I have a long dream of visiting the Phi Islands. I first read about these beautiful remote islands off the coast of Phuket about 07 years ago and then, like everybody else, I was spellbound with the stunning scenery shown in the movie, The Beach, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. After seeing the film for a second time, I decided that Phi Phi would be my honeymoon destination one day. You can imagine my sense of anticipation when I finally arrived there with my bride a few weeks ago. Most tourists arrive by sea from Phuket. but we decided to fly there from Phuket Airport using a new seaplane service, Blue Water Air. As we came down to land, I looked out at the splendid sight below – soaring cliffs and dense forests bordering golden stretches of sand. Although it is commonly referred to as Phi Phi “island”, pronounced Pee-Pee, there are two islands. The bigger of the two, Phi Phi Don, is where everybody stays, as the smaller Phi Phi Lei is uninhabited. The big attraction on Phi Phi Lei is Maya Bay and its beautiful beach, where the movie was shot.
That night I was all set for another night of drinking and dining with my toes in the sand, but my wife decided she wanted to go somewhere “elegant”. “Darling, we’re on an island, miles from anywhere,” I pleaded. “Don’t be silly, we’ll find somewhere special here”, was her retort. And we did. That night we dined at an excellent little French restaurant.
The next day we chartered a longtail boat and spent the day on Bamboo Island about 30 minutes away. We relaxed in the shade of the casuarinas and palms fringing the beach and read novels bought from a second-hand book store before we left the village. We intended to take a scuba diving course, but the urge to do as little as possible increased the longer we stayed on the island. There was always something new to discover in the village, my favorites being a reggae bar tucked away up the hill and a bakery where the TV seemed to show movies all day to an appreciative backpacker audience.
Most of the time I was happy to prop myself up at one of the little bars along the seafront chatting to whoever dropped in, while my wife was content to lie and suntan in a deckchair on the beach only meters away. One afternoon we managed to rouse ourselves enough to undertake the rather strenuous walk up the nearby mountain to the “viewpoint” – a spot where you can take in the full splendor of the bays below. It was magnificent and worth the tiring hike.