Well we are back from Ko Lipe and Ko Phi Phi, and I am suntanned, healthier and a few kilos slimmer thanks to several hours of snorkelling every day and lots of fresh seafood and fruit smoothies ! The weather at Ko Lipe for the first week or so was not the best as the wet season lingered on, with rain mostly at night and not much sun during the day but we still managed to have a good time. I did not manage to get a snorkelling trip to the outer islands because of the weather but did find a good new spot off Sunrise beach so that was OK. Did n’t see any new-to-me fish, but did find a very big Giant Moray Eel ..just after the battery in my camera died 😦
I was sad to see that my favourite beachfront bar had been demolished since my last visit about eight months ago, along with a couple of adjacent bars and low key bungalow resorts, with a concrete monstrosity starting to take their place. Such is progress….. Quite a few resorts have apparently been illegally built on National Park land, especially towards the Sunset Beach area, and had large signs saying so. Although still being allowed to operate for now, that may not be the case in the future. One of the good things about the current military government here is that they are cracking down on illegal land encroachment, many illegal mountain resorts up north have been demolished and in the last few days they have been paying attention to Ko Samet ( which believe it or not is a National Park !) and the illegal activities there, the newspaper reports stated that Ko Lipe/Ko Tarutao are also in their sights. Better late than never, IMHO.
The island was not very crowded as high season was still to come, some of the restaurants were still closed or getting ready to reopen after low season. It also meant the regular ferry was not running yet, despite what their website said ! As we had a combo ticket for the Nokair flight and ferry they ended up putting us on to a speedboat, something I usually try to avoid because they are noisy, cramped, and sometimes dangerous. Even as an average sized farang the leg space was several cms too short, glad I am not tall !
The ferry was still not running a week later so we had to catch another speedboat for the journey to Ko Phi Phi via Ko Lanta. This one had a lot more legroom but was still just as noisy. Luckily the weather was good and the sea calm for this trip. From memory the combo flight, minibus transfer and boat ticket to the island only cost about 1600 baht, but the speedboat to Ko Phi Phi ( 3.5 hour trip) was 2500 baht/person ! That seemed to be a standard fare for the journey from all the travel desks that I asked, the clincher was that this boat left from our beach so we did not have to traipse over the island to sunrise beach.
The check-in and loading was efficient, the boat crew seemed sensible, so I would recommend Bundhaya Speedboat ….if you have to catch any speedboat. I would still prefer the Tigerline ferry, much slower but more comfortable.
More to come when I have finished editing the Phi Phi photos !