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Cruising Thailand’s Phi Phi Islands

Blue World Safari, Phi Phi Islands, Phuket, Thailand, Uncontained Life

Oh Phi Phi…where have you been all of my life?

Blue World Safari, Phi Phi Islands, Phuket, Thailand, Uncontained Life

After our month in the Philippines, Justin and I returned to Thailand to check out the island of Phuket (spending time both in Phuket Town on the island’s east coast, and in some of the west-side beach areas) before heading north to Norway. 

Much like island hopping in El Nido, Palawan, cruising Thailand’s Phi Phi islands when you’re visiting Phuket is practically a rite of passage: you’ll see the signs for tours on every street corner. But, as the poet wrote, “you get what you pay for” (or maybe that was just my mother). Take a quick browse through the interwebs and you’ll easily find tales of holiday-goers packed into speedboats like sardines, courting danger in ill-equipped boats sent out into storm weather, and generally having a miserable time in what ought to be paradise. Thanks, but no thanks!

Speed Boat, Phi Phi Islands, Phuket, Thailand, Uncontained Life

Enter Blue World Safaris–a snorkel and dive company which offers snorkel trips to Phi Phi in their large, comfortable catamaran-style boat.

Blue World Safari, Phi Phi Islands, Phuket, Thailand, Uncontained Life

Sandals, Blue World Safari, Phi Phi Islands, Phuket, Thailand, Uncontained Life

We chose the Blue World Safaris boat and its crew because in a sea of cut-rate competitors they offer a truly high-quality, all-inclusive experience. In addition to a smooth boat trip, the tours provide meals, drinks, snorkeling equipment, kayaks, and even an inflatable water slide (for the kids…and young at heart)!

Blue World Safari, Phi Phi Islands, Phuket, Thailand, Uncontained Life

With Blue World, we knew the boat’s safety features would be up to code, and we knew if the ocean was too rough (as it sometimes is during rainy season), the boat wouldn’t sail (which may not sound like a plus, but in fact you don’t want a tour company who prioritizes making a buck over your safety).  

Blue World Safari, Phi Phi Islands, Phuket, Thailand, Uncontained Life

While we could have gotten a van pick-up from Blue World Safaris, we opted instead to scooter to Chalong Bay ourselves to meet the boat. It was, (as most of our scooter-related decisions are) definitely the more fun choice. Coming from our hotel in Phuket Town, we followed the eastern coastline, checking out the less touristy side of the island, before arriving at the Chalong Bay pier.

Pier, Phuket, Thailand, Uncontained LifePier, Phuket, Thailand, Uncontained Life

Generally, you have to pay a small fee (5-10 baht–this includes your return trip) to ride a songthaew out to the end of the pier; but, as it happened, we arrived at the same time as Mike, Blue World’s manager, and were able to catch a ride in the back of his truck (don’t try this at home, kids).

Pier, Phuket, Thailand, Uncontained Life

Blue World Safari, Mike, Uncontained LifeWe climbed on-board the ship, where were treated to a morning snack of warm, delicious banana muffins and fresh fruit. We also donned our life jackets for the ride out of the Bay (after which, they were no longer required).

Muffins, Breakfast, Uncontained Life

Grapes, Apples, Watermelon, Fruit, Uncontained Life

Blue World Safari, Phi Phi Islands, Phuket, Thailand, Uncontained Life

Leaving the harbor, we were able to spot Phuket’s white jade “Big Buddha” which sits on the peak of mount Nagakerd. 

 Phi Phi Islands, Phuket, Thailand, Uncontained Life

Phi Phi Islands, Phuket, Thailand, Uncontained Life

Blue World Safari-123After cruising for 30 minutes, we stopped to look for dolphins. At first, it didn’t seem like we were going to have any luck but then, suddenly, there they were! We loved watching these beautiful creatures swim and play in front of the boat. At one point, I think we counted 15 dolphins. They would disappear under the surface of the water and a minute later, someone who yell, “dolphins, left side,” and everyone would turn their gaze (and lens) to get another glimpse.

Dolphins, Blue World Safari, Phi Phi Islands, Phuket, Thailand, Uncontained Life

Dolphin Underwater, Blue World Safari, Phi Phi Islands, Phuket, Thailand, Uncontained Life

Dolphin, Blue World Safari, Phi Phi Islands, Phuket, Thailand, Uncontained Life

Dolphins, Blue World Safari, Phi Phi Islands, Phuket, Thailand, Uncontained Life

After this initial walk on the wild side, the group was eager to start snorkeling, so the captain pointed our prow toward Phi Phi. It was, to say the least, a visually stimulating ride! If you ask nicely, Mike will point out his favorite diving spots.

