Romance On A Remote Thai Isle.
Koh Phi Phi Don
Thailand has many beautiful treasures! Visiting Thailand for the first time can be overwhelming. There truly is so much to see. Between the big city vibe and wild “Hangover” nights of Bangkok, to the mountainous regions of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, to the southern provinces of Phuket and Krabi, it can be mind-boggling to plan. No matter where your Thai journeys may take you, it is enchanting to explore all of the different facets that these ancient lands have to offer. I kept thinking prior to this trip that visiting Thailand for my first time was going to leave me with more questions than answers. Now, after visiting, I was already thinking about going back a second time.
Day Trip To The Famous Maya Bay In the Phi Phi Islands.
The Krabi province, located on the southwestern coast is one of Thailand’s most traveled regions. Located about an hour by plane or almost 10 hours by car, it is distanced south of Bangkok. Almost a half a million people live in the province with the majority residing in the city with the same name, Krabi. With this said, there are also many quiet areas to escape from it all.
Private Pools at Phi Phi Island Village Resort.
In the middle of the Andaman Sea and close to the Strait of Malacca and part of the Krabi Province, are a string of islands called the Phi Phi Islands. I will let out my inner 5-year-old here and say that these are pronounced “Pee Pee”, not like “Fi Fi”! This is where my traveling companion, Ben and I were headed, albeit we were coming from the neighboring city of Phuket on an alternate route. The Andaman Sea surrounding the Phi Phi Islands boasts striking jade-colored waters, a result of the reflection from the limestone on which these islands are built. The Phi Phi Islands are breathtaking. Truly they are what screen savers are made of. Jagged sea stacks jutting upward from the ocean. Birds perched high, ostensibly stand guard as a natural lighthouse to guide our speedboat around the point of Koh Phi Phi Don. Koh Phi Phi Don is the largest and only island of the chain with permanent inhabitants. As we rounded the bend, the view opened up to a lovely bay that would ultimately be our final destination – The Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort.
Tranquility On Your Own Balcony .
The Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort with the thatched roofs atop its villas could be seen peeking back at us between large swaying coconut palms. Blended with the natural scenery, the Thai-style villas were a pleasure to gaze upon as they naturally blended with the landscape. This felt like a 5-star peaceful arrival of the Swiss Family Robinson. This is the type of resort that island dreams and caviar wishes are made of.
The current low tide of Loh Ba Gao Bay, which the Phi Phi Island Village Resort is adjacent to, was quite far out upon our arrival. Gazing longingly at the resort, I wondered how we were going to get to shore. It was then that I heard a roar of a hundred lawn mowers. Wow! This was a first for me, as a large tractor was trucking its way from the beach towards our boat. The friendly crew from our boat carefully loaded ourselves and our luggage onto this “sea” tractor. We were soon churning through the wet sand to get towards the sandy white beach. What an adventure!
Sip morning coffee in the shade.
After welcome drinks (garnished with a fresh flower) and getting the run down on how “life” at the Phi Phi Island Village would work, we were whisked away in a golf cart to our Deluxe Bungalow where we could unpack and unwind from the hour journey on the boat. Our Thai-style bungalow afforded us a marvelous view of the main pool and the beckoning sea.
Equipped with icy air conditioning, satellite TV, DVD player, umbrellas, and airy bathrobes, the Phi Phi Island Village Resort provides all of the comforts of home in a stunning setting on this isle paradise. Our bungalow was generously spaced, including a king bed and a separate day bed that could easily fit another person. The bathroom was chock-full of wonderful toiletries to make our stay more comfortable. The closet area had plenty of elbowroom to completely unpack our bags. The villa had a large balcony. Its lounge chairs were a treasured place to sit back and watch the ebb and flow of the tides. The Phi Phi Island Village Resort has 201 rooms ranging from Superior Bungalows to Hillside Villas that are bedecked with their own private pools. There is a sense of seclusion, but not isolation. Really, absolute perfect balanc
Luxurious Comforts Await In Traditional Thai Villas.
Although our bungalow was perfect for refuge, on the other hand, we had 70 acres of a coconut palm plantation to explore. With not one, but two different massive pools and the ocean parallel, cooling off in the water was an ever present option. There are no shortage of activities to take part in at the resort. Actually, there is a wonderful activities center that can assist with kayaking, diving. snorkeling, fishing, hiking, and even yoga! Ben and I were excited to explore everything that the resort and this atoll had to offer.
We were meeting up with a group of about 30 people for something very special . . . a Thai Island Wedding! One of my dearest friends (American) was about to marry her handsome (Australian) prince. The bride told us to meet at the pool with the “swim up bar’ so away we went to cannonball into the refreshing water and order ourselves delicious cocktails to get the island party going. Drinks and swimming in the pool with the tropical hillside behind and the turquoise ocean out front was a magnificent welcome. I kept having that, “I can’t believe I am here right now-pinch me!” feeling.
