Thinking James Bond 007 this morning as we boarded our speedboat to the islands off Phuket. Phi Phi today. The Beach. Monkey Beach. Vikings Cave. But no time to do James Bond Island. Funny how some of these islands’ claim to fame is by way of the movies shot in their lovely shores. I’ve seen the movies. Enough to get me all excited. And thinking James Bond….. No ferries for old ladies. Let’s have the speedboat, no less!
Oh, the kids would have loved this. Maybe next time. How I wish we have speedboats hopping from island to island in El Nido or Coron. Quite an adventure. Outside of that, I can’t say I’m really overwhelmed. The beauty of our own islands compare very well with the likes of Phi Phi. And it is just as hot and humid too. If it were cooler, I’d choose these tropical islands anytime of day, or year, over the Greek islands off the Aegean Sea. Just make it a tad cooler. Enough to make it bearable, but warm enough to still swim in its warm waters. Or maybe I complain too much. I must be SPOILED 😉
We booked the tours via Asia Web. For 3,100 baht, you have the speedboat to island hop the whole day and a half-day tour of Phuket Island another day. The speedboat cruise includes lunch, unlimited drinks and fruits on the speedboat. You may choose to ride the ferry to see the same islands for far less (900 baht) but I’m telling you, the speedboat ride is an adventure by itself! Powered with 3 engines @225 hp for a combined power of 675 hp, we flew! In some of the islands, we were allowed to swim, snorkel, feed the fish ( I love this part best! ). In one spot, the current was so strong it was a struggle to swim back to the boat!
We saw the boat crew catch fish with their bare hands! It looked so easy as they grabbed the fish by the heads and threw them in a basket. We were kinda hoping that was lunch, but the tour operator had other ideas. Thai lunch was not bad, but it wasn’t spectacular. I wouldn’t trade our grilled seafood lunch in one of the El Nido islands. Neither was I overwhelmed with the sights. I prefer the beach, coves and seascapes of Palawan. But I’ve got to say the speedboats and the colorful traditional boats give the place tons of charm.
And it sure helped a great deal that Hollywood movies were filmed here. The Beach starring Leonardo di Carpio was quite a hit — which explains the thick crowd when we visited Maya Cove. Personally, I prefer the more quiet beach of Rang Yai Island. The sands pale in comparison with Boracay and El Nido, but it attracted a more sober crowd.
But you’ve got to hand it to them Thais. They sure know their tourism industry. The tour was conducted systematically, the guides were very well-trained, you never grow hungry throughout the cruise, and there’s the element of “surprise” and personalized service the way the tour was handled. In particular, we were all pleasantly surprised to find exotic fruits on the boat — sliced pineapples, rose apples (macopa), local oranges, bananas — and to be offered local Popsicles at the last leg while viewing photos taken by the tour photographer. Nice touch. Everything was well thought-out!
The marina looked very classy that one easily justifies the hefty price paid for this tour. Very charming. Very cleverly done. Indeed, it was so chichi in Koh Phi Phi! 😉