Phi Phi Islands Tour – Lesson Learned: Check the weather!

On April 28, 2013 by Mrs C

The day we went on t he Phi Phi Island Tour may either be the worst or the best experience of my life. It was Murphy’s Law in action. Definitely one of those stories you’ll be telling your grandchildren about.

I thought my biggest regret would be failing to bring my wide-angle lens. I was SO wrong.

See, this is our first wedding anniversary celebration. We flew out to Phuket, Thailand for 4d/3n. Of course, we booked the Phi Phi Island Tour to see the famed beach where the movie “The Beach” was filmed. We were psyched.

We knew outright that it was not the peak season. It wasn’t summer in Thailand. It rained a few times the past days, but nothing crazy. I kept checking my mail to see whether or not the tour was pushing through. It did (that’s why we have a story!).

Phi Phi Islands Tour 01 - A beautiful morning

A beautiful morning

This morning was a great start, there were clear skies and some sun. The boat ride going to Maya Bay was a bit rougher than other boat rides I’ve been on (waves were a bit bigger than what I’m used to) but again, nothing outrageous. Some of our co-passengers did get a bit seasick, and I was smirking in my head, about how weak their stomachs were for sea motion. It was, though, definitely longer than other trips I’ve been on. About 70 mins. Since I didn’t want to get seasick and there was no other thing to look at, I kept my eyes on the sea, spotting a few small islands and even a lighthouse.

Phi Phi Islands Tour 02 - Maya Bay

Maya Bay

We arrived at Maya Bay, and we were the second boat there. The privacy was lovely. The sand was white and the water was blue and shallow. The waves were gentle. The only downside was that there were a few rocks (like dead corals) scattered along the sea floor and had the same color as the sand – so we couldn’t see them clearly and we kept stepping on them.

A few more boats arrived, and soon the small stretch of beach was starting to get more people. Our tour guide then gathered the lot of us; we were off to Pileh Cove.

Phi Phi Islands Tour 03 - Pileh Cove

Pileh Cove

It was a beautiful, isolated little place. The water was deep and there were no beach. The main activity there was to do jump shots: off the boat and into the water. Unfortunately my own jump shot is a little unflattering, so forgive me if I don’t post it here.

After that was a visit to the Viking Cave, which our tour guide told us is a harvesting ground for birds nests. We didn’t get off the boat, and instead just stopped in front of the cave for snapping a few photographs.

Phi Phi Islands Tour 04 - Viking Cave

Viking Cave

Next stop was Monkey Beach. It was a tiny bit of beach, with dozens of monkeys all waiting for you to feed them. Some of them are more agressive than others, and would even step into the water to be the first to grab the food from your hand. If you’re one of the braver souls who dare to feed them, please follow your guide’s instructions carefully to avoid any mishaps with these naughty animals.

Phi Phi Islands Tour 05 - Monkey Beach

Monkey Beach

We didn’t take long there, since a lot of us (myself included) were terrified of monkeys. Snorkeling was up next, and it was just in the nearby bay. Sadly, it was quite disappointing. The water wasn’t clear, and the wasn’t much we could make out under the water. And so, we were off to lunch.

Lunch was also a bit lackluster. Food was edile, but not fantastic. For the most part, we didn’t eat too much. The general mood was quiet, not quite down, but could use a shot of excitement. Then we felt raindrops — it started drizzling.

We soon started to board the speedboat. Our tour guide, knowing that we didn’t quite enjoyed the earlier snorkeling, took us to another spot, hoping it would be much better. Guess what? It was.

Phi Phi Islands Tour 06 - Snorkeling


Our spirits were high again. After that, we hit our last stop: Bamboo Beach for some R&R. As we come near the island, we see a lot of tourists camped out on the beach already. Our boat went past this stretch and we settled in a more quiet part of the island. The tour crew handed out beach mats and cold drinks. It was time to relax.

Phi Phi Islands Tour 07 - Bamboo Island

Bamboo Island, and storms clouds a-coming

And relax we did — while we could. It wasn’t very long when the storm clouds came and started raining down on us. What’s worse: the wind was making the sand fly around. And when it hit our skin, it stung like hell! It was like being hit by pellet!

Phi Phi Islands Tour 07 - Storm at Bamboo Island

Storm at Bamboo Island. Sand was flying. This guy wrapped himself inside a mat for protection.

So most of us ran for shelter, except for this guy who instead chose to stay on the beach and wrap himself up in a mat. It lasted a while, somewhere in between 30 minutes to an hour.

Eventually the weather calmed down, and we got back up on the boat and headed for back for the Phuket main island. However, because of the storm, the waves were huge. Our boat had to change its path and stay close to islands so that the waves would be smaller.

It was a terrible ride. It felt like a roller coaster ride, the boat kept going up and down, and water kept splashing inside. In the distance, we could see another boat which seemed to disappear and appear behind waves. Almost everyone onboard had at one point threw up into a plastic bag. The tour guide gave out life vests for everyone to wear.

Then, all of a sudden, the boat stalled. We had run out of gasoline.

Will we ever make it back?

The good thing is that there was a rescue boat (perhaps from the local tourism office?) making rounds, and gave our boat some gasoline. We eventually made it back to Phuket island. You have no idea how the sight of solid ground was so relieving.

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