Maya Bay, Phe Phe Don and Lee, Thailand
Our trip north from Telaga Harbour in Langkawi was an uneventful motor and motor sail. We first traveled to Ko Lipe, Thailand and had a nice anchorage on the north side of the island. Our trip north from there took us to Ko Rok Nok where we picked up a mooring and were approached by some officials looking for money for the national park. They explained they were park rangers and there was a charge of 400 Batts the stay overnight. We declined, as we weren't able to get Batts before leaving Malaysia, we were penniless. Once we explained we didn't have any money the rangers just looked at us and gave up. We spent the night and left at 0500 the following morning in the dark no less. We were on our way to Ko Phi Phi. Ron does a great job of keeping all the island group names right. Me, on the other hand, can't keep anything straight. The island names just become a jumbled mess.
We arrived at noon at Maya Bay and it was sensational! The beauty of the island was spectacular and the activity was beyond belief! Since it was mid-day the tourist trade was in full swing. We entered the bay and were besieged with traffic swimmers divers, tour boats, dive boats and wakes. We proceeded slowly but had to maneuver between the numerous moorings to select one, which we did. There was a beach that was a mob scene with tourists bodies obstructing a view of the sand. It was like Coney Island on the 4th of July! Dive boats had groups of divers. Maybe 5 or 6 groups in the water at a time. Longtails (which are shrimp fishing boat with a long shaft with a propeller on the end of the shaft. The large propellers were churning the water all around. See picture in gallery of longtails. We saw maybe 30 to 40 speed boats anchored next to the shore each with maybe 10 to 15 passengers (on shore). The tourist trade on Phuket Island is big business. We had no idea of the number of tourists that come to Thailand and most are either from Europe, New Zealand, Australia and of course China.
The whole bay was surrounded by limestone cliffs that were probably about 300 to 500 feet straight up. There were some small bays and coves where small parties were swimming and diving.
We got in the dinghy and explored the bay with our camera in action and were able to capture some of the pandemonium. By about 6 pm all of the tourists cleared out leaving just us and another cruiser for the night. Subsequently, a few other cruisers showed up including some friends so we had a nice reunion.
There was a well known large hong (cave opening into a cavity created by erosion. Tides are important because we didn't want to get stuck inside waiting for the tide change) on the east side (exposed side) of the island we hoped to explore early before everyone showed up but the waves were too big and our outboard kept on quitting on us so we limped back to the mothe-rship.
Next we sailed to Phi Phi Don, just north of where we were and explored the hotel scene with our friends. It too was overcrowded, loud and unpleasant except for it’s newness for us.
Tomorrow off to Ao Chalong to clear into Thailand officially!
PS: We went to Pennang, Malaysia to apply for a Thailand visa, before arriving, which allows us to stay for ninety days. We left our passports and returned the following day to get our visa and were 150 ringgits each lighter.
From the Crew of Always Saturday