Our next stop was to Koh Phi Phi. We decided to skip the famous Full Moon Party on Koh Phangnan because it sounded like it would be tricky to find accommodation. It was worth it since Koh Phi Phi had celebrations of it's own and was much quieter than usual. To get there we had to take another night bus (they suck so much in Thailand! You have to sit upright, they always seem to be noisy and cramped) and then transfer to yet another bus and then a van and then wait THREE hours until we could catch our boat. Crappy. We were so tired and disgusting by the time we got there. The first thing we did was stop at a cafe to get something to eat. Immediately we noticed that the prices in this area of Thailand are through the roof! I was so thankful that it was the off season because they do lower things a bit. If it hadn't been I think it would have been a very short visit to Koh Phi Phi.
Anyway, while we were eating we starting chatting with a friendly German couple next to us. They gave us a lot of great tips and recommended the cheapest place to stay. It was still $10/night but much better than the places that were over twice as much! Why is this island so popular? Well, even though it was one of the places hit hardest by the tsunami, it is just gorgeous. It was the most beautiful island we traveled to. They are still fixing and rebuilding things but for the most part everything is back to normal.
One day we hiked up to the viewpoint and enjoyed the fantastic view. Another day we took a snorkelling trip, met some cute Koreans and visited Monkey Beach and Maya Beach (where the movie "The Beach" was filmed). Our evenings were spent relaxing on the beach and watching fire shows (and occasionally participating- Matt did fire limbo).
On the snorkeling trip, I couldn't believe how retarded most of the tourists were with the monkeys. I mean, sure, these monkeys are really used to people but they are still wild animals! We watched one moron chase a mother monkey with her baby (which caused all the monkeys to totally freak out), another moron allowed an aggressive monkey to climb up on her and then bite her! (the monkey was moving slowly enough that she could easily have avoided this) and another to let a monkey climb all over her and scratch the crap out of her leg. Anyone else care for some rabies? It was just ridiculous.
Maya Beach is really gorgeous but it's a bit tricky to get over to it. You have to crawl over sharp volcanic rocks and squeeze through a couple of tunnels to get there. Our tour guide kind of sucked and failed to mention that there wasn't any good snorkeling in that area (so we didn't need to lug our stuff over) and that we should take our cameras (which we didn't and it was so difficult getting over there so we didn't get to take any pictures of Maya Beach).
Otherwise we spent a lot of time enjoying the beautiful scenery and friendly people on Koh Phi Phi. It's a great place to party and has a great variety of restaurants. We befriended a British girl who lives and works on Koh Phi Phi. Actually, she married a Thai guy and they run a travel shop and a rock climbing shop. If you're ever on Koh Phi Phi we definitely recommend Spidermonkey Climbing and the lovely Naomi! Matt went climbing on our last day with this company and had a good time (even if it did kick his butt a bit- it was a difficult cliff and he hasn't climbed in awhile). We were sad to say good bye to Koh Phi Phi but we needed to get going so we could meet up with Steph one more time. To see all the pictures go over here!