Phi Phi: can we walk to Monkey Beach?.
From Chiang Mai we flew to Phuket, in the South of Thailand. We were told it is an easy way to take the boat to the islands, like Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta. Later we checked the map and Krabi would have been a better airport for Koh Lanta.
The airport is in the North and it is a 40 minutes taxi drive to Rassada Pier in the South of Phuket. At the airport we booked our taxi ride combined with our ferry to Koh Phi Phi, the first island we were going to visit. For the taxi ride we paid 1.000 bath (€25) for two and for the ferry 700 bath per person (€17,50). Probably we should have bargained more, because on our way back we paid for the taxi ride 600 bath (€15) and for an one-hour-longer ferry 400 bath (€10) per person.
Rassada Pier was full with noisy tourists with suitcases and backpacks waiting in line to get on the ferry. And not the nicest type of tourists. A lot of young guys, bare chested and with a can of beer, some already napping against a wall, probably tired from the night before. First we had to go to a desk with our receipt, which is changed into a sticker on your chest with the island you are sailing to. All suitcases for all islands go on one stack. After two hours we arrived at the first island Koh Phi Phi, where we had to embark. All people, including the passengers who were going to Koh Lanta, had to go off and all suitcases were thrown on the quay. Hundreds of tourists were pushing to get their suitcase to get or to their hotel, or to another boat bringing them to Koh Lanta. How strangely organized!
At the pier of Koh Phi Phi a guy was waiting to take our suitcases to our hotel “Phi Phi Nice Beach“. The walk was to the end of the bay, just in front of a high rock and a more quiet area.
There is still a lot of construction work on the island because of the tsunami in 2004. We arrived at our hotel, nice and with a beautiful swimming pool and directly at the beach. Because we were only staying for 2 nights we did not book a room with sea view, but with garden view. These were cheaper. Well, we now know why this room was cheaper: the view was into the trees of the hill but also at the garbage belt.
We were hungry so we went to the hotel restaurant for a snack. I took Chicken Satay and Thom Kha Goong soup with coconut milk, lemongrass and shrimps. It was beautiful presented in a fresh coconut.
That evening we walked a bit through the harbour village, which was full with bars, restaurants or massage places.
The next day Johan wanted to relax on the beach, but I wanted to explore a bit of the island.
“But no boat to Maya Bay or Monkey Beach” Johan said “Please one day without an organized tour! Just some sun tanning”
When we booked Koh Phi Phi we thought it was the island of Maya Bay, the beautiful white sand beach, famous from the movie “The Beach” with Leonardo DiCaprio. But Maya Bay is on the smaller island Koh Phi Phi Leh and we had booked Koh Phi Phi Don.
But I already had seen that some of the scuba diving trips from Koh Lanta were going to Koh Phi Phi Leh, so I could live with the idea not visiting Maya Bay. But I was still very curious about the monkeys on Monkey Beach. The girl at the reception said that with low tide you could walk to Monkey Beach. So we walked to the other side of the island. Koh Phi Phi Don are two islands connected with each other by a small spit, with a bay on both sides.
At the last restaurant close to Monkey Beach we asked the owner if we still could walk to Monkey Beach. The tide looked a bit too high. He said that we could, but that we had to watch out for slippery rocks. Well it was a bumpy road and at some parts we really could not follow the coast line, so we climbed the rocks. We scratched our arms and legs on vines with thorns and we got bitten by red ants. Just when we wanted to give up, a young German couple was trying to get their kayak on shore, because they wanted to go snorkeling. They offered us their kayak for 30 minutes, so we could see Monkey Beach. Well, we are glad they did, because we never could have climbed that last steep rock!
Monkey Beach was crowded with tourists. There was a large sign “Don’t feed the monkeys” but the whole beach was full of plastic bottles and potato chips bags. It was even hard to take a picture of the monkeys without plastic in the background.
We returned the kayak to the German couple. The tide was higher so we decided to walk through the sea on our sneakers.
That afternoon Johan could finally relax at the beach and we did some sunbathing and when we returned to our hotel, I took a one-hour Thai massage with oil.