We were slow to get moving January 1st. It was our last day with Kate and Garrett, and their last day on Phi Phi, so we knew we wanted to make it to Maya Bay, where The Beach was filmed. Eventually we got going, just in time to get on a 2:00 boat.
The boat out to Maya Bay is another organized snorkeling tour but we were hoping to avoid some crowds by going late in the day on New Year’s Day. The first stop was Monkey Beach. This is actually just a small beach that has aggressive monkeys on it. Tourists in bathing suits unload out of their boats to take pictures with monkeys eating snacks. It’s a strange sight and Kara and I weren’t so into it. Kate and Garrett got less into it after Garrett was ruthlessly attacked and bitten by a monkey! He had to get 12 preventative rabies shots when he got home. Sorry Garrett! Stupid monkeys.
Next up was a drive-by past a cave. Not too impressive, but the Phi Phi Leh island was beautiful to ride around. We stopped for some snorkeling and it actually was pretty nice. We jumped off the two-story boat into warm clear water and swam around with the fish for about half an hour. There were so many fish it was like swimming in a fish tank. The coolest part was probably the silver school of fish darting around near the surface of the water.
Then it was time for the main event. The boat turned a corner into Maya Bay and shuttled us to shore. There were still a good amount of people around so we did the quick walk through the jungle to the opposite side, which was more or less just a viewpoint out to another rock island and the sea. By the time we got back though the beach had started to clear out. It was nice that we were some of the last people on the beach; we were able to enjoy it without the crowds and boats everywhere. It is a stunning beach. You wonder if it’s really worth the hype, and it’s pretty damn near perfect. As the sun was starting to go down there was a glowing light coming through the entrance to the bay that created a beautiful, peaceful scene. We got back to the boat before the sun went down and were served fried rice as we started to go back home. Once the sun set it was instantly rocky and colder, and we were happy we hadn’t waited too much longer.
We had a low key night, fitting after the night before, and just hung out at a chill bar, Sunflower, near our hotel playing scrabble and sipping on crazy big frozen mojitos. The next morning Kate and Garrett stopped by to say goodbye on their way out. It was so fun having friends around for a little bit. It’s incredible seeing friends again after so long, and in such remote places, and feeling like it hasn’t been all that long. It felt weird how not weird it felt to see them. It was a perfect time to join together too; an epic New Years party, some chill time in Tonsai and Phi Phi, and an afternoon of snorkeling and beautiful beaches.
Kara and I had one day left on Ko Phi Phi. It was probably one day more than we really needed there but we took advantage of a nothing day to just chill. We had a gorgeous view from our hotel’s infinity pool and spent most of our time there talking about her upcoming wedding (yayyy!) and my thoughts on the next few months. It was more of that sister time that I was so excited to get when she arrived and it was a perfect setting for it.
That evening we ventured to the other side of the island to check out a different beach and again found a nice happy hour spot. This time we were sitting on reclining cushions listening to reggae watching the fire performers practice. We hung out there for hours, through dinner, and eventually got coaxed into the fire show. Kara’s guy had barely had time to practice but he didn’t need it; clearly the pro, he spun a firey stick around Kara in double time. My guy had the poi balls and as he spun them in patterns around me he asked about my single status and if I would wait for him. I teased him about needed to trap girls in fire to hit on them and told him just don’t burn me and we can talk. It was a lively way to end our time on Ko Phi Phi.