that annoying thing at the end of a vacation where you start to think about going back and how depressing it's going to be.  the ride was about an hour and a half, and the island was just far enough away from phuket that there was a good half hour at least where we felt like we were in the middle of the ocean.  approaching the islands of koh phi phi, however, wiped all thoughts of my future of 8 hours a day behind a computer away as my attention was turned to the kind of landscapes i thought only appeared in postcards.

by the way, this technically happened before my last post, but i decided long ago i was going to end my thailand posts with koh phi phi, as it was my favorite part of my trip to thailand.

on the ferry on the way to koh phi phi

glamor shot. try not to be jealous of my hair - i spent hours on it

the pictures don't do it justice, but you're pretty distracted from work now aren't you?

we arrived in koh phi phi don and dropped our packs at a dive shop as we had plans later in the afternoon to go on a camping trip i had stumbled upon during one of my thailand google sessions.  we wandered around the island, got fish pedicures, and stopped in about 100 little bodegas selling the usual touristy knick knacks.  this was exciting for us because after a couple stops in thailand, we each had pulled together a list of necessities to return with (me: a chang tank top and linen pants that knot at the top, alex: jean shorts and a tie dye dress).  of course i ended up with a chang tank top, a "same same but different" tank top, fake havaianas, a bracelet, and a bright purple waterproof bag i vowed to use at least one more time in my life.  the pants would have to wait until later.

at 3 pm, we made our way back to the dock and got on a boat that was set to take us on our camping trip.  i'm being pretty vague about this to try and build dramatic effect, but this wasn't just any camping trip.  there are two islands that make up koh phi phi - don (the big one) and leh (the small one).  don is the island most people visit and stay on, as it's the only island with accommodation. leh, the smaller of the islands, is reserved for day trips and half day trips - unless you are an expert googler of course and can find the camping trip that allows you stay overnight and sleep open air on the beach.  which, for anyone that has seen the movie, is where "the beach" was filmed.

alex and i on the boat ride over to maya bay on koh phi phi lee

viking cave - only locals are allowed inside. only locals want to go inside.

jumping off the top of the boat.

once we got to the beach, the group made a few circles on the beach and we all got to know each other.  there were a few other americans on the trip who of course we made friends with off the bat, a large group of australians, and a few others from the uk.  there were also a couple of canadians on the trip, but they were weird interesting.

we had a dinner cooked on the beach of chicken panang, some other kind of chicken that i also liked, and rice.  after that it was pretty simple, we sat on the beach, drank buckets of rum and sprite or coke, and made new friends.

we were each given a straw mat, sleeping bag, and a pillow to sleep on for the night.  alex and i took our gear to the middle of the beach near the water, and set up camp.  it was pretty amazing falling asleep in the middle of an empty beach, despite the torrential wind that miraculously woke us both up at the exact same time and encouraged us to move into shelter for the rest of our sleep.  but hey, glass half full it was basically a spa day for us after a fish pedicure and natural exfoliation (wind + sand).

buckets on the beach.

moon over the beach

the next day we woke up, ate some breakfast, hung out on the beach for a few hours, and then got back on the boat to return to koh phi phi don - thankfully before most of the day trips with tourists started arriving.  most of the early birds were pretty puzzled as to how there were people on the island before they arrived.  which made it feel like a secret. which made it feel even MORE awesome that we got to experience this.

you know how everyone always asks what your favorite part was at the end of a trip? normally i don't have an answer, but this time i do.

the whole group the next day - photo taken by francoise. please get that joke...

the girls on THE beach.

byeeeeeeee, best place i've ever been!

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