Th-island Hopping

November 11, 2018 Off By resignatedsurvivors

Warm sunshine, crystal clear turquoise waters and soft powdery golden sand are the order of this week’s business, as we spent the week hopping around Thailand’s southern islands. It was an insightful week, full of surprises, but also one where we fully got into the swing of the RSBA, had a lot of fun and met some fantastic people (if you are reading this, you know who you are!).

Klong Khong beach. Completely deserted beach during the day.
Phra Ae beach in Koh Lanta. The calm before the storm!

We started our journey south with a quick ferry ride across from mainland Krabi to Koh Lanta, one of the quieter and more serene of the Thai islands (and far less notorious than certain others, which we’ll get to later!). Of course, the only way to see the true beauty of the island and all its nooks and crannies, was to rent a moped and we scooted around the island (pun intended), stumbling across gorgeous hidden beaches, witnessing one of the best sunsets of our life, and feeling utter “freedom” (I know it’s a cliché, but I am beginning to understand the true meaning of this!). We dined on exquisite Thai food, strolled along endless beaches feeling the warm sand between our toes and toasted with ice cold beers as we watched the sky turn from pink to red to purple, feeling like we were in a dream that no one could wake us from…

Mrs RS rocking the biker chic. This was our ride for a couple of days.
Part 1 of 3: Sun setting from the hilltop above Kantiang Bay.
Part 2 of 3: Post sunset the sky erupted in beautiful colours.
Part 3 of 3: They say the devil is in the details but we think this is heaven.

…Until we reached Koh Phi Phi! We completely misjudged this island, the home of the infamous Maya Bay (location of “The Beach”), sucked in by photos of idyllic beaches and calm blue waters. Off we went on to another ferry, hoping for more of the same as Lanta, only to step off into what can only be described as a chaotic explosion of hedonism. We were greeted with street after winding street of bars and pubs selling “buckets” of alcohol for suspiciously cheap prices, hundreds of people wandering around dazed and glassy-eyed and street vendors offering what can only be described as “drunk food”- stale pizzas and weird meat on sticks – instead of the delicious Thai food we’d been used to having at street stalls. All this and it was only one o’clock in the afternoon.

Mrs RS enjoying some quiet time on one of the many beautiful beaches in Koh Phi Phi.

As soon as the sun went down, the party started, music blaring from all angles, people staggering this way and that, and beach parties spilling out into afterparties until the sun peeked its weary head the next morning. We came across a girl who had passed out at a poor shopkeeper’s desk, with no friends or recollection of where she was staying. The shopkeeper pleaded with us to help her so we did a bit of detective work (using the girl’s thumbprint to access her phone as she sat with her head bowed between her legs, vomiting out that night’s bucket) and found an email confirmation from her hostel. Success! Now how to get her there? We tried to persuade a passing local porter (no wheeled vehicles are allowed on the island so a taxi wasn’t an option) to shove her into his wheelbarrow with his next load of suitcases but we weren’t willing to pay the extortionately high price he was asking for, so we eventually managed to pick this girl up and lead her down the path to her hostel. Pat on the back for a good deed done for the week! The shopkeeper was going to call the police on her. 

Mr RS doing his good deed for the day!

Three days was all we could manage on Phi Phi (although in that time we also managed to make some friends, go on a boat trip around the island to discover some beautiful bays and snorkling spots and see some stunning view points), and we were glad to eventually get on the ferry outta’ there! We headed to Phuket for our last two days in Thailand, witnessed more drunk party zones – Bangla Road was like entering hell on earth, with touts advertising “ping pong” shows at every five paces (no, they weren’t selling tickets to a sports event), more loud music and the usual apocalyptic scenes that go with it. 

Maya Bay, now closed to protect the corals and sea life.
Koh Phi Phi in all its glory, where the views from above are far better than the views from within.
Phuket's famous Bangla Road. Home to the busy pubs and clubs.
If you're expecting a game of table tennis, you'd be sorely mistaken!
Phuket, anyone for a beer?

On our final night in Thailand, we satisfied our Thai food cravings with one last Pad Thai and a final mango sticky rice for Mr RS and then said our goodbyes as we set sail (figuratively speaking) for Cambodia, to continue on the next phase of our adventure.

Kob-kun kaaaaa!


The Resignated Survivors

You guessed it, mango sticky rice!

Highlight of the week: As mentioned above, the freedom we experienced when hopping on a scooter and exploring off the beaten track was unlike any other feeling we’ve had on our adventure so far, never knowing what beauty would befall us just around the corner.

Other notable things: In Phi Phi, drunk people convene nightly at the “Reggae Bar”, which is the location for celebrating an important part of Thai culture – Muay Thai boxing. A huge boxing ring is set up in the middle of the bar, with signs advertising a free bucket for any willing participants from the crowd. The perfect opportunity for “mates” to have it out with each other after a few pints, with the sadistic crowd egging them on. Not just limited to men either, we witnessed two female friends having a go too. There was also the occasional fight with “genuine” Muay Thai boxers, although we strongly suspect they had rehearsed their routines for maximum crowd pleasure. A fantastic illustration of what the Thai culture, for many, has become, and in all honestly it is a little bit sad.


Lessons Learned: Koh Phi Phi is a party island to the core, so if anyone is going there looking for a bit of Leonardo DiCaprio-style adventure, you will be massively disappointed. 

Isn’t this the normal way to end a night out with your best mate after a few beers?