Rather than continuing my to travel, I decided to stay for 6 weeks on Phi Phi Islands
In the previous Splashpacker travel blog update, you could read how I send my scuba diving gear back to Europe with the Thai post and decided to do more travelling. I wrote about how lunar- and solar- eclipses can sometimes influence our plans and in my case, it did! Instead of following my plan to go to Railey Beach and the Gulf of Thailand, I stayed for 6 weeks on the Phi Phi Islands! For the last 2 months, I did not stay longer than 5 days in one place, so it was good to stand still and catch up with a lot of blog posts and other writing!
I did not plan to travel the Phi Phi Islands but then I had a stopover for 4 hours and I stayed for 6 weeks!
So after my return to, and a short stay in, Phuket, I arrived on the Phi Phi Island. The islands I was avoiding in the first place, but kind of started to like after a forced stopover of 4 hours. During that stopover, I got lost on my way to the viewpoint. Due to this I accidentally found an accommodation, called Tapear Resort, which is situated in a quiet location next to a sweet-water reservoir, which looked like a lake. I can really recommend this place if you decide to go to Phi Phi Islands. You´re still very central here but it´s quiet in the evenings and at night!
A bunch of scuba diving instructors in my accommodation on Phi Phi Islands
That evening, I realised that my accommodation was full of scuba diving instructors. And so, I directly felt in my element and shared some drinks with them the very same evening. After hopping around to quiet Thai islands, being pretty isolated from other travellers, I was actually very happy to have chats again and to share some drinks. The next day, I also found out that there is a sustainable scuba diving centre, involved with a lot of environmentally friendly activities. And when I decided to go scuba diving with them, then I also found out that they are a sister company of the dive centre I went diving with on Koh Lipe Island!
Starting to enjoy Phi Phi Islands with scuba diving, travel writing and some partying
Before I knew, I was having ´Leo´-beers almost every night and I actually started to enjoy the Phi Phi Islands! I did not have any drinks over the last 3 months, except during new years eve on Koh Lipe and meeting my friends from the Netherlands on Koh Lanta at the beginning of December. I also decided to catch up on a lot of half-finished blog posts and enjoy the evening with like-minded people. We had barbeques, drinks, parties sometimes and a lot of fun. In the meantime, I did my investigation about these wonderful environmentally friendly projects, which you can read more about in this post. And you can click on this link about my experience scuba diving with Blue View Divers
I kept extending my accommodation on the Phi Phi Islands
I did, however, not plan from the beginning to stay that long. So I first booked the place for 2 weeks. Then I just kept extending the accommodation. I started with the ´Splashpacker´ idea, and, a couple of weeks after releasing it, I kind of got ´ínvited´ to the Maldives! This was due to a guy who at this time was working as an instructor on the same island where I used to work in 2010! I only needed to pay a supplement for the accommodation, which he could organise as a ´friend´s visit´ for him being working staff there. The funny thing was, that we have friends in common but we never met. I left the island years before he arrived there! So I had something to think about: Do I go to the Maldives again? In the meantime I received scuba diving instructor job offers on the Phi Phi islands.
Getting a Thai traditional bamboo tattoo during Phi Phi Islands travel!
Everywhere on Phi Phi, I saw those tattoo shops and instead of the little machines, they use a bamboo-made stick to make a tattoo by hand. This hand-poking technique comes from an ancient Thai tradition where monks used to make this kind of tattoo. I was thinking for a while now to get a new tattoo. The tattoo of the ´motherhood´-symbol on my back, I got after my mum passed away. Now it was already almost 6 years ago that my dad passed too, I decided it´s time to get another one, like for him one too. I was thinking about what tattoo as well for a while now, maybe a little bee since my dad kept bees. But suddenly I realised my dad told me that I should always follow my own heart and do what makes mé happy!
Deciding for a hammerhead shark tattoo and remembering my dad!
So I decided to get a hammerhead shark on my leg. Since my dad passed away, I never allowed myself to feel the pain of his loss, but rather escaped from it, so I now really wanted a hand-poking technique tattoo. It scared me a little bit, and I was ready to fear and feel pain, let´s say symbolic. That night I shared a Leo´-beer with the diving instructors in the place I lived. My dad´s name was Leo! The cool thing about the traditional hand-poking style tattoo is, in contrast to a machine-made tattoo: you can go swimming and enter the sea the very next day! At the end of this blog post, you can see a little video about the traditional Thai bamboo tattoo in the hand-poking style!
