My birthday in Paradise
It’s cold and it’s raining … I don’t see the sea on the window but I smell and hear it, and this helps me gather my thoughts and send them where my soul is in Thailand. It will be a longer post so please, be patient.
It all started in January when, with airplane tickets on my desk, I browsed the internet even when I was sleeping, trying to choose the best places to indulge me. Needless to say that for my birthday I wanted something special and unusual. A few years ago I thought the unknown was scaring me, that I was comfortable and somewhat conservative. Two months before we left, we already knew what places I wanted to visit and I knew I would not spend my birthday in a restaurant. But here:
This place is on the ground. This small beach is called Maya Bay and belongs to the Phi Phi Archipelago in Kabi Province – the Andaman Sea (the pictures above do not belong to me, but I did not know how to show you the ensemble). Destination being chosen, it followed a planning period: how do we get there for my birthday, what we will do, what prices are etc. Keeping searching on the internet, I found the “offer of my life”. I found out that although it is an uninhabited area without accommodation, with the possibility to visit it only a day and a short while ago, only one company offers the opportunity to sleep one night in this idyllic landscape and not anyway, but on the boat, Maya Bay Sleep Aboard.
From that moment on, I lived for that. I only asked my husband if he trusted me and if he would accept sleeping on a ship, on the deck, in a sleeping bag, along with another 20 people I didn’t know a thing but who were keen on the same adventure like us. His response was positive, but with some distrust of which, I had to admit it, I made the reservation on the Internet two months before and I waited. Throughout this time, various thoughts have struck me: whom we will share a ship for a night and who will sleep on the floor with; it might rain that night and be cold; there could be a tsunami or a meteorite fall and others like this.
So I left Ao Nang to Phi Phi Island, a very beautiful island that was devastated by tsunami in 2004. We went with a large ferry with about 500 people. The place of boarding on our boat was Phi Phi Don Island, the largest of Phi Phi islands.
Once here, we had 4 hours to get to know the place, so I reviewed the area most affected by the tsunami, ate, took pictures and bought some souvenirs. The weather was on our side, being a sunny day with high temperatures.
This tree with incredible roots drew my attention:
I went to the boat and I met the crew and its group members: most of them younger than 40 years old, so I was in the right place. We left at 15:00 and we were about to return the next day at 10:00. We made two stops for snorkeling and, absorbed by the scenery, I reached Maya Bay. The opening landscape left me, literarily, breathless.
Maya Bay was the favorite spot for Leonardo DiCaprio’s team to film “The Beach” in 2000. The beach is popular for diving and became more famous after shooting here.
It is an uninhabited, protected area belonging to the Department of National Parks of Thailand. Casting this film here implied a slight change in the ecosystem and sparked controversy. The shooting team leveled the beach, modifying the dunes, but tsunami in 2004 has remodeled it and brought it back to its original form. That’s interesting!
It is a very visited place, almost everyone who goes to Thailand has as objective to visit DiCaprio’s beach. So, this beach is always crowded, hundreds of people come here daily, and the visit schedule is strict. Boats don’t delay much, just to take pictures and, if you’re lucky, a bath in unreal blue water, among many long tail boats and along with several hundreds of people trying to do the same thing as you, more details you can find here.
I had seen the movie and at that time I didn’t know that one evening I would admire the most beautiful stars on the sunniest sky, from the nicest place I have ever been. Yes, everything was at superlative.
When we arrived, there were many touring boats that were retreating, and in 2 hours the beach was only ours, the company with which we had arrived there was the only one allowed to stay after 17:00 and during the night. We had a whole beach and a very cheerful group with us.
The beach is idyllic without exaggeration, and the team we’ve been there has done everything it could to feel great. The boat was anchored 100 meters from the shore, and we were transported to the beach with motor boats. A dreaming afternoon followed: snorkeling with maximum visibility: superb corals, fish of various colors, walk in the area (the beach is quite small).
A lot of weird shaped trees in the area 🙂
A gorgeous evening followed, sitting on the mats, having an adorable dinner, Thai food in the light of lanterns and guitar tunes, discussions with people from different places around the world, their lovely bucklet, a local drink consisting of Thai rum/vodka and coca-cola/sprite. My husband made me a surprise and told the organizers that it was my birthday and from that moment on I had a preferential treatment. I was the most spooky, everybody sang Happy Birthday to me, I got many bucklet (there was only one included in the trip price) and Jackie, the host and soul of the party, who I’m missing, reserved for us one of the best sleeping places on the ship, on the deck, of course, but in an area tt the shelter of the wind. It was a magnificent party.
The evening ended with snorkeling, but it was a unique experience: I swam, just like DiCaprio in his film, sour ended by plankton, marine organisms floating in the water that can only be seen when they are gathered together. At night they shine and look like neon blue lights, thousands of such lights, only when the water around them waves. It was like a dream. We were all in the water at midnight, and there were blue light marks around us, all with snorkeling equipment, heads under water, admiring the close-up view. That was a pretty thing, I thought I was dreaming. We hardly got out of the water and headed for sleeping places. As you probably imagine, it was a short night, but certainly one of the most beautiful in my life. I was asleep under the open sky, admiring the stars hanging from the sea, in a silence disturbed just by the sounds of the waves breaking down nearby and below us, in a breeze of wind that gently increased in the morning, but our sleeping bags did the job.
At one point we began to amuse ourselves that a boy from the group who slept near us had a plankton stuck to his hair, shining so beautifully. I fell asleep last and woke up first at 4:30 in the morning. The sun began to rise. God, how incredible the view was … morning, a beautiful beach in front of us, deafening silence and many people sleeping around me … I was happy to enjoy this virgin landscape at the beginning of a day, then everyone woke up, we all went back to the beach, took pictures, had breakfast and … back to the hotel.
I don’t know how to communicate better what I felt that night; it was the perfect way to spend my birthday. This adventure happens once in a lifetime. I would like to repeat this; on the other hand, I’d like to keep that night in my mind, I don’t know if I want to compare it with another.
What do you say? Would you like to try this? I recommend you not to hesitate, there are remarkable memories, and the best cameras can’t render the beauty of such an experience in all its aspects. I definitely recommend Maya Bay Sleep Aboard.
Important tips about Phi Phi Island and Maya Bay you can find here.
Next time I’ll come back with impressions from Bangkok, because on our way back home I’ve visited it for a few days. Hugs.