Thailand and Hong Kong Trip Oct-Nov 2013: Phi Phi

In asking my friends about their trips to Thailand while planning for my own trip, a couple of my friends loved Phi Phi!  They either took a day trip or spent one night and wished they could have stayed longer, so I opted for three nights.  The southern part of the island is more of a backpackers party scene.  I knew that we were already going to stay in a more happening area in Phuket so I wanted a relaxing stay in Phi Phi.  The nicest (and also quietest) hotels are in the northern part of the island so I booked with the Holiday Inn Resort.  The consensus in TripAdvisor reviews was that the rooms weren’t the best, but it had the best stretch of beach (indeed!).  Other reasons for booking included being an IHG Rewards member and the rooms were priced much less than the other two major resorts in Lam Tong Beach.

I booked transportation through AirAsia, which took care of the flight, ground transportation to the pier, and ferry ride to the main pier in Phi Phi.  We paid more on the ferry to take us to Lam Tong Beach in northern part of the island where we were staying.  Luckily, the ferry was heading that way since we probably had to pay a lot more for a long boat to take us there!  It took about an hour to get from Phuket airport to the ferry pier and almost a three-hour ferry ride to Lam Tong Beach.

It was still early when we arrived so we hung out at the bar and had lunch at the beachfront restaurant.  Again, since I’m an IHG Rewards member, we were upgraded to the newer Coral beach studio #503 when I had booked the regular beachfront bungalow.

We had an outdoor shower (which I didn’t use because I was afraid of the bugs) and balcony that led to the beach.

The view was simply breathtaking!

By the time we got our room, it was midday so we rested, then roamed the grounds and swam at the beach.

We had the Thai dinner buffet with a cultural show.  We didn’t quite make the show because Justin felt all these mosquitoes biting him!  I didn’t have as many as he did since I had sprayed myself with repellant before dinner, but I still had plenty during our stay.

The next morning, we had breakfast buffet at the restaurant just outside our room.  It was up the stairs so we had a good view!  Toward the end of breakfast, my husband handled his business while I sipped on juice at the table.  I started to feel queezy so headed to the restroom and threw up.  I think it was the combination of the juice and hot sun rays against my skin.  Either way, we didn’t go back the that restaurant and I drank water, fresh coconut juice, or soda during the rest of our stay.

Then, Justin and I rented snorkeling gear (free) and went snorkeling at the beach.  There was a border we had to stay within but it was so large, we didn’t have any issues crossing it.  We cut our snorkeling excursion short when we saw a jellyfish.  I got too scared!  We decided to check out the infinity pool where we stayed for a good two hours or so.

I read about two nearby restaurants on TripAdvisor.  We checked out Chili and Pepper first since it was closer from our room.  When facing the beach from the resort, it’s on the right side.  If you keep walking past the resort grounds, there’s a sign at the bottom of rickety stairs.  Once you go up the stairs, there’s plenty of shade and a great view!

We ordered Shrimp Pad Thai and Chicken Curry.  The owner/cook was super sweet and the food was yummy and well-priced!  After lunch, we headed back to the hotel and checked out the game room.  I had never played ping pong before and I wanted to just be able to hit the ball consistently on the table.  With the the help of my husband, I was able to do hit the ball twenty three times!  We scheduled a massage for early evening so hung out in our room til then.  The massage was right by the beach.  We heard the waves crashing during our massages.  It was just so peaceful and relaxing.  It’s pricier than others you’ll get in Thailand, but who could resist?

We went back to our room when it started to rain pretty hard.  We thought about ordering room service, but the hard rain stopped by the time we got hungry.  I wanted to have the seafood BBQ for dinner, but the hotel didn’t offer it because of the rain.  We were, however, able to select from the a la carte menu from the beachfront restaurant or the buffet.  Since I didn’t know what I wanted from the menu, we opted for the buffet.  We also checked out the duet (a woman singing and a man singing while playing guitar or keyboard) performing at the bar.  It turns out they’re from The Philippines (which is where my parents are from)!  They sang oldies and Top 40 hits.

Our next morning was almost the same as the previous day: woke up, ate breakfast (we learned it complimentary), snorkeled at the beach, sunbathed, then headed back to the pool.  We went to Jasmin, another local restaurant on the opposite side of the resort, for lunch.

We ordered Chicken Pad Thai and Seafood Tom Kha.

The food was delicious!  I liked the Pad Thai here slightly better.  However, it was annoying how there were so many flies.  Being outdoors may have been a factor, but I’m pretty sure it’s because they place the bussed dishes right by the tables.  After lunch, we went back to the game room where I hit the ball a record of forty eight times!  It rained the longest during the day.  When the rain let up, we checked out the Sunset bar at the highest point in the resort (also where we were to evacuate in case of a tsunami):

The Sunset Bar is only open an hour or so before and until the sun sets.  I think all the cocktails were half off.  There were others there enjoying a cocktail while waiting to see the sun set.  Justin got bored so we went back to the main resort grounds before the sun went down.  I think we either hung out in our room or at the bar before we had dinner at the beachfront restaurant.  Since it rained again earlier (we are in a tropical area after all), they didn’t serve seafood BBQ again.  I ordered a lobster pizza and Justin ordered a burger.  It wasn’t in the dinner menu, but we asked anyway since it was in the lunch menu.  After we ordered, however, we saw someone else order a whole lobster so if you want something that isn’t in the menu, don’t be afraid to ask!  I thought it was very thoughtful that they also offered us mosquito repellant when we sat down.  After dinner, we went back to the bar to enjoy live music from the Filipino duet again before retiring to our rooms for our last night in Phi Phi.

Here’s our three-day Phi Phi itinerary summarized:
Day 1 –  Arrive in Phi Phi
Roam the grounds
Thai dinner buffet

Day 2 –  Beach, Pool, & Massage
Snorkeling on the beach
Infinity pool
Lunch at Chili and Pepper
Ping pong in the game room
Beachfront massage
Mong Thalay Bar for live music duet
Thai dinner buffet

Day 3 – Beach, Pool, & Sunset Bar
Breakfast buffet
Snorkeling on the beach
Infinity pool
Lunch at Jasmin
Ping pong in the game room
Sunset bar
Dinner at hotel’s beachfront restaurant
Mong Thalay Bar for live music duet

The summary above makes it seem like we did a lot, but we really didn’t!  Our routine was repetitive and we napped PLENTY!  Besides all the bugs biting us, it was truly paradise!  To see all photos from my trip, check out my Google+ album!

Enjoy Ginet

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