When we were planning for our honeymoon last year, we were thinking of a destination which we cannot travel to, that often. So in our case, Europe and Africa were kicked out. The choice was then between the Americas and Asia. As a calm island had become a relevant condition for our trip. My wife and I went finally for Asia, Southern-East Asia. Thailand and Singapore were in the end shortlisted.
The idea was to combine nature and city. So when Singapore was chosen, we have to drop Bangkok off. When we were looking for the best islands in Southern Thailand, Phi Phi Islands (Koh Phi Phi) could not be avoided, thanks to its fame. But before it, we discovered a misknown one, yet so wonderful, called Koh Yao Yai. It all began when we were browsing hotels on Booking dot com, one of the highest ranked ones was “Santhiya Koh Yao Yai Resort & Spa”. We understood later why…
The eco-luxury resort, designed by a passionate carpenter, comprises of teakwood pool villas and deluxe rooms that blend in perfectly with the natural surroundings and offers a rare, private stretch of beach frontage. Unrivaled guest facilities include a spectacular waterfall swimming pool, an indulgent spa offering a range of pampering treatments and a world class restaurant serving the absolute best in Thai and global cuisine. A perfect breath-taking eco-beauty.
The personal of the resort is too kind to you, that you feel sometimes ashamed, not to do the same to them. You can feel it since the welcoming drink, which they offer you upon your arrival. I’ve never seen such a kindness and a service anywhere in my life. The villas, on the other hand, are built so high in the mountain, that it’s almost impossible to walk to them. They give you a ride up and down with a beautiful Tuktuk, whenever you want.
We were exploring the neighborhood and discovering this Muslim island when we found a traditional local restaurant, built with wood and some stones and run by a simple native family. We tried it once, and then came the decision to always have dinner there. You just get the best Thai-food with fresh seafood with a very reasonable price. That’s when I fell in love and became officially addicted to the Thai-Cuisine.
Our last day was the saddest, as we were leaving this natural paradise situated in the West coast of the Island, with a charming view, especially during sunset. A service-tradition there, is that they take a photo of you on your last day and send it to you per email later with kind greetings…
Then we shifted to Phi Phi Islands. As we landed in Phuket, we were kind of obliged return to it, each time we need to go from an island to another. The islands are so connected with the publi ferries. As we put our first foot on the island, we got an unexpected cultural chock. After spending 5 days in a calm island, surrounded by kind native people coming from a humble village behind the hotel, who were doing their best and making sure that you stay on the clouds, we faced a crowded, over-active island, full of tourists from all over the world and celebrating every night with loud music on the beach. Beach-Party it’s called.
Koh Phi Phi turned out to be a night-island with restaurants everywhere and a crazy life, we didn’t know that before. Our hotel was a very normal one there, called “Sea Sky Resort”. It took us almost half an hour walking to find it, fortunately the personal met us at the harbor and carried our luggage, otherwise we would have never been able to find it. I can recommend this hotel only for courageous people, as you have to walk almost 15 minutes inside some kind of jungle and surrounded with all kinds of (harmless) insects and sometimes monkeys playing on the roof of your room at night. The advantage was that you get the best view in the island.
Three to four days in Koh Phi Phi are generally more than enough. The island is so small that there are no cars on it, you can walk around it within one day. But you can get never bored from it, thanks to a special dynamic atmosphere everywhere.
My advice for Thailand’s future travelers:
- Don’t let hotels pick you up from the airport (neither Phuket nor Krabi), use rather taxis (quite cheap) and public ferries to discover the maximum of the country and get in touch with local kind people, and to also save some money. Here are link1 and link2 to ferry schedules fro and tom Krabi and Phuket.
- Avoid taking an unregistred taxi if you are not well informed about the princing.
- Don’t limit yourself to the Resort’s restaurant, try external traditional restaurants. They are much cheaper and provide more delicious food with more choice and better service.
- Negotiate a lot with Tuktuk drivers on the islands, as they start offering a very expensive price.
- If you plan so visit Koh Yao Yai, make sure you discover the local village and try their traditional Thai-massage.
- If you plan to visit Koh Phi Phi, try to choose a hotel as far as possible from the beach, otherwise you will not be able to sleep at night because of loud music.
- In Koh Phi Phi, choose the half-a-day trip to the “Maya Bay” (where the film “The Beach” were made), it is enough. The whole-day trip is too much at such high season weather.
An article about the next destination, Singapore, will come soon. Stay tuned ;-)