Phi Phi, Phuket-Adventures, Phuket, Thailand


A Recipe for Laughter

 Travelling Thailand
 

By Marie Moon

There we were the twenty of us, wrapped in pearly green ponchos, speeding away from the storm that was threatening to ruin our adventure. Every face was now framed by the gathered green hoods; sunglasses, smeary from suncream and beading with rain, wisps of salty wet hair flickering in squinted eyes. One man straddled portside as the wind launched his poncho up around his ears. As he tried to force it down Marilyn Monroe style, with the palm of his free hand, a few of us were struck by a fit of the giggles. It was one of those special moments when a group of total strangers bond in circumstanced camaraderie.

The sociability of travel is what many people value as the highlight of the experience, but it is not something that casually happens. These moments are carefully orchestrated by some unknown power, through a series of positive and negative experiences and there is a fine balance imposed on the depth of these experiences. Our Phi-Phi Island day-trip with Phuket Adventures was perfectly orchestrated through a combination of excellent service, exquisite natural locations, fun, drama and heavenly intervention.

The day had been clear and sunny since 6:00am when I awoke with excitement about my Phi-Phi adventure. By 8:45, as I met with Phuket Adventures Director of Sales, Dave Chang, I appreciated the complimentary tea, coffee and juices offered in the reception area. Dave is a very personable and enthusiastic team member and his monthly excursions on the adventures help him to observe and improve his product as much as possible. During the conversation, I learned that the heart of the tourism trade has changed, thankfully, from mass-capacity tour-boats churning up the waters to smaller scale experiences that are more personal, by mode of speedboat. Dave explained that while "only one or two of these companies are still operating, large boats are not granted access into protected marine areas, forcing the market to adapt. Phuket Adventures is the Pioneer and Original" he said, quoting the company slogan with some pride, "We have been in operation for seven years, we invented this kind of day trip!" He then produced two A4 pages displaying 27 different reasons why Phuket Adventures is the market-leader.

At 9:00am it was time to board our 36ft speedboat powered by twin 200Hp engines. Sleek but spacious, the vessel easily accommodates groups up to twenty plus crew. As we cruised out of the Boat Lagoon, it was time for Khun Chai, our guide, to officially introduce himself and explain the day’s itinerary. Chai was an excellent tourguide and contributed a lot to the fun aspect of the day through his quick-witted jokes and anecdotes. He was very charismatic and confident but not brash. His knowledge of the areas was great and he spoke English, German and quite a bit of Russian. A graduate of Rajabhat Institute Phuket, he was very impressive indeed!

We sped across the mildly choppy Phuket Sea for just over an hour until reaching our first destination. What a way to start the day! Maya Bay is a site of immense natural splendor to which my words cannot do justice. The site gained international attention after the motion picture "The Beach" with heart-throb Leonardo di Caprio, was partially filmed here on location. Since, the emerald green waters, pure white sands and striking cliffs forming the bay have been photographed perhaps more times than Leonardo himself! I was disappointed to have only a brief stop here, the place is so extremely spectacular, I could easily have spent the whole day floating atop that crystal clear water. I soon understood why our early departure was necessary, as during the half-hour the stream of speedboats in and out of Maya Bay was non-stop. To avoid over-crowding in the National Park, tour companies try to rotate through the famous sites for the benefit of all their guests.

Back on board we journeyed around the Phi Phi Lei islands to Loh Samah, literally sparkling in local Yawi language, where we would spend the next hour snorkelling amongst curious, vividly coloured tropical fish. The coral reef has unfortunately seen better days; the coral is mostly brown except for some bright purple clusters but it supports a wealth of marine life that enchants snorkellers from all over the world. Meanwhile the crew were busily carving fruit and splashing cool drinks into tall cups for its hungry adventurers. Throughout the day, there was an abundance of fresh fruit and icy cold softdrinks available. I was also impressed with the offer of a fresh water rinse after the swims, as the high salt content of these tropical waters can get a bit crusty on the skin.

We cruised around to Phi Lei Cove, a tranquil niche across which lays the entire spectrum of blue. "Look at the colours! Wow! This is unbelievable!" were my dumbfounded comments, even though I am lucky enough to have lived and played in the Phuket waters for many years. The group was disappointed that the tide was too low for us to stop and explore the area submarine, but Chai assured us that we still had a lot to see and we were thus appeased.

We glided into Ton Sai Bay on Phi Phi Don, the largest and only developed area of the Phi Phi Islands, for a quick look around. In the six years since I last visited, the island has evolved into a true tourist hub, boasting a 7-Eleven, ATMs, numerous gift and souvenir shops and seemingly too many hotels. This side of the Islands seemed so distant from what we had seen just ten minutes before, but the stop served as a nice break from the sun and wind and offered the luxury of a five-star toilet at the Phi Phi Cabana Hotel. Much appreciated.

The walk along Ton Sai Bay lead through enticing aromas wafting from the many restaurants in the area. For us, it was approaching lunchtime, and the promise of an International buffet on a private beach saw everyone leaping back into the boat with perhaps a little too much resolve, leading to the drama of our day. Despite the frequent warnings imparted by the crew regarding the care one should take when stepping down into the deck of the boat, one unlucky young Russian woman lost her balance (as well as a little dignity, I’m sure) and came crashing down, twisting her ankle as she fell. The response from the crew was immediate and their interim treatment was effective. While we enjoyed a very satisfactory lunch buffet, Chai and the Captain administered first aid to a bitterly disappointed adventurer. The drama had everyone talking and I believe each guest felt equal proportions of sincere pity for her misfortune and relief that it wasn’t them!

After lunch had settled we gingerly crawled back onboard and jetted back toward Phuket for our final stop at Kai Nok Island. The tiny island itself is very aesthetic but the rows of umbrellas and deckchairs are not. Thankfully, there is enough space left on the sand to escape them and the waters around the island are inhabited by schools of inquisitive fish so snorkelling is encouraged. This was to be our longest stop, an hour and a half at leisure, but Mother Nature had other plans. A thick band of dense grey cloud was approaching with threatening speed and sound. The air before the storm seemed liquid, the sky was pink and I was silenced by the feats of nature I had witnessed today; towering cliffs encircling pristine lagoons, sand so white and fine it feels like powder between the toes, fish of every colour of the rainbow and now a moody sky defiant of our vocal wishes for it to turn blue again.

The storm imminent, we abandoned the beach in light rain and sped away from the squall dressed in the rain ponchos provided by Phuket Adventures. As comical as the scene was to my fellow adventurers and I, the fact that the ponchos where available and distributed so readily spoke volumes about the quality of professional service and facilities we had enjoyed all day.

 

 

 From Benjarong Magazine – March 2004, Volume 7 Issue 3

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Kinnaree Media Marketing
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This month features
 
 Thailand and Asia
 phuket travel info
 PHUKET HOTEL GUIDE
  USEFUL SECTIONS
Phuket Travel and Tours
  Tropical Living Magazine
  Koh Samui
  Phuket
  Bangkok
  Pattaya
  Krabi
  Recommend this site


Last Minute Hotels
HOT!


 
 

 Benjarong Magazine - October 2005, Volume 8 Issue 10

 

In Association with

Kinnaree Media Marketing
Tel: (66-76) 263737-8 Fax: (66-76) 224113
E-mail:
info@travel-phuket.com    Website: www.travel-phuket.com
Web design by Andaman Graphics Phuket