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Thailand : Krabi's Jewels of Arabian - Phi Phi Islands

This was the third day of our trip and we had planned a tour to Krabi region to get into depths of nature. The region is a collection of islands separated by each other by the Arabian Sea in between. Because of its uniqueness and importance in the trip, I decided to give it due credit by dedicating a separate article in itself. On 13th of May, we left the bed early enough to be ready in time to allow a good breakfast before we were at the pick point. The tour operator was there to pick us up on time and we were driving towards the pier on another side of the island by about 8 AM. We were there at the boat launch station by about 9 and waiting for everyone to collect. The operator had made arrangements for tea and snacks as refreshments before we embarked on our roller coaster ride.

Krabi Province, which lies along the coast of the Andaman sea in Southern Thailand, is a top tourist destination as a result of its plentiful natural attractions including, white sandy beaches, crystal clear water, extensive coral reefs, numerous caves and waterfalls, and over 130 islands, including Koh Lanta and the jewels of the Andaman coast, the six islands of Mu Koh Phi Phi National Park. Out of these islands, Phi Phi has gained special importance owing to its location and development as a tourist site. It is because of the unique natural beauty which has earned them the title of “Jewels of Arabian Sea”. The day was going to offer us first-hand experience of these treasured destinations and we were excited for all that was to come on the tour.

As scheduled, there was a short briefing to introduce the tour, the points to be covered, protocols and rules for the boat. We were also given a crash course on snorkeling and the way to use all the equipment. This was also the time when they offered us to buy snorkeling accessories (additional consumables), waterproof pouches and fins. We rented fins for snorkeling and waterproof pouch for mobile – who would miss the opportunity to captures scenes from underwater. A forewarning for those who visit next is that fins are not a necessary item and they do not help prevent the injuries that the tour operator may show to create fear. The entire group was divided into four teams and were assigned to different boats. We boarded the boat – a smashing bright speedboat all ready to sway away from the shores. In nick of time, we got ourselves the front deck which was open air and provided a surround panoramic views of crystal clear water with islands in the backdrop.

We moved ahead in the earmarked section and settled down with our caps and sunscreens on to prevent of the blazing sun. The boat was stocked with enough cola and water, chilled over ice, to cater to everlasting thirst. As the boat launched and gathered momentum on rough seas, the adrenaline gushed through the nerves and thrill of the ride rose to its peak. We looked through the curving boundaries of the boat to enjoy the nature in its pure raw form seemingly wooing us towards itself. The speeding vessel left marine flora and land masses behind and finally slowed down after about an hour of swinging ups-and-turns near a famed piece of land – Money Beach. The apes playing around the trees and on the sands of the clean beach were a scene to look at. The monkeys live in the mountains and have figured out that where there are people there is likely to be food. The boat kept away from the shores to prevent any injuries that these monkeys have caused tourists in the past. 

Monkeys on The Beach
Post this, the boat sailed into deeper seas and anchored by a stopping point to wrangle itself in roped supports. The purpose of this stop was to offer a wonderful chance to delve into the marine life and enjoy the free movement of the water birds – fishes – in their natural environment. Yes, this was the snorkeling spot. We got into our gear – pushed fins, put on swimwear, adjusted the breathing support - and took the dive. The hour-long experience was a great adventure and we made the most of the opportunity. We swam with the fishes, observed the plantation deep undersea and spent time with nature and its creations. I am sure no one was ready to leave the waters when the guide blew his whistle to announce the time to board the boat.

It was time for lunch and the hunger worms were gradually making their voice heard. So rightly timed came the next stop – the lunch on an island. This was the title attraction of the tour – Phi Phi Don Island. The beach is beautiful with soft white sand, clear waters and a long view of calm seas. We were guided to one of the eating joints at the island which had a regular buffet – designed to cater to people comfortable with not-so-vegetarian food and with a good number of seafood items on the menu. We requested a vegetarian option and the staff brought some fried rice and fruits to our help. The food was mediocre at best but the location made all the difference. We enjoyed the filling treat and then moved to the boat for our next destination.

We rode through the maze of islands and land masses maneuvering in sometimes-narrow-waterways to reach the heaven on earth. What laid in front of us was nothing short of divine beauty wrapped in a calm, clean and serene setting. The white sand on the beach spread across the shore until the view allowed, the crystal clear waters provided a direct view of what lay beneath them and careful maintenance of the setting was evident from the fact that a tourist spot was so immaculate. We played in the water, rested on the sand and gazed at the wonder God has created so carefully. The long view of the bay with high land structures giving way to the giant sea was mesmerizing in its true sense. After absorbing the scenic beauty in front of us the captain sailed the boat towards the rough seas. 

Clear Waters Till The View Allows
After another 40-45 minutes of sea smashing ride, we arrived at the last spot of the day. This was the Khasi beach which was relatively touristy and rushy, probably because of the role it played for most tour operators. This was a place to relax and enjoy nature at your own pace. Most boats docked at this island to allow tourists time to refresh themselves in the lap of nature before heading back to their hotels. There are local touts who charge for chairs to sit on the beach. Our operator too meekly guided us to one of the chairs and only on stern confrontation yielded to arrange one for us. We were served freshly cut watermelons and pineapples right on the beach front and the chilled coke was still available to save us from the sun. We had a good one hour of sea gazing after which we proceeded to the snorkeling area towards the deeper side of the water. Another round of snorkeling was pleasurable but the tiredness of the body was calling us to head towards rest. After about an hour and a half’s stop, the guide asked us to move back to the boat. Once loaded, the boat headed straight to the shores where it picked us up in the morning. It was a bumpy 40-minute ride to the island of Phuket which was our home for the time being. We arrived at the shores at about 4 in the evening and were transferred to our hotels. By 5, we were saddled in our beds, recuperating our bodily strengths of another round of city exploration later in the evening.

It was really a day that would be with us for years to come and the memories picked up on this day-long tour are nothing short of precious treasures. The wonders of nature are seldom matched by any human creation and this trip was just another testimony of this fact. True it was exhausting, agree we were tired at the end of the day, but the fact is that this was because of our attempts at grasping and accumulating such vastness of beauty into such a compressed timeframe. Satiation from such a pristine setting would take lifelong of time or may be multiple lives itself. So, we were ending the day at such high note, fully content with the way the day was spent and slowly went into deep slumber reminiscing the cherished moments.

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