Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Tale of Two Islands, Part 2: The Beach

Two friends and myself decided we should try the "Doctor Fish" treatment we had been hearing so much about. This can be described as putting your feet in a tank full of little fish who apparently are "trained" to eat the dead skin off of your feet and legs. It was one of the strangest feelings I have ever experienced. The three of us were laughing the entire time just because it tickled to such an extreme degree, especially when the fish decided to nibble in between your toes and at the bottoms of our feet. Here is a video to really spell it out to you what I am talking about:



As you can tell from the video, we were very very loud so the few people that were in the shop were all staring at us. But we could not help ourselves.

The fifteen minutes of being fed to the fish was over so we continued to wander around town. Now we were in search of getting a Thai massage, at 11:30 P.M. We eventually found a place that was still open and so my second massage of the vacation commenced. For the most part it went over in about the same manner as the first massage. The key difference, though, was that this massage included a little bit of banter. It was nothing beyond that, but it just made for a funny yet awkward moment as the three of us made strange conversation with the three masseuses.

It took an hour an half to run our errands between the Doctor Fish and the Thai massage, but it was finally time for us to hang on the beach for the remainder of the night. I made it back to the new place we were staying at later in the morning and rejoiced at being able to sleep in a half decent bed.

I woke up a few hours later and met some friends on the same beach we had been hanging out on both day and night. We laid out on the beach for a few hours before grabbing lunch then making ways to the pier. From the docks we met up with the rest of our group and took a long-tail boat out into the Andaman Sea to see the one and only, Maya Beach (in case you are wondering what a long-tail boat is, here is a picture to show you a few examples on Maya Beach). The sight of the movie "The Beach," starring Leonardo DiCaprio, is one of the main attractions in Koh Phi Phi because it was where the film was shot but also for its natural beauty.

Before heading to the island that Maya Beach is located on, Koh Phi Phi Leh, the boat stopped over on a little beach near where we were staying to check out some monkeys like this guy below. It was great to be able to get up close to the monkeys and see them interact with each other. However, one of the girls in our group ended up getting to close to the monkeys. What happened was two baby monkeys were playing with each other then ended up running into her and started "playing" with her legs. She then immediately ran away from the five or six monkeys that, from my vantage point, looked to have chased her a few yards across the beach. It was unfortunate to have happened to someone just trying to get a picture up close with the monkeys, yet so funny to watch since no one was hurt and they were just playing around. I myself, as well as the other fifteen or so tourists we were with, all took quite a few steps back from the monkeys after that.

Our group was assembled back onto the boat and off we were to Koh Phi Phi Leh! We pushed forward across the Andaman against the waves coming from yachts and ferries to finally reach a beautiful area on the side of the island. It was here that we got to snorkel for a bit. It was annoying at first, however, as the guy working our vessel went in very shallow waters where the sea urchins were to be found. So I said almost under my breath that the guy who we rented chalets from in Tioman Island said to watch out for them since they can get stuck in your skin and really hurt you. Immediately, a good majority of the fifteen people on the boat started freaking out. Eventually, we got deep enough in the water that everyone ended up snorkeling for a bit. I did think it was funny how I wasn't trying to scare everybody from the getting in the water, yet somehow that's exactly what I accomplished for a period of time. After snorkeling for thirty minutes, we moved on to check out other aesthetically appeasing parts of the island as well as get to snorkel two more times. I got to see some really cool stuff snorkeling like the some of the same tropical fish we saw in Tioman Island. I even swam to the bottom at one point and watched two angel fish eating some coral. It really is rewarding when creatures of the ocean don't notice you are there so you get to watch them go about their normal course of business.

Now it really was time to see Maya Beach. Our long-tail boat reached the entrance to Maya Bay as we hung a right, into the passage way between the giant limestone hills. There before us, stood an incredible sight of a white beach with magnificently colored waters all around. Besides the number of tourists that were to be found on the beach at this particular part of the day, it truly was paradise the way Leonardo DiCaprio described it in the film. To the right is the incredible view we had from the beach of the astoundingly tall hills that surrounded much of the island. We hung out in the refreshing waters of Maya Bay for a little over an hour before heading back to the Koh Phi Phi Don.

On the way back, we caught one of the most amazing sunsets, I and I'm sure most people on the boat, had ever witnessed. About halfway in between both Koh Phi Phi Leh and Koh Phi Phi Don, the driver of the boat turned off his engine and everyone on board just sat motionless without saying a word. Everyone stared off into the distance for a good five minutes to watch the sun accelerate out of our line of sight. It was a spectacular afternoon to have seen the infamous Maya Beach and then get to watch the sunset in open waters. The boat reached the point where we had started only four hours prior.

Our group then went off in all directions. It was time to get ready for another night on the town...

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