We awoke desperately early in the morning, having retrieved all of the possessions which seemed to have escaped into various nooks and crannies around the room throughout the duration of our stay and crammed our cases full. I stumbled around, still saturated with the whiskey from the Sunrise Farewell the night before, which I later discovered, to my horror, that it was 80% alcohol content. This explained a lot.
After an eternity of sitting on the hard, bottom-numbing roadside curb, surrounded by luggage, the minibus finally arrived half an hour later due to a mix up with the street names, and we were driven to the harbour, once again
One hour and twenty minutes afterwards, semi-frozen and shivering from the glacial onboard air-conditioning, we gratefully welcomed the thawing heat and lugged our luggage up the boarding plank and onto the pier. Phi Phi Don greeted us, the larger of two islands within the Phi Phi archipelago. However, the journey had not ended yet; Phi Phi has no proper roads, with pockets of cleared areas separated by dense forest. Unless we were struck by an irrational desire to either swim or turn our cases into rafts and use Nick’s scuba fins as paddles, the only way to reach our hotel resort was to book a long-tailed boat, which would take us around the island. Not feeling particularly up to more rowing, and agreeing that a boat was probably the most sensible option, we were soon on the way, zipping past constant beaches, decaying wooden huts and other distant islands.
The small boat docked as close as possible to the island before a large, odd amphibious car-boat with caterpillar tracks came tearing through the shallow water and expected us to leap aboard. We obliged, and before you could say something that would take approximately 5 minutes to say, we were dismounting the boat-car-caterpillar on a sandy, white beach.
A smiling Thai lady greeted and smiled politely and bowed, showing us to a covered but open-aired reception area. Nick and I collapsed into chairs, groaning and sighing with relief. We had noticed it immediately: the silence. There was no noise or commotion, besides other visitors conversing quietly, the sea gently lapping the beach, and the songs of distant birds. Things couldn’t get any better, we agreed, before being immediately proven wrong by the lady appearing, bearing a pair of ice-cold coconut drinks.
The reception area
Some scribbling and signing official forms later, a gentleman heaved our luggage into a rickshaw and led us down a few winding paths, passing lofty coconut trees, green shrubs and numerous wooden huts on stilts.
Down the winding path...
Upon arriving at a specific hut, clearly our room, the man showed us around the jaw-droppingly beautiful, painstakingly prepared room, which was to be our home for the next six days. There were flowers everywhere: laid on the beds, thrown on the floor, in the toilet… (Which I forgot about until after flushing, watching in panic as it zoomed down the loo.)
The Toilet Flower, pre-flushing
In Patong, we had been forced to use our own umbrellas during rain, buy water and, worst of all, purchase our own toilet paper. Compared to Patong, this was heaven. Heaven came disguised as a pair of large umbrellas resting outdoors, four bottles of complimentary water sat on a shelf, and papier toilette, no fewer than two rolls of glorious, wonderful toilet paper, lovingly folded into intricate patterns.
Satisfied and at last at peace, giddy with relief, Nick and I set off to explore the rest of