It’s hard to prepare for the never-ending bustle of Bangkok after being on island time for the past 9 days. The Phi Phi Islands and Koh Tao were great to us – both visits were filled with beauty, adventure, and relaxation in incredibly different ways.
Warnings about immense amounts of tourism on the Phi Phi Islands made us weary, but we were pleasantly surprised to arrive in Phi Phi Village – a short long-tail boat ride from Tonsai Bay, where the real crowds reside – with greetings from mostly locals. Evidence of the 2004 tsunami is visible throughout Phi Phi Don: flowered memorials are visited daily and sandy-floored outdoor restaurants and bars are embellished with scrap-wood from the aftermath of the big wave.
We spent our time on Phi Phi relaxing on beaches, puttering around in long-tailed boats, kayaking and snorkeling (resulting in the overnight loss of the GoPro in Loh Lana Bay, which we were fortunate enough to find!) and, best of all, diving around Phi Phi Leh with some amazing local dive-masters, a hawksbill sea turtle, black-tipped reef shark, and vibrantly alive coral.
After 4 days on Phi Phi, a short transfer by bus and ferry landed us on Koh Tao. We stayed near the main pier and within walking distance of the iconic dive-haven, Sairee Beach. We thoroughly explored the island by foot, boat, and ATV, both on land and underwater. Mango smoothies at amazing view points and swimming amongst schools of smiling parrot fish; off-roading on bumpy dirt trails and drinking Changs while being hypnotized by fire twirlers… it’s safe to say we loved the Thai Islands.
Phi Phi Islands:
Loh Lana Bay Viewpoint.
Painting on barstools at a local beach bar.
Dive break lunch in Maya Bay.
Hawksbill Sea Turtle.
Our crew during two incredible dives off the western shore of Phi Phi Leh with Phi Phi Dive Club.
Sairee Beach snorkeling.
Exploring Koh Tao’s soft white-sand beaches.
Mango smoothies at Mango Viewpoint Bar mid-ATV trek.
Koh Nangyuan viewpoint – natural sandbar bridges.
Water spout funnel cloud above Japanese Garden dive spot.
Garra Rufa Fish “spa.”
Beachside fire twirlers.