There's no way you can keep it out of Lonely Planet, and once that happens it's countdown to dooms day - says one of the characters in the movie 'The Beach'.Although the popular novel (turned into a Hollywood movie) by Alex Garland is set in Thailand, it's been rumored that the actual inspiration for it is the Philippines.
The movie definitely put Koh Phi Phi on the backpacker map. Though it's been popular for years already, tourism skyrocketed when the movie was released. I never thought we'd still be able to squeeze this destination in our itinerary as our budget was running out.
Boat tours can be arranged in Koh Phi Phi Don for 600 THB per person. We hired our own longtail boat for 1,200 THB so we can be in charge of our own pace (though the rental's for three hours only inclusive of snorkel gear). The island exceeded our expectations, swimming in Pi-Leh Cove's water felt like swimming in a pool - it is so clear!
Maya Bay "The Beach" looks the same as any white beach in Asia, what's special about it is being enclaved (sort of, not entirely like in the film) in a cove of limestone. We didn't step foot on it though because they charge 200 THB per person since it's part of a national park! It's all good, we docked on a smaller unoccupied beach just across it. It was total paradise!
In less than three hours, we were done exploring parts of the island, and the boatman dropped us off Koh Phi Phi Don's main pier as agreed. I suddenly had my, uhm, monthly thingy. Okay, too much information, but I guess I just want to express how happy I was that at least we were almost done with all of Thailand's southern islands (the major ones at least).
[This blog is part of the South East Asia in Six Weeks series which took place May-June 2009. Price of goods, transportation and so forth may already be different.]
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