Thailand; Paradise, Phi Phi

This post is a follow on from the one I wrote about our time at beautiful Railay Beach in Thailand in October 2011. You can read it here:…y-beach-thailand/

On the 2nd November 2011, when we relocated from beautiful Railay Beach to Paradise, Phi Phi.

First we went by longboat to Ao Nang, which was buzzing with tourists. There wasn’t much talking or explaining what was happening, but ‘officials’ stickered us with Phi Phi labels and we were then herded onto a huge ferry. Surely all these people weren’t going to Phi Phi this early in the season?  Yes they were.

In the two weeks we’d been in Thailand, we’d climbed in and out of many longboats. And this is what we did again These attractive boats are the ones used mostly for snorkeling trips among the islands.You have to wade out to them and climb up a small ladder to board, so we were so grateful to our daughter Sal for telling us backpacks would be better than suitcases in Thailand.

Phi Phi is very famous and We were lucky to go there. I read recently that it has been closed indefinitely to allow it to recover from the damage done by tourists. Here’s an article on this.


There are two Phi Phi islands; the main island with all the resorts, Phi Phi Don, and the smaller uninhabited Phi Phi Leh.

It was a bun fight on the pier at Phi Phi Don, everyone jostling for accommodation. Sal is not easily intimidated and she elbowed her way in and got us the last room at Paradise Pearl Resort on the quieter Long Beach.

The snorkelling just off the beach was excellent and the visibility was also much better than we’d experienced at Railay Beach. We saw a lot more fish, including black tip reef sharks in ‘Shark Alley’.

That night, another amazing fire-show.


We hired our own private longboat the next day, so that we could pick and choose snorkelling spots and timing.

Phi Phi Leh, Phi Phi Don’s smaller sister, is inundated with sightseers because of its fame. The Beach starring Leonardo de Caprio was filmed in Maya Bay, a truly stunning cove – but oh how much more lovely it would be if it wasn’t so crowded. You could hardly move amongst all the people posing film-star style. The snorkelling was good.

Around another headland, the snorkelling was even better in beautiful Loh Sameh Bay. Then it was on to Pileh Bay and Viking Cave – people are living in it!

And 30 mins later we were at Bamboo island.

The snorkelling between Bamboo and Mosquito islands was excellent, the highlight being a leopard shark. There was just enough time to snorkel off Long Beach again before our 4 hours was up. What a great outing.

That evening, we walked to the little town (half an hour) and strolled around the night market – very vibey.

There is endless amusement and confusion in the signs and menus: Our restaurant: ‘The fish pours the chili’, ‘The shrimp bakes the noodles made of green grams’,   ‘Crying Tigen (probably meant to be Tiger?!) BBQ beef. Sal included a funny sign in her blog: about the dangers of imbibing too much alcohol. I wish I’d written down more of them….

The next day was perfect for the scuba diving Sal had booked. We’d been so lucky with fantastic weather at Railay Beach and it had been no different at Phi Phi – just the occasional, ‘over in no time’ torrential downpour. There are lots of dive centres and I can’t remember the one Sal booked through but this one has good reviews on Google.  Dudley and I were allowed to go with the divers. There were two dives; Bida Nok (shaped like a rabbit) and Phi Phi Leh, just outside Maya Bay.

We snorkelled at the surface and were reminded of the Seychelles; big tumbled rocks and steep drop offs. We saw a black-banded sea snake (poisonous!), two turtles, a black-tipped reef shark and lots of fish.

It was fantastic, but when we heard about Sal’s dive, an underwater cave with the sun shining through a hole in the roof lighting up the colourful soft corals growing on the walls, we wished we’d persevered and completed our scuba diving course in the Seychelles. I was the one who chickened out…I felt a sense of panic every time I thought of trying to clear a mask full of water at 10 metres down.

Our last evening; a Singapore Sling cocktail toast to a wonderful holiday, followed by an excellent meal, Pad Thai with prawns. D had a delicious green curry. Goodbye beautiful Thailand!

The journey home was awfully long; longboat, ferry, taxi (to Krabi where we said a tearful farewell to Sal), then 4 flights; Bangkok, Dubai, Johburg, Port Elizabeth. We don’t like driving back at night so we spent the night in PE and drove back to Port Alfred the next day. It was even more miserable for D. The green curry didn’t  agree with him and he suffered BADLY all the way home.

It really was “home, sweet home” when we finally got there.

P.S. One strange and unpleasant thing:  both D and I got ‘lumpy itchy skin’ disease on our necks, back and shoulders. We thought it might have been the shower water.  It hung around for a couple of weeks after we got back too. But this was a minor irritation in the whole scheme of things.  I subsequently came to the conclusion that I am allergic to most suntan creams. I can only use Bioderma now.

A lot of the photos were taken by my daughter Sally Foote. Many thanks to her.


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