Officially three weeks into my trip, so I had to do it big. After dancing all night at the Pub Crawl, I woke up at 8am to catch the shuttle from my hotel to the pier to begin my tour of Koh Phi Phi. Jitapa organized the tour through Worwiwat Tourist Groups.
The speedboat was full with approximately thirty passengers, mostly couples and families traveling on vacation. Our first stop was snorkeling at Runtee Bay. Jumping off the boat, I landed in the middle of a school of fish. The “coral” in the area was pretty barren with only a few patches and colorless. The next stop was Monkey Beach. I have heard many stories of unfriendly monkeys throughout my trip in Thailand. I watched from afar as a small group of monkeys rummaged through somebody’s kayak and one even bit some guy’s arm. One of the guys I met last night got scratched by a monkey at his hotel and had to get immunoglobulin and a series of rabies vaccines.
The third stop on our tour was on the island of Phi Phi Don, where we enjoyed a buffet-style lunch at one of the restaurants near the beach. I laughed while I watched other tour groups spoon Tom Yum soup over their rice instead of into a bowl. They probably thought it was an entree. (Thanks Garnet!) After lunch, I sat on the beach and just admired the scenery. The Andaman Coast is full of dramatic limestone cliffs that emerge from the water. It looks like a scene from Avatar.
Our tour guide was very talkative and strategic when planning the itinerary for the day. Instead of going to the famous Maya Bay as the first stop, as advertised on the brochure, he waited until after lunch so the tides would be low and there were less boats and tourists compared to the morning. Maya Bay is where they filmed the movie, “The Beach” starring Leonardo Dicaprio. It is known world-wide as a pristine beach, surrounded by limestone cliffs on three sides and a jungle. Due to its popularity, Maya Bay was still packed with tourists and boats constantly dropping off and picking up their passengers. There is constant noise in the background of various tour guides shouting for their groups to return, sometimes using a loudspeaker. Aside from the chaos, you can swim a few meters out and still enjoy the beauty with less people littering your pictures.
After Maya Bay, we made two short stops at Pileh Bay aka Phi Phi Leh Lagoon and the Viking Cave. The boat doesn’t actually stop in either site, only to slow down so that you can take pictures. Pileh Bay was beautiful and reminds me of Big Lagoon in El Nido Island Tour A. (Definitely worth renting a kayak if you do Tour A) The Viking Cave is home to thousands of swallow birds and their nests. People harvest the nests for bird’s nest soup, supposedly an elixir for beauty and sexual performance. Our guide said that a single kilogram of the raw bird’s nest can sell for up to $10,000 USD.
The last stop on our tour was at Bamboo Island, with white sand and clear water to go snorkeling. By this time, I was already exhausted and after snorkeling for a bit, decided to relax on the beach with the remaining time. Overall, the Phi Phi Islands tour was definitely a highlight, however, I wish I had actually spent more time on Phi Phi Don rather than taking a day trip. I have heard many great things about Koh Phi Phi and definitely want to stay on the island to explore next time.
Tips for Worwiwat Tourist Groups, Phi Phi Islands Tour:
- Not the best atmosphere for solo travelers. Mostly couples and families on holiday, consider staying on the island for a better experience.
- Leave your best flip flops at home, everyone’s shoes are collected and stored in a net bag on the boat
- Food is good. No need to really bring snacks if you have breakfast before you leave. Water is provided on the boat and included with the tour price.
- Maya Bay is a National Park, therefore a 400 THB fee is required prior to getting on board. Definitely worth the price though, despite the large crowds of tourists.