Modern 5 Star Accommodations In Every Room.
As the sun sunk beneath the horizon, the entire wedding group met for drinks and dinner in the main restaurant, The Api. It worked out well that the dinner was a buffet to make it easy for everyone who was here for the wedding to select their personal choices and also have plenty of space to socialize. After dinner is where things started to get really fun! We had heard about a local village within walking distance directly behind the resort. Hanging with the locals is something that Ben and I truly enjoy. So with a couple of new friends, Nadia and AJ, who were also attending the wedding, we meandered down the resort path onto the dirt road to find this local village. The village was tiny, but packed with small bars and restaurants. We selected a place called the Freedom Bar and we couldn’t have felt more free drinking ice cold Singha (Thai Beer) and Sang Som. Sang Som is a Thai Rum that the locals refer to as Thai Whiskey. The best part about the Freedom Bar is that it is run by a dude named Joe, and man . . . Joe loves music! The Freedom Bar might be the world’s best kept secret karaoke bar. Joe had microphones, bongos, guitars, tambourines, and a computer that was readily available to find the karaoke versions of our favorite tunes! Best part is that when Joe wasn’t helping patrons, he would join in on the revelry. As we mingled with the village locals, it was refreshing to learn that the resort offered employment to many of the villagers. As the Singha flowed, so did the lyrics until we became the last in the village and it was time to go.
Stroll Through the village behind the resort
The next morning, we wiped the sleep from our eyes and went back to the restaurant to get breakfast. The breakfast spread was more than decent. With a juice bar, tasty island coffee, fresh fruit, the buffet had all of the staples you need to get going for the day. After breakfast, we were to meet Nadia and AJ to procure a boat for a day trip around the Phi Phi Islands. Did I mention it was pouring rain? A bunch of the boats were canceling trips, but not our captain. Seeking adventure, we jumped on the boat and headed out to our ultimate stop, Maya Bay to retrace the steps of Leondardo DiCaprio in the thriller movie (and book), The Beach.
Mesmerizing sunset washes over Loh Ba Gao Bay.
Before our arrival at Maya Bay, we made a pit stop at an incredible horse-shoe shaped lagoon that was soaring with high limestone cliffs. We dove off the boat into crystal clear water. The rain was still pitter-pattering on the surface of the water as we enjoyed this beautiful moment. We swam for a solid 30-40 minutes before climbing back into the boat and moving on. Our captain determined we were brave souls and decided to give us the Ninja Warrior experience of getting to Maya Bay. Instead of dropping us off right on the bay, he brought us in on the backside. He told us in broken English to jump off the boat and swim into the choppy channel which was a result of the storm. We saw the next obstacle ahead, which was a 25 foot high Net Rope that we would need to climb and see where it would take us to. The four of us were strong swimmers so we were able to get to the net and billy goat our way up to the top, climb down a set of stairs, cross through an enclosed lagoon, through a jungle and bam . . . we made it to Maya Bay. Three sides of this bay have limestone cliffs lengthening skyward; the Bay itself is beautiful. We made it just in time to explore this beautiful area Thailand. It was shortly thereafter that about four boats of Chinese and Korean tourists disembarked on the bay. The scene quickly changed from isolated beach to tourist’s mecca. It was still worth the trek to get there. Advice: get there early to avoid the hordes of tourists.
Plenty of palms at the pool.
As I mentioned earlier, weddings are another perfect reason to select the Phi Phi Island Village Resort. You can do a Thai Wedding or a Western-style Wedding, you can do whatever type of wedding you want! At sunset, we made our way to the beach for the wedding. The wedding was spectacular! The resort had everything beautifully set up on the beach, nestled alongside the bay. The reception itself was held at the Beach House Grill, also part of the resort. The menu was diverse and tremendous. One of the highlight’s of this magnificent ceremony was watching fire dancers perform on the beach as part of the entertainment. It was so cool seeing them spin, twist and throw spears and ropes of fire around and around and in the air. A near perfect way to have sparks flying!! (pun intended)
Looking back at this trip, there were so many highlights between the excursions, the village, and of course the wedding. Having the Phi Phi Island Village Resort as our home base was ultimately the perfect island choice. This is one area of our Thai adventure that left me with all of the answers to my questions.
Phi Phi Island Beach Resort
Moo 8, Aonang, Muang, Krabi 81000
Phone: +66 (0) 75-628-900
– Feature Story by Michelle Schoser, photos by Michelle Schoser, Ben Davis ,and The Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort.