This is where they shot the movie "The Beach." Gorgeous white sand beach and turquoise water, exactly as advertised. I read "The Beach" while I traveled around Thailand, which I would recommend to anyone who likes travel narratives and dreams of dropping off the grid and finding adventure. It's a morality tale though... so don't expect a happy ending.
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Let the games begin!
Ah Kho Phi Phi, land of a thousand parties. As you pull up on your longtail boat, the sign out front reads 'Welcome to Ibizia.' The inaccurate continental reference alone should be enough to make you turn back and retreat to the comfort and safety of your island hut. But when traveling the world, it's important to take in local customs in order to truly know a place. Right? Right?! A little bit of liquid courage later, and you suddenly find yourself in the situation captured above. You are on a beach in southeast Asia, it's midnight, and you are wearing the same clothes now for a week. There is a crowd of people gathered around you, and suddenly you are thrust into the center of the circle, and the jump rope begins to swing. As you begin jumping, the pace quickens and then the rope is . . . Set. On. Fire. You continue to jump, the crowd is roaring, and the rope is going faster and faster and faster! You either get hit by the flaming rope, or flee safely out at the exact right moment so as to not ignite yourself and possibly perish. Hunger Games? Nope. Just another Tuesday night in Kho Phi Phi.
While staying at the Phi Phi Relax Resort (see my Oasis Lodging post for details on this 'off the grid' spot), I was fortunate enough to witness everyday life in paradise. As I was bobbing around in the Andaman Sea, trying to not destroy my non-waterproof camera, I saw just another day of deliveries in Kho Phi Phi, Thailand. I watched as a mini armada of longtail boats, cutting through the waves with nary a passenger aboard, eased up to shore, deposited their supplies, and set back out on the water for yet another run. No loading zone, no blinking lights, and no worries about being towed. Just another day in paradise.
We left Phuket for an overnight stay on Phi Phi Island. The trip involved a short boat tour with a local who took us snorkeling, cliff diving, and to see Maya beach (where the Beach was filmed!). The water was so clear, the sand was so fine, and the marine life was so diverse!