Monday, June 27, 2011

Booze Cruise and “The Beach” Beach

We were rudely awoken at 8:30 in the morning by a banging on the door. Startled, we jumped up and wondered what on earth could be happening. Then it dawned on us - we thought we had been so clever to turn the air conditioning on in the room without the help of the remote. We had only paid for a fan, not the AC , and didn't think that anyone would notice. They did, however.

Ren scrambled to turn the AC off and opened the door - he was greeted with an angry Thai man shouting about why were were using the AC (ummm... because this is a tropical country and we're from chilly Canada? How is this not obvious?) before barging in, taking our fan and presenting us with a bill for the cost of using the AC for the past 18 hours.

We’d heard from one of our Canadian friends that there was a day cruise around Koh Phi Phi Le that took us to Monkey Beach and Maya Bay, where they filmed The Beach.  So, after breakfast and some amazing fruit shakes we spent the morning wandering around the island taking pictures before getting ready to go and get on the boat.

We met the group at the pier around 1pm and filed onto the boat. The majority of the group were about 35 Canadians from Edmonton who were traveling with a group who’s mentality was “Life Before Work”.  Within moments of being on the boat the group was creating “Donkey Punch” – a vile looking mixture of every imaginable colourless alcohol and random juice.  We had the option to join in on the “fun” but we decided to just stick with our big bottles of beer Chang.
The boat departed the port and our first stop was Monkey Beach.  We parked the boat and climbed into long boats to take us to shore.  Once on shore we could see why Monkey Beach was called as such – it was overrun by wild monkeys that would right up to visitors. There were monkeys of all sizes, including a mother with a baby clinging to her chest.

Perhaps the funniest, but also most appalling part of the visit to the beach was the fact that the monkeys were fairly aggressive. And they apparently were alcoholics. They would run right up to people holding drinks, grab the drinks right out of their hands and run back to the safety of the trees and chug the drinks back. If people didn’t hand over the drinks the monkeys would attack.  The best course of action was to remain in the water, at about knee level, where the monkeys weren’t  brave enough to venture,

We got back on the boat and took off past Viking Cave – a cave in the cliff face that was originally home to Chinese pirates who painted murals on the walls. We couldn’t go into the cave because it’s currently inhabited.

After Viking Cave we stopped at a cove that offered the opportunity to snorkel and kayak, so of course I took advantage. Myself and a girl I’d met on the boat who was travelling from Israel took off and ventured around the cove. In spots the water wasn’t even deep enough for the kayak. We managed to get stuck and had to push ourselves off the rocks a few times.

We headed back to the boat where I was given a snorkel and goggles and pointed in the direction of some clown fish. I zoomed about under water with my camera, snapping photos of whatever fishes I could.

The major downside to all the swimming was the fact that the air was cool in comparison to the water and it was raining. Shivering, I got out of the water and wrapped myself in my pashmina scarf and attempted to dry off.  We spent a while at the cove while the kids from the tour group jumped off the side of the boat and swam around before heading to Maya Bay.

It’s possible to access Maya Bay in two ways. One way is to come into the Bay, park your boat and take a long boat to shore. The other is to park the boat on the opposite side, take a long boat to shore, climb some stairs and walk through a jungle along a path before being greeted with the oh-so-familiar view. This is what we did.

It’s unfortunate that it wasn’t sunny while we were on the beach, but it didn’t dampen our spirits. More than one (drunk) girl ran onto the beach calling for Leo, while the rest of us just stood in awe-filled silence while taking in the view.  Even with the overcast sky the beach was still amazing. Serene, secluded and peaceful.  The three of us photographers split up and spent awhile taking pictures around the bay.  Most of the pictures were fairly standard, but it never hurts to have a few iconic photos in the collection.  We sat on the beach, played in the water, and generally just enjoyed our time on the famous beach.

Because of the overcast sky, the original plan of seeing the sun set at sunset point was scrapped in favour of heading back to Koh Phi Phi Don and eating some dinner. We piled back onto the boat,  some of us taking the long boat and some of us, like myself, swimming.   Once back at the pier, we rushed ahead of the group and joined up with a couple of the guides from the group that needed a break from the (drunk) Edmontonians like we did.  One of the guys, a local, told us about a place where we could get the best Pad Thai on the island. For only 80B and the promise of a filling meal, we took the guys up on the offer to come with them.

The Pad Thai held true to its promise and was completely amazing. I’m fairly certain I won’t ever find Pad Thai that tastes that good again. Full and tired from a day on the water, we all ventured back to the hotel to take a nap.  We all crashed within moments of being back and didn’t wake up for a few hours.  Eventually, around 10pm the guys woke up and decided to go out and have some drinks. Still exhausted, I opted to stay behind and sleep some more. I told them I’d track them down eventually and went back to sleep.

I slept til about 12, maybe 1am. I got up and wandered out to see what I could find. I went up to street to outside the cafe we ate at earlier in the day to steal some wifi and debated what I wanted to do. The town seemed to be dead, I assumed everyone was at the beach. I internet-ed for a while and then decided to just hang out by myself. I walked around a little bit, went to 7-11 and basically just relaxed, happy to get a little bit of “me” time after being with the same people for days on end.

I figured that the guys would be back around 3, so I stayed awake until around then.  I must have drifted off because at 4am I heard the room door open and the guys come in. They crawled into bed and were surprised to find me awake. I asked them what they had gotten themselves up to and they told me hilarious stories of their night, using the most ridiculous accents imaginable and leaving me in tears.

I wanted to get myself up early to go and see the view point at the top of Koh Phi Phi so I fell asleep and so did the guys. All in all, a fantastic way to spend a day on the island!

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