General, Travel

The Beach Beach

mayaI have repeatedly said on my blog throughout the time I have had it that she had it right in 10 Things I Hate About You. Some things are overwhelming, and some things are underwhelming, and some are just whelming. For me, whelming is a slightly generous description of Koh Phi Phi and Maya bay, which I think I will always refer to as The Beach beach.

When we arrived on the late morning ferry, onto the pier with all our luggage with no idea how to get to our guesthouse. The taxi people in Koh Phi Phi seem a lot more vocal, I hate being hassled at the best of times, but when I am too hot and I know there is no motorised vehicles allowed on the island, I get even more annoyed. We eventually found it after wandering around and asking a dive instructor and nearly cooking under the sun and our bags. It felt a little like a prison cell, but I suppose that’s what you get when you won’t pay resort prices.

mayabayInitial thoughts about Koh Phi Phi suggested it was going to be small and quaint, with stunning beaches. Venturing to Maya Bay was on a sunset boat trip, so the day was spent going to a beach on the other side of the island, which was really nice, and holing up in a café to try and sort the remaining legs of our trip. They sold curry, fairly OK curry, so that was worth it!

Once we got on the boat, the dreaded words ‘let’s go to a monkey beach’ were uttered. After the fiasco that was Lopburi, I am keeping well clear of them, but everyone else got off the boat, so I joined them, intending to keep well clear. My intentions weren’t difficult to abide by, the rocks we had to walk over under water were so sharp and awkward that I didn’t even make it to land before I turned round and decided the trip wasn’t worth it. Jade was sure the baby was demonic.

After the monkey beach, we headed round to a coral reef, where we were allowed to snorkel and swim in the ocean just off the island where Maya Bay is found. The boat guys through rice into the water, and shortly after we were surrounded by fish, everywhere we looked they surrounded us, it was insane. The amount of fish there was obviously not as high as Chumpon, but we could literally hold our hand out and we couldn’t see it because of the number of fish around us. I’m not sure everyone appreciated it as much as we did, many opted to just go in a sea canoe instead.

longtailAnd then it was Maya Bay. We had to get a longtail boat from our boat to a back exit, I think to preserve the surprise so you see it how Leo saw it in the film. I thought it was a good idea, we’d have no boats blocking our view, and we could get the true beauty of the place. I definitely think it ranks as disappointing. While I could appreciate the scenery and the beach quality, it was so full of people, and the bay so full of boats, that the view in all directions was spoilt. I have heard this is the case for half the people who visit. Considering the bay that is less than a 5 minute walk away, I can’t for the life of me work out why they don’t just ban boats in Maya Bay itself. I’m still pleased we saw it, I can say I have seen The Beach beach, but it was definitely underwhelming. As was the sunset that disappeared in haze and cloud.

I just don’t think I understood Koh Phi Phi. It was nice enough, but very expensive with little to do. What it does is overdone, and I think ruins the effect of the place. It’s a shame, because it really could have been an awesome day or two there.

Maybe the Thai islands just aren’t my  cup of tea.

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