To round out Dad’s trip to Thailand, we included an escape to the South, where breathtakingly beautiful islands dot the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea. On Friday night, Sean, Dad, and I went back to Don Muang Airport for our flight to Phuket. That took about one hour and 15 minutes, and a taxi driver was at the airport waiting for us with my name on a flyer. The staff at our hotel, the 99 Oldtown Boutique Guesthouse, were kind enough to send a taxi driver so we could avoid haggling with taxis at the airport.
The teak wood guesthouse was cute and charming and was exactly what we needed for our one night on Phuket. It was near a few restaurants in what appeared to be Chinatown. We found a good one to have dinner at and loved our food. Dad ordered his favorite, bung fai dang, and the three of us shared some other Thai-Chinese dishes. After a short walk around the block and a quick trip to the convenient store for snacks for the next day’s journey, we went back to the hotel to sleep.
It poured that night, which worried me because I knew we’d be on a ferry in the morning. I woke up to look outside around dawn only to discover that our hotel room had no windows! So I had to wait a little while to take in our neighborhood in daylight. About an hour later, we all got dressed and repacked, ate a bit of the free breakfast, and then met up with the same taxi driver, who drove us to Rassana Pier to catch the ferry to Koh Phi Phi.
Arriving early, we got great seats on the top of the ferry, where we had the best view. Though it was still sprinkling, we decided to wait it out, and this was totally worth it for the views of the Andaman Sea and all of its islands. Two hours later, we were at the main pier for Koh Phi Phi Don, the bigger of the two Phi Phi Islands, which lie basically straight east of Phuket.
We had to wait a few minutes for the long-tail boat from our resort to pick us up, so we very quickly chowed down on some pizza (Sean and Dad) and some tom kha (coconut soup for me). It was raining again, so under our umbrellas and rain gear we walked back out to the pier to meet our boat driver. He loaded us and our bags into the long-tail boat, along with a couple who were also going to our resort. The ride was about 15 minutes, which was enough time for the rain to stop. We arrived at the Tohko Beach Resort around noon, and officially began our 24 hours of total relaxation!
The Tohko Beach Resort was much more rustic than we had pictured. Their website really ought to suggest bringing a deck of cards and to brace oneself for the cold water! Luckily, we were in Thailand, so a cold shower is only devastating for the couple minutes you’re in it. It was hot enough outside to warm us up immediately afterward. Our rooms were actually huts on stilts that jutted out onto the beach. At high tide, the water just about came up to the stilts. In the middle of the night on Saturday we had a high tide, and I kept dreaming of liquids splashing everywhere.
The bathrooms were accessible in each of our huts by some treacherous stone steps. My only injury from the trip came from my slipping down them while trying to get back up to the bedroom!
The best part of the resort is definitely the proximity to the ocean. I love the ocean more than anything in the world, and I really enjoyed being able to walk out of my room, go down a couple steps, and then literally fall into the water. On Saturday afternoon, Sean and I rented a two-person kayak and went for a one-hour paddle while Dad read and chilled out on the beach. We had a great time checking out the neighboring beaches and resorts — which looked a lot like ours — and also seeing the hundreds of huge, spiky sea urchins just a few feet below us.
That night we ate at the only place we could eat — the resort’s restaurant. It rained while we ate, but it later stopped after a few thrilling games of 20 Questions! The full moon was out and bright as we walked back to our huts to sleep with the sound of the ocean right below us.
In the early morning, I woke up and laid in the hammock hanging from our little balcony. Soon I saw Dad get up and come out to sit on his porch too. We hung out on the beach all morning — Dad taking photos, Sean playing with the crabs, and I snorkeling. I wasn’t technically snorkeling, since I lacked flippers and a snorkel, but I had brought my swim goggles from home and I was able to see lots of gorgeous fish just a few feet away from the beach. The water was super warm and very shallow with lots of coral. Among the coral I saw striped fish, spotted fish, bright blue fish, rainbow fish, sea anemones, and a few sea cucumbers!
We got cleaned up, packed up, and then got ready for our journey back to Bangkok. While it takes quite some time to get to Koh Phi Phi, we all decided it was completely worth it, even for just 24 hours. It really is that beautiful, and I’m so excited that Dad got to see that part of Thailand.
Having my dad here meant so much to me. I loved every second of showing him around, and it made me happy that he enjoyed everything he saw, ate, and experienced. His trip here also gave me a new found appreciation for Thailand — the sights, sounds, tastes, as well as the people and their culture. (I can get pretty down on Thailand when all I see is my same Bangkok commute day in and day out!) We had an awesome week that we’ll both remember forever.