Nushaw, Amber and I left Phuket ready to lay on secluded beaches and float in crystal blue water. What we weren’t ready for was the beauty of the drops of the limestone cliffs and vegetation over the blue blue water. I’ve been many places in the world now that claim to look like Jurassic Park (Hawaii being the obvious one, as the movies were filmed on Kauai) however Thailand’s coasts felt the most like the park to me than anywhere else.
The ferry from Phuket to Krabi was about four hours and $30 USD. While this is a lot of money in Thailand, it’s typical for ferry prices. Amber, Nushaw and I had a bit of an adventure with the taxi on the way to the ferry port as well… we ended up paying for three military boy’s ride because we had shared a cab with them that we arranged the day before at a bargained price. The driver did not want to give the boys the discounted price and the young 18 year olds piled high with their new cater-made suits from Bangkok didn’t want to pay. So the older women ended up paying for most of their ride.
Side note: what is it about eighteen year olds expecting someone my age to pay for everything? We have as little money as you, but less help from mommy and daddy, so shove off , grow up and take care of yourselves you entitled bastards. I was probably the same way that young, but I would never would have expected the graces of someone I just met or a stranger.
The ferry stopped at a couple islands on the way to Krabi. Koh Phi Phi was one of those islands. Those of you who watched The Beach with Leo know this island to be a secluded paradise, hidden from the world and kept secret at costs as serious as life itself. In reality, Koh Phi Phi is a dirty little island overrun with tourists. The way the current is, trash collects on the beach and oil rests on the waters surface.
- Photos – view of the all the activity coming into Phi Phi
We had to get off the ferry on Koh Phi Phi. There was a $3 entrance fee to this island, as it is a national park. My friends and I tried to stay on the ferry – hot and tired, we couldn’t be bothered to see this tourist trap that had a million boats and hotels visible from our dock. The ferry men, however, would not let us stay on the boat. It was pay $3 to go on the island or…. no other option.
The streets were made of narrow alleys full of shops for tourists to buy loose pants with elephants on them or dry bags of any shape or size. If you’re heading to Thailand,don’t bother getting a dry bag before you leave! The three of us, Amber, Nushaw and I, got some lunch and then laid on the beach to kill time. The photo above of me on the swing was almost impossible to get without a million tourists in the background.
Back on the ferry, we sailed another 45 minutes to Railay Beach. Railay is known for people rock climbing the limestone cliffs over the ocean. The three of us hopped from the nice, big ferry and into our first longtail boat. The following photos are true #backpackerlife #girlswhotravel.
This is Nushaw working her way through the pile of backpacker backpacks on the ferry in 80 degree heat and 90 percent humidity.
Our longtail boat was full of girls traveling from all over the world. We became fast friends with Chemka, who was taking a vacation from her job at Google in the Copenhagen offices.
The first view of Tonsai beach was a quiet bay with longtail boats littering the dock. Strung across two rocks far out at sea was a slackline that could only be reached by kayak or by swimming.
We found our accommodation on Air B&B before we left on the trip. Nushaw and I shared a cabin for about $20 USDa night. The Chillout Bungalow used to be on the water, however a millionaire bought all the land next to the beach years ago. The Bungalow had to move inland, maybe a half mile walk from the longtail boat. There are now concrete walls that surround the vacant millionaire’s property that have been gratified. Reading the graffiti on the walk up to the Bungalow gave us our first, true impression of what was in store.
At the Bungalow, the electricity only worked from 7pm to 7am. During the day, there was no wifi, no lights and no fans. In June, it is hot and humid as. The only thing to do is go for a swim or a kayak. You could rent a kayak here for about $5 USD for the day and kayak under the stunning limestone cliffs. The girls and I would take the half mile walk to the empty beach and go to town.
This experience made Thailand feel like the most romantic country in the world to me. Yes, there were bugs EVERYWHERE. Nushaw and I even walked in on a bat in our room one night. The mosquito netting was covered in dead bugs and the fan above our bed sounded like it was straight out of a horror movie, but it was too hot to sleep anyway. With all that, this beach remains a sacred secret spot only available to those mostly backpackers) who can rough it. And their reward is paradise. The real Beach.
The Chillout Bungalows. Chill Bruh.
Each one had a different country painted on the door, and holes in the floor. The photo below is our bathroom. It was open to the outside, so we always kept the door to the bathroom closed. That didn’t stop the bat from entering though.
There were a couple stores at the bungalow. Nushaw bought coffee from the family that worked there while I hung out in the tree house hammock. (Side story, one night Amber fell asleep in the hammock while Nushaw and I were getting massages next door,and she woke up to what she thought was someone poking her to get out of the hammock and go to bed – it was the cat punching her in the hammock.)
Looking at this photo today from my home in New Zealand, it blows my mind how cheap the food was in Thailand. We got full meals for less than $5 USD. At the time $1 was about 30 Bhat.
The massage place next door to the Bungalow was everything you’d imagine paradise to be. In America, they paint the walls of massage places to look like this hut – we got massages in the jungle by the sea to the sound of rain and monkeys. The price? $9 USD for a one hour full body massage.