An early morning pick up and a drive to a pier, where a small speed boat was waiting and designated as my main mode of transportation for the day. As I boarded, I noticed dark clouds ahead and it started to rain. My heart sank until I heard the reassuring words from the guide, promising that the rain would stop approximately 10 minutes into the trip. Just as promised, the clouds cleared and it was pure sunshine and blue skies for the rest of the day. I had seen the pictures on the travel site and thought I knew what to expect. I soon realized, that pictures and actually seeing it first hand, was completely different. In most cases, pictures tend to look more glamous and the reality is typically mediocre. I’ve been to beaches all over the East and West Coast of the U.S. but those paled in comparison. Golden sands, palm trees and crystal clear waters became a real life instagram moment for me.
Thanks Phi Phi Islands is a group of islands nestled between Phuket and Krabi. The tourism industry boomed here after Goldeye 007 was filmed at the aptly named James Bond Island and The Beach starring Leonardo Dicaprio. By speed boat, it takes roughly 45 minutes to reach these islands. The first stop was at Koh Ph Phi Lei island with a longtail boat waiting upon arrival. The boat was intricately beautiful and a must have for that recognizable Thailand photo op. Jumping from the long tail boat boat into the warm waters felt like the best hug you could imagine recieving. The water was so clear, I could see my hands, legs, swimsuit, sand…and other swimmers, without any murkiness in sight.
The next stop was Maya Bay, home of where The Beach was filmed. Surrounded by jackfruit trees and soft sand that felt like velvet. The water was so blue, it looked like it touched the sky. I took in the beautiful greenery as the gentle waves were crashing around me. I had found paradise and I never wanted to leave.
Before I knew it, it was time for the next destination, a snorkeling spot. I had never been snorkeling before and I can’t swim well, not can I tread water. In fact, I’ve developed my own personalized version of the doggy paddle that had gotten me by all these years. How hard can snorkeling be, I thought to myself? I went down the ladder and quickly found out how deep the water was. I “swam” back to the surface, climbed right back up the ladder and sat down on the boat. The guide brought out life vests and I humbly took one, deciding to try again. This time, I panicked because I couldn’t control my breathing with the snorkeling tube and went back on the boat. I convinced myself to try again, slow and steady, my breathing was under control. I saw coral reef and some fish but it wasnt untill I spotted several sea urchin and panicked again. Prior to snorkeling, the guide had put out a warning to not get close to or touch these, as it would result in immediate hospitalization/ medical care. I was swimming just barely on the surface with the sharp at least 10-15 feet below me, nonetheless, I was convinced I would somehow sink underwater and accidentally touch one. You guessed it, I hastily made my way back up on the boat. I looked on from the railing and resigned myself to thinking that snorkeling just wasn’t for me. I attempted 3 times already and I was ready to throw in the towel. As I watched little fish swim from above, I recalled all the other times I had quit things and missed out. I pulled down my goggles, took a deep breath and decided to try just one more time. I came all this way… let me put aside my fear just this one time. My breathing was controlled, I assured myself I wasn’t going to sink and get stung and I began swimming (paddling.) I saw beautiful coral reef, fish that swam right next to me, so close that I could reach out and touch them if I had wanted to. The underwater world came alive with such bright colors and I even saw Dory and Nemo in real life! I was in awe of the beauty and I saw a glimmer of light from the corner of my eye. At first, I thought it was a ray of sunshine, with sparkling diamond hues, rich in gold and silver. I realized that behind me was a school of fish… hundreds, if not thousands of them! I felt like a mermaid as the found their way beneath me and couldn’t believe I was swimming above something I had only seen on the discovery channel. I was mesmerzed. I do not know if what I encountered was the norm but it truly felt like a magical experience. I don’t have pictures of this moment but it is forever etched in my memory as one of the most breathtaking and beautiful things I have ever seen. As the snorkleing trip came to end, I found myself wishing I had more time. I recalled how I was ready to give up earlier and how I would have missed out on this amazing moment. If my Thailand journey were to have ended right there, I would have accepted it, as nothing could have replaced this once in a lifetime, visual experience.
As one would have it, the sun, swimming and snorkeling will leave you feeling ravenous! The next stop was island for a delicious and neverending array buffet style lunch. After lunch, lounging and a quick swim, it was back on the boat to the final destination spot.
What’s s a good meal without a drink to top it off? Next stop was Koh Khai. This island was exuding with excitement the second you stepped off the boat and dug your heels into the sand. Bob Marley was playing in the backgoind of these adorable bar style huts with loungers overlooking the ocean. For as long as I can remembe , I have always wanted to drink a coconut on the beach. I made my dreams a reality this day! Big to me, yet so small to others but something can be said of the moment you actually realize that you are fulfilling something you have always wanted to do. I held my coconut, took a sip and the world was my happy place. The world was my oyster, my coconut! If you read my past blog posts about yelling in the ocean, this was where I had done it. I had yelled ”I’m in F$cking Thailand!” This will always stick with me because when you’ve only dreamed of something for so long and you’re finally doing it… it’s absolutely surreal. You have to yell, otherwise, you’re covinced that you’re only dreaming. Keep dreaming and turn your dreams into reality.
**This trip was booked under http://www.getyourguide.com and the tour name was Thai Adventure club. I highly recommend swim shoes, as some areas were rocky. Swim shoes are convenient for each island location and for getting on and off the boat. Sandals or flip flops can be washed away by the waves and not ideal for some of these locations.**
I appreciate that you took the time to read this!
“In a world full of pants, be a dress”