The Phi Phi island tour had transportation arranged for pick up at 8 to 820am so we had our alarms set at 645am, a little early for holidays. As usual, we didn’t really start moving until it was 7 and started the free but just enough breakfast at 740am. Our experience with this type of tour says that the transportation would usually be late but we were wrong. A call from the reception came on the dot of 8am saying that the tour had arrived to pick us up and we had to rush to complete whatever we were doing quickly and meet the rep who checked with our receipt and brought us across the road and up the songthaew (up the lorry with seats behind) and proceeded with the same operation of picking up guests along the way.
We arrived at the front of Ao Nang beach where the speed boats were parked. There was a registration counter to get the stickers for identification. At about 920am, we all boarded a big 100 seater speed boat and we were on the way to the first stop, Bamboo Island. We were one of the first few to board the speed boat and thus we went to the front of the craft where there was open air seating. It was great to see the view ahead and at the same time feel the wind in our faces.
20mins later, our first stop. Bamboo Island had a long stretch of white sandy beach that went around the island (I think). This island reminded me of Buck Island in the Caribbean. As we were one of the first few boats to reach the island, the beach was fairly empty. We went counterclockwise from the landing and as we moved further, the better the view got, as the island behind got into view. Took some photos and walked backwards for some distance. I tried walking into the turquoise blue and the water was only waist deep for some even up to about 20m out from the shore! It was also very clear, though I didn’t see any fishes – which could also be due to the moving water that blurred the view. The waves were a little strong but walking out into the sea was possible. Walked back towards the boat and waited till it was time to board, while enjoying the views around. We were given an hour there but was more than enough.
Half an hour later, we arrived at Monkey beach, part of the Phi Phi Don. The boat stopped and about 100m away from the beach. This was where we can get to snorkel, but we weren’t getting onto the beach itself. The staff issued masks and tube and the guests could get into the water on their own, which could mean jumping off the boat. It was fun. The view underwater wasn’t all that impressive as there weren’t much corals. There were however some fishes and as the staff threw bread pieces into the water to entice the fishes, I was swimming together with them. The sunlight was shining through the water and onto these fishes, making them shimmer in the water, quite a beautiful sight. However, I didn’t have the camera waterproofing bag to capture that moment. Half an hour later, we were again on our way, this time to Phi Phi Don main island for lunch.
Lunch was served buffet style underneath a shelter. Food wasn’t fantastic, chicken was a little tough. But it was edible. Lunch time was a good 2hrs but we didn’t sit too long and went exploring the beach front of Phi Phi. Though throngs of speed crafts were docking along the shoreline, the stupendous cliffs that encircled the bay made the view photogenic. We bought a strawberry banana shake for 80b to cool off the heat and then rested at one of the deck chairs (rental at 40b per chair) under shelter while waiting for boarding time. Dozed off for a bit before it was time to board the boat for the 2nd portion of the trip.
This time, we were heading to the Maya beach where it was made famous by the movie “The Beach” starring Leonardo DiCaprio. En-route of the 10mins trip towards that location, we stopped near a cave by the side of a tall cliff, called “Viking Cave” where swallows come and built birds’ nests, popular Chinese delicacy.
After that, the boat then navigated to a calm and narrow section in between 2 cliffs called Phi Ley Bay. The clear turquoise water compliment the commanding cliff and a little sandy beach hideaway painted a paradise picture for us to enjoy. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to get off the boat and be part of the scenery.
10mins later we were entering the film location but what the online reviews said were all true, it was bloody crowded with people and boats! The boat moved to a calm section of the water where a 2nd round of snorkeling took place. It was deeper than previous location but there weren’t as much fishes. Corals looked the same and thus I thought it was nothing interesting. Probably the only difference was that I saw a sea urchin this time around.
After returning to the boat and also the masks to the staff, our boat made its way to the beach and parked amongst the line of other boats. We got off the beach for a short while to take photos but returned to the boat soon enough in order to try to get a clearer shot of the blue water in between the cliffs. There was only a short moment available as the boat staffs were also perched at the front of the boat and it was difficult not to include them in the pictures. 30mins on the beach was the time given and at 315pm, we were already on our way back to Ao Nang, completion of a nice tour by Ao Nang Orchid speedboat tour. On the way back, we decided to move to the main body of the sea to reduce further sun tan out in the open. There weren’t many seats and we had to sit separately. I dozed off till we reached a pier for us to alight. This was a different location from the morning boarding but still there was a songthaew that brought us back to the hotel. Went back to wash up especially when we were all so sweaty and sandy.
Our next location to visit was the night market at Krabi town, also known as the Krabi Walking Street. We weren’t sure how to get there and the only thing we knew was that a single trip via taxi cost 500b, which was pretty steep. We approached the reception and he was very helpful and explained the how the public songthaew looked and and offered to go onto the main road to help us identify and stop the songthaew. Although there were predetermined bus stops, it seemed that the songthaew can stop anywhere to pick up customers. We were informed that one of the songthaew had just passed and we need to wait awhile but as luck would have it, another one came in just about 10mins of waiting. The staff helped to communicate to the driver on our location and we boarded the songthaew.
As we travelled, more and more passengers boarded the songthaew. At one bus stop there were a group of 7 people who wanted to board and we were asked to move to the front. It was like a business class upgrade. The songthaew was not a big vehicle and it was amazing how many people it could carry. As we saw from the front seat, there were even people standing on the back ends outside of the vehicle while we were traveling towards Krabi, up to speeds of 90km/hr (on a speed limit of 45km/hr to 60km/hr)!
We chatted with the driver and found out that we could take the same type of transport direct to the tiger cave. That actually resolved some of he questions we had relating to the visit. We reached the night market in due time, and similarly, we have noticed the place to take the same type of bus at the opposite side of the road, in front of a 7-11 to get back to Ao Nang.
This night market was named the Krabi Walking street and was an open market with various stalls selling foodstuff, clothing, accessories and art works. We thought that what was offered in the market was a little different and so more interesting than usual. The food here was also pretty decently priced and it was a good place to try different foodstuff. We tried some Phad Thai, BBQ food and yam pudding. There was also a stage where there was some entertainment going on, like a karaoke session and a dancing performance. In front of the stage were a number of tables where people could sit down and have their meals while watching the show. We bought some personalized souvenirs and went to take the songthaew back to Ao Nang, after about 2hrs at the market. This time around, we weren’t upgraded since there was somebody already sitting in front. However we weren’t hanging onto dear lives on the end of the vehicle either so it was fine for us. Once we reached our hotel, we just had to tap the window of the driver and he would parked his vehicle to the side of the road for us to alight. It had been a good long day out, so with a nice shower and some packing up afterwards, we retired for the night.