Archives for category: – Snorkeling / Diving

If Koh Phi Phi is a gorgeous, late-night-partying supermodel, Koh Lanta is her cool, super-chill cousin, perhaps not as magazine-cover gorgeous but still quite pretty and charming to boot. Instead of dodging paparazzi and partying until 4am, she just wants to hang out, grab breakfast, and maybe check out some cool shops on the way to the beach. Koh Lanta, with its super-relaxed Thai-beach-town vibe, turned out to be the perfect spot to end our vacation. Read the rest of this entry »

After a couple of flights and a brief overnight at the very nice Phuket Backpacker Hostel, we boarded a boat for Koh Phi Phi, Thailand’s stunning tropical beauty in the Andaman Sea. Of course, the word about Phi Phi had long since gotten out. As we disembarked into the heat from the air conditioned deck, we joined throngs of people streaming down the pier and were immediately absorbed into a sea of backpacks, luggage, and Thai men hawking hotel rooms.

Tonsai Village, the heart of Koh Phi Phi Don (the main island) is a dense area of small shops, bars, and restaurants served by streets no wider than a city sidewalk. There’s not a car or scooter in sight. When the boats come in, they turn into rivers of tourists. It was all a little overwhelming, so the first thing we did was sit down and have a pizza.

With lunch finished and the crowds cleared, we felt fortified enough to look for a place to stay, so we slung on our backpacks, and headed out to see what we could find.
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Pulau Perhentian, as the islands are known in Malay, lie about 12 miles off of the east coast of Malaysia near the Thai border. Picture your favorite beach-themed screen saver. Where are those places? Well, the Perhentians wouldn’t be a bad guess. Scuba diving and chillaxing account for the largest part of the island’s GDP and that’s exactly why we were there. Backpackers mostly head for the small island, Pulau Perhentian Kecil (as did everyone on our boat). We took the road (strait?) less traveled to Deep Bay (Teluk Dalam) on Pulau Perhentian Besar, the big island’s quiet, southernmost beach.

The travel and diving season runs from April to October when the monsoons die down. We arrived in early April just as things got going. Here’s our take on this South China Sea gem. Read the rest of this entry »