We were up early and devoured the scrumptious breakfast buffet at Sofitel. While the island tours do offer a pick up from your hotel, we had chosen to drive down on our own to manage forty minutes of extra sleep.
Getting to the destination just in time, we hopped on to a shuttle that took us to the speedboat. The shuttle was the typical pimped up Thai van, which would obviously be used everyday primarily to ferry the criminal warlords or their consignments. And tourists: when it was idling for lack of its primary job. Pardon me, but I have a biased perception on vans: I grew up in a place where Omnis (Maruti vans as they were fondly called) were used mostly by kidnappers. It was quite a usual sight: a white Maruti van stopping next to a businessman or a businessman’s kid, gun toting gentlemen with their faces masked with handkerchiefs stepping out, grabbing the businessman/businessman’s kid, loading them in the van and driving away.
So sitting in this particular shiny silver Toyota Hiace van with 18 speakers, two screens with very dark windows was not a very comfortable affair for me. The chauffeur was clad in an orange shirt, green goggles and his associate was a ten year old kid in a similar attire whose head stuck out for most of the drive. I wonder if the little kid too had a gun. The environment was perfect to play the background track from Amitabh Bachchan’s Thai kidnapping flick:
Mamma told me..
Don’t be talkin’ to a stranger..
Don’t be talkin’ to a stranger..
Stranger is danger..
As we started the boat ride, the beautiful sea floored us. The beauty of the place was just beginning to reveal itself as the ‘karst’ rock formations in the sea grew more; and more magnificent. We reached the bamboo island in around forty minutes. The beach is wonderful here. The water is crystal blue and the sand is as fine as it can be. However, the wretched sun was burning us and reminiscing the pool back at the hotel we chose to limit our swimming time. We then set off for a snorkeling session and this was a lot of fun. As I mentioned, the water is wonderful. The fauna is beautiful and we did get to touch a few. We sailed on and covered the monkey island, some other over-hyped island and finally got to the Ph
i-Phi island. The tour operator had arranged for a buffet and by three in the afternoon, we were headed back. Sleep took its toll and most of the return journey was blank for both of us. I would not bother you with words when I describe Phi-Phi island as I believe that pictures can do good justice to the description.
Once on the shore, we had trouble communicating to the tour operator to arrange for a shuttle to the car park. The heat, the long wait and an approaching truck pushed us to the other side of the road where we hailed the truck and convinced the driver to give us a lift. After things were set, the fact that we are on a honeymoon confronted me. Sitting in a truck cabin on your honeymoon is certainly not on the top of ‘to-do things on your honeymoon’ list for most Indians. I checked Sona’s face. Sona directed a look in which excitement, surprise and reproof were so nicely blended that it was hard to say which one predominated. Upon further probing, I concluded that she was going to enjoy this and we leapt into the truck next to the driver.
We did get to the parking where we fetched our car (gaddi as they say in Pujabi) and headed to the pool of Sofitel. We did stop at a roadside place for a meal and I have to say- such eateries are not to be missed if you want to get the real flavor of the land. Moreover, even with a poor currency, you feel rich in the little eateries of this pretty nation.
At dinnertime, we were greeted by a beautiful thundershower and we spent the evening running from the rain- hopping through restaurants and pubs in Ao-Nang.