After a few days in Phuket, I hopped aboard a two-hour ferry to the beautiful limestone-cliffed island of Phi Phi (yes, pronounced pee-pee).
This area is also just now bouncing back from the 2004 Tsunami that destroyed nearly every standing structure on this island. It’s actually quite beautiful here once you get past all the tourists and ramshackle shops blocking the view. Here jagged cliffs plunge dramatically into the crystal blue waters of the Andaman Sea.
The curving bays of white sand beaches are just about the epitome of the ‘perfect beach.’ This, of course, was confirmed by the movie, The Beach, which was filmed here.
I took a one day boat tour that took me and about thirty other passengers to Phi Phi Ley, the island right next door. Here was the famous Maya Beach where Leonardo DiCaprio bore his fine chest in the film (based on Alex Garland’s novel of the same name) and cemented Phi Phi’s road to over tourism.
So, as a result the beach wasn’t secretive and deserted like it was in the movie. Today dozens of boats stopped here so snap happy tourists could have a ‘look see’ and take some photos. It was still a gorgeous cliff-rimmed cove, but the tiny beach was just too crowded.
We snorkeled around Maya Bay and several other sights around these islands. I have to say that I saw more sea life here than I did at the Great Barrier Reef off of Australia. The waters here are crystal clear and teeming with all kinds of tropical fish, sea cucumbers, coral, sharks, and sea urchins.
We also got to kayak around the bay and stop off at a little cove they call “Monkey Beach.” Why? Crazily enough there are monkeys here!
Doing all their monkey things—stealing people’s water bottles, eating bananas (yup), and yes, even having hot monkey-sex right in front of the gawking, voyeuristic tourists. It was a quick but good show. It was like the “Red Light District” of Monkey-town. I think the monkeys like to be watched. Maybe they were hoping for a tip. They may not “see, hear, or speak evil” but the little buggers certainly do some evil.