Asia Days 35,36,37
Starting our adventure through Thailand in Phuket couldn’t have prepared us any better for what lay ahead through the rest of this extravagantly weird and crazy country. Next up were the islands of Phi Phi- a notorious touristic party island popular with long-term backpackers and short-term holiday goers who amalgamate together through cheap booze, beach parties and fire-shows.
By day the beaches are a neat place to hang out and the limestone formations that speckle the sea are worth checking out for their coves and hidden beaches. By ritual, we would sit out all day by the beach sipping 50 Baht ($1.50) cocktails, eating Pad Thai and nursing our hangovers from the previous night.
It is of course sunset that brings the biggest draw to the island. At dusk the local stalls start setting out their 300 Baht ($8) buckets of vodka- which is masked in amphetamines and illegal red-bull. From here all hell breaks loose and after 2 of these buckets and you’re more or less sorted.
As the sun expires, the bars begin to draw in the crowds with fire-dancers. There’s always something entrancing about fire and when you’re buzzed through the roof with dodgy red-bull things hit a completely different level.
The crowds get bigger, the music gets louder, the paints come out and the rest is a haze- until sunrise.
Apart from the beaches there’s a couple of decent bars within the streets, beset from the sea; Obviously a place wouldn’t warrant the tag of a ‘party island’ without its own Irish Bar- which draws in a good crowd. The other popular hangout is the Reggae Muay Thai Bar- where you’re encouraged to get in the ring and have a go. Its a fight to the death, with a truly coveted prize- another juiced up bucket of alcohol! Happy days! We never made it into the ring- partially because we already more or less knocked-out from a few rounds of buckets, but mostly because we didn’t have the bottle to get beaten up by some little Thai fella.
One of the highlights was the booze cruise, which we were sold to by one of the many British 20 something year old bar-tenders. We managed to haggle the all-you-can drink, all-dayer, speed-boat cruise for about 2200 Baht ($65). As well as an all- day drinking session- which it fully lived up to- the tour also took us around the many limestone coves and formations, most notably to Maya- made famous as the filming location for the Beach with Leonardo Di Caprio.
We also spent time snorkeling, cliff jumping, mucking about with monkeys and playing on the beaches. But for the most part, our time was spent together drinking; be it on board as we drifted through the coves or on secluded beaches; It was an awesome trip and highly recommended.
As convoluted and touristic as this place is- and it is- its a hell of a lot of fun- and a place spent best with friends. Beaches, sun and buckets, done in a totally unadulterated, uncontrollable style.