The beautiful approach to Phi Phi Island
Right: Dee and I happy on the way.
A word of advice to travellers to Phuket: do not catch the Tour East “fast ferry” to the Phi Phi Islands for a day trip. On paper the trip promised: a visit the iconic island of Ko Phi Phi - made famous by the Hollywood movie - The Beach; snorkelling in the warm crystal waters, being surrounded by colourful tropical marine life and limestone cliffs and to enjoy a Thai lunch at a local restaurant on the island of Ko Phi Phi Don.
We chose the ferry, booked through Viators, rather than the more expensive speedboat trip and it turned out to be a bad choice.
First the hotel pick-up was 40 minutes late and then the ferry was 30 minutes late leaving the pier. The ferry itself was huge and it really was a public transport ferry, loaded with Island holiday makers with their luggage as well as the tour people. It was stuffy inside, but we were lucky enough to find our way to the bow of the boat and stay in the fresh air.
The trip to our destination took three hours, because it was the second port of call. When we did arrive off the island we were hastily transferred to another boat which headed to the shore. There was a nice sandy beach there, but we didn’t get chance to sit on it because we were hustled away into another boat – a local fishing boat to rush off to the snorkelling spot.
They turned out to be about a couple of hundred metres off shore.
But I like snorkelling and was looking forward to swimming over the coral among the fish. Then came the shock, There was no live coral and nothing more than a shoal of tiny yellow and black angel fish roaming around. On top of that my snorkel leaked!
My wife and I spent the hour treading water and chatting to a couple of English girls until it was time to get back into the boat.
And thereby hangs another tale. The steel rungs of the ladder reached about 10 centimetres into the water and I found it impossible to lift my leg high enough to reach the bottom rung. I had the strange experience of being lifted bodily from the water.
Then it was back to the beach and a buffet lunch that was ordinary. We did get the chance of a swim then – in the lovely warm Andaman Sea, which was the highlight of a dismal day.
Luckily the trip back, once again at the open bow of the boat. only took two hours.
But it didn’t stop the feeling that even at around $A60 each; it had been a wasted day.