Tired, sweaty and caked with orangey dust, we beheld the island of Koh Phi Phi Don from above with the far-off silhouette of Koh Phi Phi Leh hovering in the hazy distance. Unwillingly, we found our way to the island’s peak; at its famed view point. What we were really hoping to see was Koh Phi Phi’s Long Beach, instead, the mountains called to us.
|LONG-TAIL BOATS DOCKED AT KOH PHI PHI|
We departed early from the Bayview Resort Phi Phi, me with surf shorts and C, with bikinis on. We even passed off the resort’s breakfast buffet, wanting to arrive early at Kho Phi Phi’s almost kilometer-long Long Beach to lounge along its sandy shore and swim about its aquamarine waters.
|PASSING THROUGH NUMEROUS RESORTS|
We were told the beach was just ten minutes away by foot from our resort, we would just have to traverse the hillside where a few more resorts are located. Easy enough.
|GOING UP, GOING DOWN|
And so we went, passing through a small cove, onto dirt-hewn steps, to a native-style resort, down a hill again and up again. We were panting as we neared the ten-minute mark and still, no sign of Koh Phi Phi’s Long Beach. We were about to push further when we saw a sign leading to the island’s View Point.
|TO THE VIEW POINT|
We’re quite familiar with the View Point, having seen several signs around town directing to it. Conferring for a minute, we debated if we should push towards Long Beach or check out the view point first before going back to our original destination. And since we were on top of a hill then, we thought the view deck wouldn’t be that much farther.
|ARE WE THERE YET?|
Following the sign, and the dirt path, when there were no signs in view, we walked. And walked. And walked. Turning curves and rounding bends, uphill and downhill we went. No viewpoint appeared in sight. We passed the island’s almost dry water reserve, set above a peak on one of the island’s hill, and still no freakin’ viewpoint.
A local passed us by, driving a motorcycle, his kid with him in school uniform. We asked. Just head straight, he says, about ten more minutes. But we’ve definitely heard that before.
|ARE WE THERE YET?|
Passing a group of long-tailed monkeys, the path snaked ever onwards. C was at the edge of her patience. And as we rounded another curve and was presented with another uphill dirtroad, she cracked. Son of a beach, she exclaimed under her breath, and trotted on ahead of me without saying another word.
Somehow, I still found humor with the debacle that we were on. I was laughing my ass off as I slowly followed her, conserving my energy, not wanting to cramp out here in the nothingness of Koh Phi Phi.
Finally, after more than an hour of walking, the gate to Koh Phi Phi’s View Point finally revealed itself. A couple of backpackers who probably went through the usual route was at the entrance, looking more frustrated than we were. Apparently, there is an entrance fee to the deck and they didn’t bring any cash with them.
|A STORE A THE TOP OF THE VIEW DECK|
We would’ve lent them some, having experienced first-hand the hike to this place, but we simply didn’t have enough. Tough. Cursing, they went back the way they came and we went ahead towards the metal stairs and up to the viewing deck.
|THE TWIN BAYS OF TON SAI AND LOH DALUM|
|IS THE VIEW WORTH THE CLIMB?|
|THE VIEWING DECK,|
|SECOND VIEWING DECK FOUND AT THE LOWER PART OF THE MAIN ONE|
And at last, Koh Phi Phi spread out before the horizon. The Laem Hin Beach on the left, separated by the sprawl of a town made for tourists who have watched DiCaprio’s The Beach, to the Loh Dalum Beach on the right. Everywhere else, craggy mountains set with lush vegetation.
|MY SLIPPERS, CAKED WITH DUST|
It was, uh, not really that breathtaking. It was just okay. The super cold Coke we brought from the lone store at the peak was more breathtaking. But still, it was one of the more memorable moments of our two-month trip. As the cliché goes, it is the indeed the journey and not the destination.
Now, we climb back down. Son of a long beach.
Koh Phi Phi View Point
Address: Phi Phi Island, Krabi, Thailand
Entrance Fee: THB30.00
GPS Coordinates Map: 7.746158, 98.778145