While most people take a day trip to visit the Phi Phi Islands, I had the opportunity to stay on the island in a private bungalow on a beach accessible only by boat. Unfortunately my Phi Phi experience was not off to the greatest start as my hotel in Phuket had forgotten to organise my private transfer to the harbour, so I ended up squeezing into the back of a minibus taxi full of asian tourists.
During the two hour yacht transfer I managed to get sunburnt, the fault of which was totally my own - but with the stunning views of Thailand I could not just sit in the yachts bar & miss the landscape. Crystal clear waters, rock faces you see only in movies, dense rich jungles hiding white sandy beaches - as we circled the main island there was not a single non-beautiful sight to behold.
My resort, the Phi Phi Holiday Inn, was the final stop on the yachts journey. The yacht, being too big to go ashore, dropped anchor a few hundred meters from the resort & all the guests were ferried to shore by traditional fishing boats - such an authentic & memorable experience. As the boats ran ashore I was escorted to one of the resorts restaurants for a complimentary drink while my bags were offloaded & moved to my room.
The resort was not a traditional hotel, instead it comprised of many private bungalows, some of which were on the beach, some in the jungle, & some up the hill. Having originally booked a garden bungalow I was upgraded to a beach front bungalow & a more exclusive part of the resort with its own swimming pool & dedicated restaurant. Awesome, right? Yes, but unfortunately my bungalow was at the very end of the resort, so going to reception or the beach-front restaurants & bars was quite a walk, which in Thailand's heat made it rather uncomfortable. Thank goodness for room service!
The resort itself was amazing. There were plenty of dining options, there was an amazing beach-front bar, a quaint little gift shop & general store, a beach-front spa, & the resort organised events & tours every day so quests could go snorkelling or have speed boat tours of the island, etc. The resort also encouraged guests not to carry cash & all expenses were put against the room & paid for at checkout. My bungalow was modern & well equipped, had a lovely balcony, the bed was unbelievably comfortable & the room was very well air-conditioned. The views of the ocean from my balcony were stunning - Phi Phi is without a doubt the most beautiful place I've ever seen.
Unfortunately because of my skin cancer (sun burn) I spent most of my time in my bungalow applying aftersun & lying in my bathrobe watching movies & relaxing. I did not get to see as much of the island as I would have liked, nor did I actually once swim in the crystal clear waters. This just means I have to come back. That being said, while in Thailand I held an eagle, rode an elephant through the mountain jungles of Phuket, had some custom shirts & suits made, had dinner on a yacht watching the sun set over the Big Buddha, & so many other amazing experiences which I will never forget.
My only regret is that I did not have any friends with me. At times I did feel rather lonely, but that did not stop me from having the time of my life, & finally having the break I needed to see the year through. Thank you Thailand, you've won me over. See you again soon!