Sunday, July 21, 2013

Phi Phi Islands Tour - Phi Phi Premium

Leamthong Beach, Phi Phi Island
Leamthong Beach - Phi Phi Island
Going on a Phi Phi trip in the monsoon season you really have to consider the sea conditions, so when i booked this trip I was taking into account the strong winds we had at the time and chose the Phi Phi Premium Tour which uses a large, stable ferry, of course on the day of the tour the winds dropped and the sea was flat calm.

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The day started with pickup and transfer across Phuket town to Rasada Pier on the east coast of Phuket.  On arrival at the pier a sticker was attached to my shirt stating I was "Premium", just indicating my cabin class not a personal evaluation, and I was directed to the upper deck of the Royal Jet Cruiser 9, the largest ferry on the dock, and into the cabin.

Phi Phi Islands Tour - Phi Phi Premium by Royal Jet Cruise 9
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Once in side you have to do a bit of a double take to check you are still on a boat as it seems like you have just entered a cafe bar or a first class airport lounge.

The room has an abundance of well cushioned sofas and is fully air-conditioned, one end of the room has a large flat screen TV which was used to show movies and some Mr Bean episodes, at the other end of the room is a bar where the lounge's hostess is serving tea,coffee, soft drinks and cakes.

At about 8:45 the ferry pulled away from the dock and started on it's way to Koh Phi Phi Island, at about the same time the ship's tannoy sprang to life whith an announcement of the days program for the boat in English and Thai.  Once the tannoy had stopped James, our guide for the day, came and introduced himself to all those doing the day tour package and briefly outlined the day's events and made sure we knew the way to the private sun deck on top of the Premium cabin.

The hour and a half trip went quickly and smoothly and soon James was leading the tour group to the back of the ferry as she approached the pier in Phi Phi Don's Tonsai Bay, after a couple on minutes our speedboat pulled up to the back of the boat and we boarded it, we were the first people off the ferry.

The twin engined speedboat took as around the east side of Phi Phi Don and then north east to to Bamboo Island, which is basically a small piece of rain forest surrounded by a massive beach.  Here all those that didn't want to go snorkelling disembarked to spend an hour on the beach, the rest of us headed to a spot in between Bamboo Island and it's neighbour Mosquito Island.  

The whole area is littered with small rocks and coral bommies with the sandy bottom at about 3 or 4 metres deep, most people were wearing their life vest to keep them securely on the surface while the sargeant majors and rabbit fish mobbed the pieces of bread James was throwing in to stir up some action.  After about 45 minutes everybody was called back to the boat and we headed back to Bamboo island to pick up the others from the beach.

The next stop was Leamthong beach on the north east of Phi Phi Don, this beach has a number of hotels and a restaurant and boat in the only way to get there, we were here for lunch in the Premium section of the restaurant. the lunch started with tempura vegetables and seafood and was then completed with barbecues tiger prawns and fried rice, with fresh fruit to follow. we then hadf about 30 minutes to relax on the beach before taking the speedboat back to the ferry which by this time was moored just off Leanthong beach.

Once back on the ferry most of the people in Premium Class (less than 30 in total) headed up to the exclusive sun deck to take in the view as we cruised back along the east coast of Phi Phi Don and back into Tonsai bay where we picked up the rest of the passengers heading back to Phuket and then we set off for a tour of Phi Phi Lae before heading back to Phuket.

As we left the bay we got a glorious view of Phi Phi Lae, we cruised slowly passed Viking cave, Pi Leh Cove and Loh Samah bay before rounding the southern tip of the Island and  heading into Maya Bay. As the ferry is large we could only come a short way into the bay but this was far enough to be able to see the line of tourist speedboats on the beach.  The boat then turned and headed for home.

Back downstairs in the Premium lounge there was beer and doughnuts and an action movie to speed us on our journey, if the sea conditions changed at all during the day it was hard to tell as the boat never seemed to move at all, in fact you have to look outside every so often to remind yourself you were on a boat.

All in all the Phi Phi Premium Tour is a pleasant day out, particularly good for families with young children or those who are prone to sea sickness, also great for photographers who wish to capture the majesty of these Islands, hard to do from a vibrating speedboat.

Phi Phi Premium Gallery

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Phi Phi Premium Tour, a set on Flickr.

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