New Year, New Island Adventure
Finally, a holiday that Thailand and the US both celebrate, New Years! The Thai culture celebrates the New Year like the American culture celebrates Christmas, lots of gift giving and time off. My students gave me tons of gifts, mostly cookies which is not helping the diet, a purse, a portable charger (my favorite), and food. That reminds me, a funny but pretty awkward thing happened to me on the last day of school before vacation. My Thai co-teacher tried setting me up with her son. My teacher had so many gifts from all of our students that she had her son, Name, come in to pick them up for her. This is when I briefly met him, exchanged some broken sentences and that was that. When he came back, he didn't know how to ask me in English for my number so his mom, my co-teacher asked for him. As you can imagine, I got pretty awkward but attempted to give my number anyway because I honestly have such an issue with saying no in these types of situations plus I didn't want to be mean. So after trying to figure out the Line app for about five minutes (this is what they use for text messaging here, it's weird) I gave him my number and then he left. Meanwhile, my co-teacher was absolutely giddy at the idea of me and her son together. She continued to tell me how he thinks I'm beautiful and how we are the same age...dropping some not so not to subtle hints. This was flattering and all but I'm content with my life the way it is right now. After that, Name messaged me a few times but it fizzled out as he doesn't speak (or write) English very well and I was a drunk for the next five days. Anyway, like I said, the school gave us five days off to celebrate the New Year holiday- so as you probably could’ve guessed, we packed our bags and headed back to the place where the party never stops- the islands. Surprisingly, we struggled with the decision of flying north to Chiang Mai or south to Koh Phi Phi to ring in the New Year properly. All of our friends were headed north but at this point Abby, Jill and I had only had a small taste of island life and it was too sweet to ignore. So, we decided that Koh Phi Phi was a more appropriate fit to celebrate the New Year due to the sole fact that it’s a guaranteed BEACH party all weekend long. Not to worry though, we also decided that Chiang Mai needs more than five days to fit in all the adventures we have planned, so we will be stopping there post “teacha” life.
Getting to Koh Phi Phi took some effort; we flew down to Phuket and from there, took a two hour ferry to Koh Phi Phi. The flight was early, 6am, so that meant an even earlier wake up call. We woke at about 3:45am in order to catch our flight with ease (the last thing we wanted was another Krabi incident). We only hit a small snag this time, which was that Jill’s boarding ticket had my name printed on it. We were border line freaking out because we thought this meant she didn’t have a ticket. We waited in line and when we got to the counter we explained our issue and presented her passport. Within seconds it was fixed, no questions asked, amazing! Once we landed in Phuket, we had to take a van to the ferry. We arrived to the ferry about an hour early so we planted ourselves down in what we thought was a good spot on the roof- we thought, ya know, get some sun with a nice breeze and a view- well we ended up baking in the sun and sweating our asses off waiting for the ferry to depart. Jill then decided to the bathroom on the ferry and came back shocked (again, typically this is normal due to the consistently disgusting bathrooms here) but not from the uncleanliness of the bathrooms but because she walked in on someone ass down naked in one of the stalls. We thought this was funny and thought nothing more of it. Once it finally did depart, the breeze was amazing and the view continued to become more and more amazing. The not so amazing part of the ride was definitely the two drunken British guys disrupting the peace, who later starting hitting on us and then continued to sit with us for the remainder of the ride -___- I don’t know what it is about us, but Jill, Abby and I seem to have a track record of attracting the exact people we try to avoid here in Thailand. Anyway, long story short (kinda), the two guys were traveling for holiday and had arrived in Thailand about 30 hours before our encounter. They had not slept and had been drunk since the plane ride to Thailand-I know, obnoxious already. By the time they reached the ferry they had “lost their mate” somewhere on the ferry or somewhere outside the ferry or in the ferry building, no one was sure. Of course we (and everyone else on the ferry) only knew this due to their incessant and unnecessary shouting to one another. One of the guys, Liam, was a lot more worried about his lost mate, as he spent the whole hour before the departure looking on and off the boat for him while the other guy (I forget his name) didn’t look once. At first, I thought this was hilarious, but it got old quick. Their mate had still not turned up by the time the ferry departed for Koh Phi Phi, but at this point they we not turning back for him. Meanwhile, Jill, Abby and I had a slight inkling that their missing mate was the one passed out in the women’s bathroom downstairs. Probably about half way through the ride, Liam came over to us and started asking us if we had seen his mate. We told him no and he continued to talk to us. He eventually made