Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Phuket Day 4

Sunday, 29 October 2006

On the last day, I signed up for the Phi Phi island trip, which was made famous by Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie The Beach.

We were told that the pickup to the pier would arrive at half past eight. Breakfast is usually served at eight, so the timing was just nice.

But unfortunately, the driver arrived at eight. We wanted to have a quick one for breakfast, but he was impatient and insisted that we leave immediately.

So we didn’t have any breakfast.

That wasn’t the worst part. When we arrived at the pier, we had to wait an hour for the Singaporeans and Hong Kongers to arrive, which presumably their pickup was as scheduled at 8.30 a.m.

Anyway, we left the pier at about half past nine. The speedboat ride to Phi Phi was an hour. It wasn’t a smooth ride and we were bouncing on hour seats most of the time. Whenever we hit a wave, someone in the boat would scream.

That was fun.

As one of them said, “A bunch of screaming queens.” It was not meant as an insult.

Phi Phi island consists of two islands, one bigger than the other. The first stop was smaller one. We didn’t step foot on the beach, as we had to pay an additional 200 baht to do so. Thus we snorkeled about 500 meters from beach.

Green hills on the first beach we went to

The water was crystal clear, with fishes so colourful they looked as though they were hand-painted with striking colours. We spent about half an hour here.

Next, we went to another beach, which was just as beautiful but there were less fishes. Probably there is not enough food, thus less fishes, which explained why some of us including myself were bitten by the fishes! It wasn’t very painful, but still, we are not fish food!

Scenic and idyllic

The subsequent stop was Monkey Island, where we had the opportunity to feed the monkeys with bananas. We didn’t need to peel the bananas for them and some of them astutely grabbed the bananas right from our hands!

I had a picture taken standing very close to one. I was a bit jittery doing so, as we were told by the guide that they could turn aggressive, especially if our backs are turned to them.

This was followed by lunch. We had international cuisine buffet. Seriously, I don’t think I had any authentic Thai food since I came here. A lot of things are catered for the Western tourists.

After lunch, we hanged around a bit, with most of the Singaporeans and HK people playing beach volleyball.

Our last stop for the day was the bigger island. I snorkeled while most of the others played beach volleyball.

The water is clear and clean, with the fishes clearly seen. The brain corals and

Random cute guy whom I noticed, with his girlfriend

Two of the HK guys actually swam around the island and had the opportunity to see more amazing fishes and corals. Apparently, the marine life on the other side of the island was even more interesting and mesmerizing.

Oh well. At least I know what to do the next time I come to Phi Phi again. Which I think I most probably will.

When we arrived back in Phuket, it was supposed to be time for the tele-matches. I was pretty tired from the island trip and decided to give it a miss.

Back at the Phuket pier

Based on a recommendation from the owner of the hotel, I headed for a massage. This time an authentic one, without the hanky-panky.

The masseuses were all sitting in front of the shop. When I said that I wanted a traditional Thai massage, they immediately pointed to one person. I asked is she good and they replied, “Number one.”

With that, I was convinced.

I was pestered into signing up for a two hour massage, as she kept insisting that an hour was not enough. I actually preferred one and a half hour, but the price was ridiculously unreasonable.

She said an hour was 250 baht, one and a half was 450 baht and two hours was 500 baht.

Finally, I agreed to a two hour massage.

It was a two hour well spent, with all the creaks and stiffness massaged away. There was some aches and pains when she pressed at some points, but I think those were the good pain. She was good; she knew I had walked a lot that day from massaging my lower legs and that I face a computer screen at work from massaging my shoulders.

Or maybe it wasn’t that difficult to arrive at those conclusions simply by looking at me. They are after all the most common profile of a tourist.

For such a good job, I tipped her 100 baht.

It was a little past seven when I went left the massage parlour. I had to rush back to the hotel for dinner at half past seven.

Took a quick shower and had a half-glass of red wine and Patrick, one of the Thais took us to a restaurant only the locals know.

It is one of those places with extremely good and cheap food where tourists wouldn’t know, unless you know a local.

We had seafood – crabs, prawns, fish – and they were very fresh. I was too hungry that I forgot to take photos of the dishes. ;P

More pictures here.


snakebyte said...

wow, trip sounds amazing. and the island! beautiful! and i am here stuck on my new project :(

k.t.x said...

derek! wow, went and enjoyed yrself thoroughly huh? will continue with day 3,2+1. m looking forward to some adventures, but so far....touristy only! how come! lol.

Derek said...

snakebyte: Different priorities mar! I had fun but you're doing your PhD!

k.t.x: Hello, long time didn't hear from you!

Touristy only? Erm ... what were you expecting then? ;P