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Virtual meanderings

Tag Archives: Phuket

All good things come at a price – a boat ride to remember

It was 8’15 AM. The final minutes of my stay on Koh Phi Phi were flying away. I was at the water-taxi stop at Long Beach – waiting for the water taxi to take me to the main pier. The passenger boat to Phuket would leave at 9, and next I’d take a return flight to Bangkok. I was leaving Thailand. Early next morning me and Kara, the American I’d met in Bangkok, were to leave for Cambodia (Angkor Wat, here we come).

Robert, the German guy with whom we’d shared the bungalow for the last 4 days was leaving for another Thai island later today, soon followed by the French couple – Charles and Adeline.

During the boat ride to the island four days ago the weather had been great, the ocean – smooth and the boat ride – a pleasure. But today it was very cloudy since early morning and rain was falling on and off.  Still, the waters at the Long Beach looked innocent. The first hint that it might not be so came at 8:30 when instead of the water-taxi, a Thai guy showed up on foot and told us to pick our stuff and follow him back to the next bay. His claim – the waters were too bad for the water taxi to dock at Long Beach. I’d heard the same story a couple of times already – especially when boat drivers did not feel like going to Long Beach to deliver just a passenger or two – so I did not pay much attention. Cursing silently that if they just kept wasting our time like that the Phuket boat could leave without us, we oblidged and duly followed. We walked the path up the old tree with the stairs carved into its roots – with our heavy bags and stuff.

Up the tree we went

Up the tree we went

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The long way to Long Beach, Koh Phi Phi

This post came out somewhat long, but it is the shortest I could make it without compromising on the fun of getting from Bangkok to my destination Long Beach on Koh Phi Phi island.

Round 1

    I got from Bangkok to Phuket flying AirAsia.com (a low-cost airline carrier operating in several South Asian countries). Essentially, this flight was my giving up on my intention to only travel by land after arriving in Asia. It only took me a week to change my mind on that one. Reason: the recent experience with taking the bus from Bangkok to Chiangmai and all the other minor traveling issues.. The airplane ticket cost under $100, and the journey would only take a couple of hours (with the airport wait). And taking a bus? 14 to 16 hours (not counting other possible problems).

Approaching Phuket

Approaching Phuket

How was my flying? Excellent. The airplanes were all new, the service – good, the prices – reasonable (especially if you buy at least a week in advance, an art that I never seem able to master). Booking online had been fast and easy – no broken English, no last-minute surprises, no additional expenses.
Round one:  me – 1, friendly tourist agents – 0.

Now there I was at Phuket Airport, with little clue how to get to neighboring island Koh Phi Phi’s Long Beach. I knew that I needed to get from the airport to the boat pier somehow, take a ferry to Koh Phi Phi from there, and – once at Koh Phi Phi – take a so-called water-taxi to the Long Beach area itself. Three separate rides meant at least three chances to get ripped off. Now, bear with me and you will learn how successful I was navigating my way through those treacherous waters. Read more of this post