himself comfortable and sat with us. He made small talk, he was actually a pretty funny guy once we got to know him but definitely just wayyyyyy too much for us to handle. After their third or fourth Chang run, I went to the bathroom forgetting about Jill’s run in with the missing mate. I ironically chose the same stall as Jill did (okay maybe it’s not that ironic #samesame) because I was greeted by that same big butt (definitely not a woman’s butt). So, I went upstairs thinking that if I told Liam his mate was passed out ass up in the woman’s bathroom he would have to leave us alone and deal with his unconscious friend. Wrong. Instead, he insisted one of us show him because he didn’t want to look like a creeper in the woman’s bathroom. Jill volunteered and showed him and when they returned, Liam had a pretty hilarious video to show us of his mate passed out half naked in the “lou.” As we approached the Koh Phi Phi pier, the ferry floated past some incredible limestone cliffs jutted out of the water- it was so beautiful I couldn’t believe that this was my life for a second. Anyways, back to reality and trying to lose the two drunks as we made our way downstairs to get off the ferry. Losing them was actually easier than we thought it was going to be. They decided they needed to wait for everyone to get off the ferry so that they could help their unconscious mate (we were beyond happy about that decision). They got our information and asked to meet up at some point- we agreed and off we went with no intention of seeing them later on or at any other point of our stay on Koh Phi Phi. Luckily we only saw them once after that and dodged an interaction (phew!).
When we arrived on the island, our hostel was only a six minute walk from the pier, which I have come to really appreciate since being here because most places we have visited require an hour van ride to your destination. We stayed at Coma Hostel & Lounge which overlooked the breathtaking blue water and limestone cliffs- I’m not kidding; it literally looked like a green screen or a picture on the screensaver of my computer, just so beautiful! We didn’t realize how small the island of Koh Phi Phi was until we explored it later that day. We discovered there were no cars and only limited motorbikes on the island. Instead they use boat taxis or walk. To walk from one side of the island to the other (which we did many times) only took about ten to fifteen minutes. This was a VERY refreshing feeling, not having to waste money on getting around and anywhere we wanted to explore on the island was completely accessible by foot. The side of the island we stayed on was considered the “quite” side. It wasn’t all that quite but it was definitely more quite than the “party side” or the opposite side of the island. I was actually very happy that we unknowingly chose the “quite” side because it was an easy walk back at the end of a night partying and it was a nice break from the constant party music playing on the “party side.” So the “party side” was a beach lined with beach bars, restaurants, and pools where the party and music never stopped. The quite side was filled with more restaurants, massage shops, and private boat tours. Everything in between sides was bars, clubs, restaurants, and shops. They layout of the island really complimented its small size, making it feel much bigger.
The owners of our hostel were super cool. Jason was from Texas (again a refreshing break from the language barrier here) and his wife, Glite, was Israeli but she spoke good English. They were very accommodating and friendly, always making sure we were comfortable and having as good of a time as possible (aka offering us free shots multiple times a day). On our second day, our hostel was offering a deal with a private snorkeling tour-we obviously jumped at this opportunity. The snorkeling blew my mind. The water was crystal clear we could see everything. We fed the fish crackers which they ate right from our hands and had no problem swimming all around us and I loved every second of it. There was some incredible rainbow fish that were definitely my favorite. The private tour took us to three different islands around Koh Phi Phi. We snorkeled at each island for about an hour, explored some beaches, and even swam in a cave. I think this was my favorite part of the trip, I just don’t think much could top how beautiful the limestone cliffs are with the crystal blue water. Later that night we went to the “party side” to party (obviously) and meet people. On our way over we grabbed a Mai Tai bucket for 150 Baht (or $4, sorry still can’t get over the cheapness that is Thailand). We arrived at the beach and were instantly immersed in our first beach rave and it was awesome! We met a lot of really nice people from all over the world- Australia, Sweden, Canada, Brazil, and the US. The next night was New Year’s Eve and the beach was twice as packed with people as the night before. I don’t really remember much from this night due to one too many buckets but I can tell you it blew every other New Year’s Eve celebration I’ve been to out of the water. The rest of our time in Koh Phi Phi was spent swimming, sunbathing, drinking, partying, and eating-pretty great New Year holiday if you ask me! Koh Phi Phi is by far my favorite island I have visited thus far and I would highly recommend it to anyone reading this because you will definitely not regret a single minute of your time there!