See more photos here: https://www.flickr.com/gp/140043503@N03/J28B3k
My mother and I begrudgingly had to book a tour to see the famous Phi Phi Islands because it was substantially cheaper than taking a private boat. We decided to go with Barracudas Tour because it seemed to be the most popular company and our hotel recommend them. It costed 900 baht (which did not include the 400 baht park fee). Expensive! It seemed like a major tourist trap.
We were picked up half an hour late from our accommodation along with a few other people and later arrived at Ao Nang Beach to check-in. We were all provided with blue rubber bracelets which confirmed that we had paid. Afterwards, we were guided to our boat. It was a beautiful speed boat which held our tour group of 30 people and had three 250 horse power engines. It was by far the nicest boat I’ve been on in South East Asia. Luckily, my mom and I were keeners and sat at the very front which was great!
On our way to Bamboo Island, I caught a glimpse of Chicken Island! An island that actually resembles a chicken and can be visited on other tours. I giggled to myself as we drove past.
Bamboo Island was our first stop, and it was stunning. The white sand is powdery and water is very clear.
Next, we passed by a Viking Cave and Pileh Bay. Pileh Bay is a cute blue lagoon surrounded by limestone cliffs.
Afterwards we jetted to Maya Bay which is one of the most famous beaches in Thailand. It was featured in a scene in “The Beach” with Leonardo DiCaprio in 2000. Unfortunately, the beach was so crowded with boat traffic and people that it was not enjoyable. I think it really raises the question, of “What makes the perfect beach?” My mom and I also ventured to the other side to see a viewpoint of a lagoon which was pretty, but so overcrowded with people that I thought the wooden structure supporting us was going to fall.
Monkey Beach was quite an experience. It should be renamed “Watch Silly Tourists Get Attacked by Crab Eating Macaques”. Any tourist who brought a drink, food, or bag on shore was investigated by a mischievous macaque. The tourist would think it was cute or funny that the monkey would come so close but then would feel alarmed and scarred once several tried jumping on them. My mother and I stayed well away as I do not intend to get close to wild animals and I don’t have my rabies shot. Sadly, the park rangers sat just behind the beach apathetically. Additionally, the snorkeling was not the best.
We had a lovely buffet lunch on Phi Phi Don which had less development on it than I expected. The water was incredibly shallow and warm!
Our last stop was Lohsamah Bay for snorkeling. It is a very charming spot. Although, I did not appreciate the tour company feeding the fish bits of bread. That is not appropriate as it causes the fish to die.
Overall, our tour guides did a good job of letting everyone know the times they needed to be back on the boat and told us where would be going next. Even though I am not a fan of group tours, I did enjoy myself (most likely because I got a spot at the front of the boat).