By: Revanche

Thailand, Leg the Second

May 22, 2011

That second day was our transit to Ko Phi Phi, and I hate to say it didn’t make a great first impression on me. I’m not one for a high season touristy destinations in the first place and PP Island is nothing but a tourist destination. We’d originally agreed to go there because we wanted to spend some time on an island and didn’t have a particular preference while my friend did. It was gorgeous but now we know!

We also got there on a Sunday late afternoon, almost everyone was smoking, we were surrounded by “helpful” hawkers of rides and hotels and my immediate reaction was “Get me OUT of here.” Being hot, tired, hungry, claustrophobic and choking on smoke tends to do that. So we got, and ended up trekking to the back of beyond to the other bay and found ourselves in a hilariously dank, horrid, hole in the side of the mountain room for the night for 1000 Baht. We immediately started planning our escape for the next morning.

My friends were due in the next afternoon so we were out of that room like a shot, after taking a few photos of PP Good View’s crap rooms: my good friend Millipede that hung out on the wall half the night with me so that I stayed awake watching him starting at 4 am, the cracked, stained, holey office ceiling tiles, the neon green bed skirts, the nauseating salmon pink walls, the other creepy crawlers that came in the middle of the night. We missed photographing the towels that served as our blankets, but there will always be the lovely sliding glass doors that couldn’t lock from the inside but COULD be padlocked from the outside. Readers, friends, compatriots, don’t ever stay at PP Good View. I don’t care how frugally you wish to travel, it’s a death trap.

Ahoy Boat! (Us, getting out)

You bet your belly buttons we picked a much nicer hotel after that (like it was hard to improve on that, a benefit of staying in a dungeon) and bedanished to my dear friend’s requested per night budget of $15/night. Yes, I was (over)reacting a little but PP Good View was what you got for that much, or you could stay in town at the dorm rooms for half again that price but “in town” = in the heart of the partying and I’m just too old for that.

Out of respect for my friend’s budget, the fact that she’s been on the road for months and doesn’t have income, though, I was up front with her as soon as she was off the ferry about the fact that the hotel was twice the rate she’d asked me to find and verified that we could a) try again to find another place closer to her budget or b) the three of us were willing to chip in and make up part of the difference if it was too much of a hardship.

I felt like that was fair to all parties. PiC had oked the offer and our other friend agreed that she would much rather stay at a nicer place and pay more to cover a share for budget traveler friend than go too bare bones for health reasons. Friend 1 waited until she got in to pass judgment but being upfront about the money and having options removed any tension from the situation. All were happy with it in the end and paid in full without any reservations.

Our stay at the Paradise Pearl was more expensive than I preferred, but we did get the rate without breakfast buffet included. They would have tacked on an extra 1000 baht per room if you booked online, which works out to approximately $35/day/room, but booking in person they offered me the non-buffet included price and called it a “discount”. That’s not a discount, it’s just the removal of a double-the-price buffet – they charged 250 baht per person if you just paid separately for the buffet. I couldn’t get them to give me a real discount for a week-long stay, but not being forced into an upsell was better than nothing. The rooms were quite comfortable with water, coffee, tea, towels, real linens, and you could pay for internet (so I was only online for a few minutes for the entire week!).

You couldn’t get away from the cursed mosquitos, inside or out, wherever you were. Housekeeping left the front and side doors wide open to invite all the wildlife in. There weren’t mosquito nets and we’d totally forgotten to bring citronella candles/lamps or mosquito coils. I was about to start hunting geckos to keep in our room in hopes they’d eat more of the dratted things! Our dinners were open air affairs too, sitting by the beach nearly every night with the sea spray under the trees, and we were both diners and dinners. Ahh yes, the wonders of the tropics! 😉 I laugh now but we were pretty grumpy about taking on likenesses of smallpox victims. Not exactly a bad tradeoff for these views, and waters, though:

Speaking of island wildlife, the cicadas and cats were unbelievable. You couldn’t hear the ocean for the din of the cicadas. They were deafeningly loud, like construction going on just overhead in the canopies in some areas. It soon became part of the aural landscape but I liked that, at first, it was a bit humbling to be so surrounded by nature as we so rarely are in our walls, concrete and manmade material cities.

You couldn’t go anywhere in the island without tripping over a cat and they were not shy about inviting themselves into the empty seats at your tables. Some especially audacious specimens invited themselves onto knees, and once right into my lap! I don’t share my expensive, very delicious, crab, so kitty was unceremoniously dumped off. (Bitter kitty went on to destroy a cicada so I felt a little guilty…)

Not one of the more forward ones, just a cute momma and her baby

The hours trickled by slowly, as we trekked from hotel to town, to the viewpoint, through the woods and along the coves, boating around some of the islands and bobbed about in the almost unnaturally clear waters. Our days, though, as ever, just melted away. I wore my wristwatch during most of the trip but didn’t bother to figure the time difference. The latter mainly because I had been too lazy to ask the difference in the first place, and then to do the math. I acquired an odd distaste for time differences so I wouldn’t bother.

6 Responses to “Thailand, Leg the Second”

  1. Would love to see a pic of the hotel!
    And if only we could get hotel prices like that out here.

  2. What is the name of the 2nd island? And the hotel total was $35/nt? I also found it a little bit worth it to splurge, because all in all, you could get something really quite nice for relatively cheap. Dirt cheap was also… dirty.

    Bugs! I hate bugs. So glad I live in Socal. 🙂 That second picture is gorgeous. Yay thialand!

  3. Wow! The water looks beautiful! I want to go back! 🙂

    When I was in Thailand (about 4 years ago), I was a broke exchange student, and we ended up staying in a really dirt cheap (and dirty) place.

    I think we paid $5/night, and I remember my shower with a cockroach all too well… *shudders*

  4. Serendipity says:

    I love those views! And, this is totally off subject, but I can’t believe they let those cats roam freely. I think I like that. 🙂

  5. Shelley says:

    The sound of cicadas is a big part of my childhood memories. They got pretty loud in the summertime in Oklahoma City. That was during the day, then the crickets took over at night. I shall have to remember to listen for them next time I’m there. All we hear here in the NE of England are seagulls and pidgeons.

    Stray cats in foreign places creep me out a bit. I’m always thinking fleas and rabies…not to mention plague. I avoid stray animals abroad.

  6. Revanche says:

    @stacking pennies: The second hotel was Paradise Pearl. Igh. Buuugz.

    My friend was staying in places for A DOLLAR a night. Imagine that.

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