Island hopping around the phi phi islands

Friday, 16 June 2017

A week into our Thailand travels and we were joined by Craig's mum and dad, Elaine and Mick! We were super excited to see them after 6 months and we couldn't wait to show them all our fav spots we found so far - especially Railay Bay.

After a day or two of catching up and lazing by their humongous pool (see picture below) we decided to venture out to the phi phi islands. We decided to go all out and book a private boat for the four of us. We booked with an independent company 'Big's Castaway Tours' that we found on Trip Advisor with AMAZING reviews. I can't recommend Big and his crew enough. The traditional Thai fishing boat added to the authentic experience yet it was a lot cleaner and better equipped than most of the little boats you get out to the islands. Unlimited soft drinks, an incredible Thai lunch prepared on our own private beach, free snorkel equipment and the loveliest, kindest crew ever. Plus Big's knowledge and passion for the phi phi islands was great!

Unfortunately for us we didn't have the best weather day (see picture below). As you may know Thailand (especially the west side islands) are notorious for unpredictable weather - luckily we bought very fetching rain macs that made us look like 21st century teletubbies!

With that said we defiantly didn't let the rain spoil our day and we still had an amazing time - and the sun did make an appearance for us when we got to Bamboo island to enjoy our lunch.

In total Big took us to 7 different stops. Below I will tell you a lil bit about each one...

Nui Bay
This was our first stop and about an hour boat ride from Ao Nang. A tiny, quiet bay that was amazing for snorkelling. As we had quite a stormy day the water was particularly choppy making swimming and snorkelling rather tricky. However we still managed to get into the water and saw a huge jellyfish as the bottom of the reef.

Monkey Beach
Again slightly jeopardised by the rain, but a beautiful beach nonetheless. Usually the beach is full of monkeys (hence the name) but they were all being sensible and hiding from the weather! Lovely warm water which was fun to swim in whilst it was raining plus big swings to chill on on the beach. I can imagine this to be a real gem in the sunshine!

Maya Bay/Loh Sammah Bay
Notorious for Danny Boyles' 'The Beach' starring Leonardo DiCaprio! Having always loved the film this was a massive must see for me - however Maya Bay was a massive let down. The bay itself is impossible to get to and see due to the 100s of boats full of tourists. Due to not even being able to get to the front of Maya Bay, Big decided to take us round the back entrance (Loh Sammah Bay) instead. A lot less crowded myself and Craig swam about 100 metres (feeling like Richard and Fran├žoise) to the netted rope ladder to get onto the island. Once finally making it onto Maya Bay, I have to say I felt rather sad by the sheer amount of people squashed onto the beach, you could hardly move! Putting that fact aside the beach itself was actually really pretty and I can see why they chose to film there - just another area of Thailand spoilt by the ever growing tourist industry.

Pileh Bay (The Blue Lagoon)
This was incredible! The bluest water and most dramatic coastal scenery I have ever witnessed - I literally felt like I was sailing through a movie set. Perfectly still water and a sense of serenity and calm in compassion to the choppy ocean we had been used to.

Viking Cave
After passing through Pileh Bay we saw Viking Cave which just added to the 'movie set' feel. Here we saw the famous spit birds in action making their nests.

Bamboo island
Last but by no means least was Bamboo Island - this was my favourite stop, not just because the sun had come out but because this island was so unspoilt, quiet and beautiful. We had this little slice of paradise for ourselves - the clearest, pale blue water and creamy white sand. Here we enjoyed an amazing Thai feast cooked by Big's crew, it was delicious! The snorkelling here was also so good - we saw leopard fish and tones of sea cucumbers.

Despite the rain we had such a fun day and couldn't thank Big and his crew enough! The phi phi islands are defiantly a must see in Thailand - backpacker or not.

I would like to end this post by saying a HUGE thank you to Elaine and Mick! You made our Krabi trip so special and we can't thank you enough for treating us to numerous pad Thais, Thai green curries, Chang beers, fruity cocktails and for generally being the best company. We so badly wanted to take you both up north with us to Chaing Mai!

Elly x

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