Our Wedding - The Wedding Deck on top of Aspen Mountain
29th August
written by bob

After 3 weeks in Bangkok, we decided it was time for a little side trip. Where? Well…from everything we have heard from friends, it sounds like Phuket & Ko Phi Phi Don Island is a tropical paradise not to miss. So, a couple of plane tickets later on Thai Airways, we booked 3 days at the Westin Siray Bay in Phuket and another 3 days at the Holiday Inn Phi Phi Resort.

We arrived late on a Thursday evening after an uneventful flight (which is exactly how we like to fly). After a good night’s sleep we awoke for breakfast and figured we’d do a little resort exploring. Unfortunately, we discovered that breakfast ended at 1030h and us late risers missed our chance. We didn’t have to wait long for lunch through and once finished we were off to don our suits and hit the negative edge pool & pool bar! While mommy and daddy sipped a cocktail sitting in the pool Miss G swam/floated around like a little duck with her water wings on. There was no getting her out of the pool, she loves the water!

G lounging at the pool in Bangkok.

G lounging at the pool in Bangkok.

And then, it rained. Wow, did it POUR! It totally reminded us of the monsoon season in Arizona. Ok, so a “little” rain got Miss G out of the pool albeit only for a brief moment. After the short downpour and within 20 minutes we were back out in the pool once again looking out at the bay and enjoying the view of the islands. That night for dinner, we took G to her first sushi dinner. We love sushi and and soon discovered so does G! It was hit! She has such a palette; eats all kinds of things I would never touch as child; broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and spinach. Not only that but she loves fish, lentils, smoked salmon, red pepper hummus, and seaweed sheet snacks (from Thailand). The great thing is, she’ll try everything once and that’s all we ask. If she doesn’t like it, just leave it BUT at least just try it.

Three days flew by and we were on a ferry ride to Ko Phi Phi Don Island for a few more days of serene sun and beach bliss. The weather was clear, sunny and warm; a perfect day for a boat ride! It was a calm 1-hour ride to Tonsai Pier with a view of numerous islands along the way. After a brief 20 min docking, we were on our way to the northern-western tip for our stay at the Holiday Inn. Approaching our resort, we noticed that there was no dock for the ferry. Turns out that long boats come out to the ferry and taxi people into shore. Once on shore, we were greeted with fresh tropical drinks while we waited for check-in completion.

Time for some relaxation. The next 3 days were all about spending time sunbathing on the beach, building sandcastles with Miss G, and swimming in the Andaman Sea. The weather for the next couple of days was amazing! Hot and sunny with clear skies wasn’t a bad forecast to have when you are in tropical paradise, right? Could you relax here?

Mommy and MIss G enjoying the serene beaches of Phi Phi Island.

Mommy and Miss G enjoying the serene beaches of Phi Phi Island.

We explored quite a bit of the beach and walked along the shore past a couple other resorts taking in periodic swims and some seashell searching along the way. On the walk back, we figured we could plan an excursion to a couple of the nearby islands? In talking to the concierge, we wanted to spend some time at Monkey Island where “The Beach” with Leonardo DiCaprio was filmed. Unfortunately, due to the time of year and the rough seas on that side of the island, our boat visit wasn’t going to happen. In the end, we had to cancel our half day excursion to Bamboo Island and Mosquito Island due to rain. The problem was the rain kept coming. It hadn’t stopped since last evening as today was our island departure date to head back to Bangkok for one last week of relaxation. Once packed and checked out, we headed down to the beach where we waited for the ferry to arrive. It began to rain harder. Long boats shuttled us out to the ferry. It was raining quite heavily and the wind was very strong. We were receiving the tail end of the typhoon that was slamming Korea! I didn’t have a good feeling about this. With everyone aboard, the captain headed for Tonsai Pier to pickup passengers there before making the 1-hr trek back to mainland, Phuket. The 20 minute boat ride to Tonsai took 40 mins and the waves were only getting larger. Not good. Fortunately, when we boarded we asked the deckhand where a good spot to sit was. He directed us to have seat in a spot where sea-sickness would be at a minimum. Perfect choice, not that we get sea-sick BUT, as I mentioned, the waves were HUGE and…you never know!

Passengers in Tonsai boarded. And boarded…and boarded. People just kept getting on! Then, it happened; “THE” thought. You know…the one that all of a sudden makes all the ferry capsizing stories in the news make sense? Yep, that ONE! I never really completely understood how I could read in the news that all these ferries had capsized in places such as this. It was now WAY TOO clear. Did I mentioned in a previous Thailand post that safety seems to be a secondary concern here? It is. Just check out the wiring strung across building fronts, no seat belts in taxis, etc.

This ferry had too many people on it. There was not enough seats for everyone and people were standing wherever they could find a spot. My stomach was churning one big knot. I mentioned to Katherine that we need to know where the life jackets are and be able to get them on quickly “IF” anything were to happen on the boat ride back. Fortunately, every seat had a life jacket on it. Unfortunately, all the jackets were snapped closed from behind the seat! I’m quite sure there were not enough life jackets for everyone. We departed Tonsai and less than 15 mins into the ride back the staff were handing out puke bags. In fact, people were requesting them and not for the “just-in-case” BUT for the NOW. The sea was THAT rough! Sadly, the only thing that kept going through my mind was our escape route. If something happened, I was making sure we were getting off this boat. The waves were so large now that the port holes that normally come with a great view of the sea are now just consumed by crashing waves on the glass. The swells were higher than the main deck of the ferry! I praised the captain for having the brains to NOT go full throttle back to the mainland. It would suck to miss our flight but there were others.

I am not kidding when I say this…during the boat ride I was scared like I have never been scared in my life. I feared for Katheine’s and G’s lives as well as my own. I prayed the ENTIRE way back on the boat. For the next 2 hrs, I prayed…and prayed…and PRAYED. I prayed that we make it safely back to Phuket. I prayed that this ferry did not become a headline like you read in the news, “Ferry Capsizes in the Andaman Sea”. I now have a full understanding of how ferry capsizing can happen! AND…I’m SOOOOOO thankful we made it back to Phuket safely without issue.

I have never been so thankful to reach mainland and if we didn’t have a taxi waiting for us at the dock to whisk us off to the airport, I probably would have kissed the ground! Normally that ferry ride takes 1 hr and a bit BUT the storm made our trip 2.5 hrs AND I was okay with that. Fortunately we made our flight with a few minutes to spare. Our flight was uneventful, thankfully!

Regardless of the ferry experience, I still love Thailand!

Au revoir, mes amis!

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