Blue World Safari, Phi Phi Islands, Phuket, Thailand, Uncontained Life

Cliffs, Blue World Safari, Phi Phi Islands, Phuket, Thailand, Uncontained Life

Cliffs, Blue World Safari, Phi Phi Islands, Phuket, Thailand, Uncontained Life

Our first stop of the day was at Monkey Island. The Blue World ship anchored off-shore, away from the crowded beach, and we hit the water! 

Phi Phi Islands, Phuket, Thailand, Uncontained Life

If snorkeling in the water was not your cup of tea, Kayaks were available for those who wanted to paddle the teal waters.

Kayaks, Blue World Safari, Phi Phi Islands, Phuket, Thailand, Uncontained Life

…as was the totally awesome (no age limit) super slide.

Waterslide, Blue World Safari, Phi Phi Islands, Phuket, Thailand, Uncontained Life

And underwater…yeah, it was quite the view.

Fish, GoPro, Snorkeling, Blue World Safari, Phi Phi Islands, Phuket, Thailand, Uncontained Life

Fish, Snorkeling, GoPro, Blue World Safari, Phi Phi Islands, Phuket, Thailand, Uncontained Life

We had snorkeled pretty far from the catamaran so we were among the last get back on the boat for lunch. There was still plenty of delicious food left, however, and we enjoyed every bite before heading off to our next location, Koh Bida Nok, by way of the Viking Cave.

Lunchtime, Blue World Safari, Phi Phi Islands, Phuket, Thailand, Uncontained Life

Cliffs, Blue World Safari, Phi Phi Islands, Phuket, Thailand, Uncontained Life

Once again, the on-the-way scenery was breath-taking! The boat gets up-close and personal to the uniquely-shaped island cliffs.

Cliff, Blue World Safari, Phi Phi Islands, Phuket, Thailand, Uncontained Life

Cliff, Blue World Safari, Phi Phi Islands, Phuket, Thailand, Uncontained Life

Blue World Safari, Phi Phi Islands, Phuket, Thailand, Uncontained Life

As we passed the Viking Cave, Mike explained that this is where the bizarre culinary delicacy the “birds nest” is collected. (For the curious, the part of the nest that people eat isn’t the twigs and moss bit…nope…it’s the solidified bird saliva holding it all together. Yum?)

Caves, Blue World Safari, Phi Phi Islands, Phuket, Thailand, Uncontained Life

Blue World Safari, Phi Phi Islands, Phuket, Thailand, Uncontained LifeBlue World Safari, Phi Phi Islands, Phuket, Thailand, Uncontained Life

Upon arrival at Koh Bida Nok we discovered that the waves were too rough for snorkeling, so instead of getting in the water, we continued our cruise through the Cruise Loh Sama Channel, and toward another snorkel spot: Maya Bay. Again, we appreciate the crew’s concern for our safety.

Blue World Safari, Phi Phi Islands, Phuket, Thailand, Uncontained Life

Blue World Safari, Phi Phi Islands, Phuket, Thailand, Uncontained Life

Maya Bay is probably best known as the backdrop for the film, The Beach. Even though it was an island in the Philippines which actually inspired the book, when it came time to make the movie, the filmmakers decided to shoot here in Phi Phi. And it’s not difficult to see why…if you can see past the hundreds of tourists which now populate the shore of the “secret beach” on a daily basis. 

Blue World Safari, Phi Phi Islands, Phuket, Thailand, Uncontained Life

The truth is…it is a beach…with really good marketing. Rather than fight it out for a few feet of sand to call our own, the Blue World boat once again docked off-shore, allowing us to explore other, less crowded stretches of white sand as well as snorkel some more. 

Cliffs, Blue World Safari, Phi Phi Islands, Phuket, Thailand, Uncontained Life

Fish, Snorkeling, GoPro, Blue World Safari, Phi Phi Islands, Phuket, Thailand, Uncontained Life

Fish, Snorkeling, GoPro, Blue World Safari, Phi Phi Islands, Phuket, Thailand, Uncontained Life

Snorkeling, Secret Beach, Blue World Safari, Phi Phi Islands, Phuket, Thailand, Uncontained Life

After our stop at Maya Bay we headed back to Phuket tired but happy. The waves and wind had picked up so the trip back to shore was slightly more rough. In Australia, we had been in similar conditions on a single hull boat and this catamaran ride was much more smooth. Sailboat, Wake, Blue World Safari, Phi Phi Islands, Phuket, Thailand, Uncontained LifeSunshine? Snorkeling? Dolphins? Who can ask for anything more? 

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Phi Phi Islands,Phuket, Thailand, Uncontained Life

 


Thanks to Blue World Safaris for hosting us in Phuket. As always, all options are our own. 

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