One of my favourite restaurants on the Phi Phi Islands: Garlic Restaurant
When I had a 4-hour ´stopover´ on the Phi Phi island, arriving from Koh Jum Island, I had a very nice ´brunch´ in a little restaurant in the main street called ´Garlic´. Now, at this time when I lived on Phi Phi, I went there for dinner a lot of times. The staff is amazing and their menu has a good choice, especially for me as a vegetarian, for breakfast, lunch ánd dinner and all for a Thai style budget. One night, we were having a beer on our terrace in the place I was living and suddenly we saw a lot of smoke. Not even 15 minutes later we saw flames coming up in the distance!
The fire on Phi Phi Islands, Garlic restaurant was burning!
And yes, soon after that we could already read on the internet that indeed there is a fire on Phi Phi Islands! At least, we were having the water basin in front of us, but it does make you think on a small island like Phi Phi Island. Soon we discovered that the fire had started in the Garlic restaurant, and was spreading from one bar/restaurant/little shop to the next, as they are constructed against each other in that street. The fire was extinguished later on and a few days later people started charities to help the restaurant rebuild. Within a few weeks, the whole place was rebuild and reopened again. If you ever go to Phi Phi, I can really recommend this place!
My friend & ex-colleague from Australia was ´coincidentally´ coming to travel the Phi Phi Islands as well!
Just after extending my room again, I received a Facebook message. My ex-colleague and friend, Lisa, from Australia, was also coming to travel the Phi Phi Islands. She was travelling with her husband and coming to Phi Phi for a little week! It has been like 5 years or so since we worked together in an office in Byron Bay. We had so much fun in the few days we met on Phi Phi!! We talked so much about everything that happened over the past years, and had a few good parties together, met to watch the movie ´The Beach´ in Bananabar at night and shared some good food!
Coincidental catch up during travel happens so often!
This really was a nice surprise and it also made me a bit ´homesick´ to Australia. But more than that, I remembered how many times this happens during travelling. I keep seeing friends or ex-colleagues or ex-housemates everywhere around the world! When I worked in Mexico, I met an ex-colleague from Gran Canaria, in a bar. When I worked on the Maldives, I met with my colleague from the Dominican Republic, who I again saw last year in Corralejo. My ex-colleague from a tiny café in the harbour in Auckland, New Zealand, came to work in Corralejo on Fuerteventura for one year.
Once during travel in the Philippines, I had 5 coincidental meetings!
But the most extreme case was when I went to the Philippines in 2012 and first met with my ex-housemates from the Dominican Republic on Malapascua Island. Then, in the street, I bumped into an ex-colleague from there (Manfred, who later opened his own dive shop and invited me to come to Thailand were all these travels started!), before my ex-colleagues from Australia also came to travel there. I continued travelling with my Australian friends and during a ferry boat ride to Negros Island, I met a Swiss couple who dived with me on the Maldives! And then another ex-colleague from Mexico contacted me over Facebook as he saw I was in the Philippines. He told me that he was working on the Coron wrecks as an instructor and I went to visit and dive with him as well. It´s a small world, after all, the scuba diving world I´d say! Although Lisa was my ´office-colleague, it felt the same!
After so much fun-time and writing on Phi Phi Islands, it was time to leave and travel to the Maldives
And kind of due to this ´small´ word I also got this possibility to visit the Maldives again. The guy who contacted me, apparently, heard about ´Splashpacker´ from two different people on one day. He said that his current colleague and roommate told him about my blog, that is my really good friend and ´Divehi´ brother on the Maldives and we worked together in 2010. And also his ex-colleague from the Gili islands on Bali showed him a link to the Splashpacker Facebook page.
Decision made: ready to travel back to the Maldives!
We start to chat and I told him what a good time I had working on Veligandu Island in the Maldives in 2010. When he told his boss from the scuba dive centre about me, his boss said that I can come scuba diving for free. So my decision was made! My Thai visa once again was coming to an end, so the Maldives: here I come! I always wanted to go back one day but though the Maldives is way above my budget. Lucky me again! Keep an eye on Splashpacker to read about returning back to a tiny island in the Indian Ocean which used to be my home for a while, 8 years before that! And once again, I went for a week and stayed a few months. The logo of the dive centre I started to work for, was almost the same as my hammerhead tattoo! Coincidence?
As an end to this post about my stay on the Phi Phi Islands
I close this post with another short video. This bird, I think, sees itself in the mirror or thinks the mirror is a window. I went to have breakfast at this place several times and this bird was there every time with this same activity … ‘Never give up’ ….