This post is going to be part love letter, part rave, so be prepared.
As soon as we decided we were going to be going to Thailand on our way to Australia, I started getting excited for Phi Phi. I’ve seen so many pictures of it, I had a friend visit the island a few months ago and she totally loved it, and let’s be honest, if it’s good enough for Leo, it’s good enough for me (in case you don’t know, the movie The Beach was shot here).
So there we were a few months later, on the crowded ferry to Phi Phi. We rounded the corner of another little island and saw it for the first time. And it is beautiful. Like awe-inspiring, stop what you are doing, kind of forget to even take pictures beautiful.
The cliffs are massive and green, the beaches are snow white sand, and the water fades from turquoise to deep blue as you head out to sea.
So here we are, all of these people on this ferry completely blown away by the beauty of this place, and as I’m sitting there gaping and trying to figure out how many of my worldly possessions I would need to sell to come live here permanently, out of the corner of my eye on the deck below where I am standing, I see a man pull out a packet of cigarettes, open it, take out a cigarette, and pull out a random piece of paper from the pack and THROW IT INTO THE OCEAN.
I almost couldn’t believe it, because it was unbelievable. I took a deep breath, and tried to calm down and give him the benefit of the doubt because, accidents happen right? Then, just as my blood pressure started to sink back down to a regular level, his buddy came up to him, presumably asked for a cigarette, and the guy gave him one, pulled out the extra piece of paper (no idea what kind of cigarettes these were) and THREW IT IN THE OCEAN AGAIN.
The left side of the ferry was completely packed with people, so I couldn’t get to him, but if I have learned one thing from my sister over the years, it is the effectiveness of a vicious death stare. It took a few minutes for him to notice me staring at him, but as soon as he did I gave him a look that would have most certainly killed him if I possessed any magical powers whatsoever.
He at least had the grace to look a bit embarrassed, and quickly made his way to a different part of the boat.
We made it to Phi Phi, it’s such a fun island, there are no cars so everyone walks and bikes everywhere, and you are never more than 100 yards from the beach. It has lots of great restaurants, and probably more bars than anything else on the island. At night every single beach bar becomes a dance club, and there are fire shows and lots of booze, and then even more booze, which leads to more fire.
The first thing we did once we dropped off our stuff was hit the beach, we ordered some drinks, got a table, and then waded out into the water.
I didn’t make it three feet in before my foot hit a beer bottle. I picked it up, carried it back up the beach, and left it there, planning to grab it after my swim. I started back into the water, took two more steps and found a beer can, and then a large piece of broken beer bottle.
Everybody knows that there is garbage in the ocean, that we need to do more to keep it clean, but seeing that just made me so, so angry. Phi Phi is probably one of the most gorgeous places on the planet, and people are just ruining it.
It might seem like I’m overreacting, but I had just come from Phuket (which I didn’t really care for) and had the same thing happen at two different beaches, I’d wade into the water, only to find a plastic bag wrapped around my leg.
Most of our time in Phi Phi was so much fun, and it really is gorgeous there, despite a few pieces of trash in the water, but it just seems like if we can’t even see the benefit in not completely destroying someplace that looks like this, there isn’t a lot of hope for anywhere else.