CONFESSION: the primary reason I traveled to Phuket is to make it the jump-off point to Phi Phi Island. The rest -- everything around Phuket and Krabi, will be a plus. Forgive me Yashee -- friend, host and tour guide extraordinaire -- but Phuket is not on top of the list.
However, the Universe had other plans for me.
Phi Phi Island has long been on my bucket list. On the day I saw the film, The Beach, I told myself I will swim in the crystal waters of that island. I made it to Phuket, Phi Phi is now a step away. The day has come….
On the appointed day, Yashee and I were up early and raring to go. We hopped in the car and zoomed south towards Krabi, where we’ll take the ferry ride to our final destination -- Ko (meaning island) Phi Phi, the largest among the island group belonging to the province of Krabi.
It would be a two-hour road trip, I was told, give and take an hour for lunch and photo-ops along the way. We took our sweet time enjoying scenic drive, nibbling on meals and jumping at every chance to take photos of the amazing panoramas of the provinces -- Phuket, Phang Nga and Krabi.
Time flies when you’re in good company and enjoying the ride. It has been close to six hours since we departed. Did we take too long or was the trip really that far? Finally reaching the Tourism Office of Krabi, we asked directions to the port area. We had a few minutes left until the last boat of the day departs. That information, I wasn’t aware of. So was my tour guide.
Of course, we didn’t make it.
We had no plans to join the rest of the tourists who plan to sleep on the floor of the port. Our next option -- spend the night in Krabi’s famous beach, Ao Nang.
What used to be a fisherman’s village, Ao Nang Beach grew to one of southern Thailand’s most attractive destinations because of its white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters and stunning landscape of hundred meter-high limestone cliffs and rich coral reefs.
As the heavy rain poured on us on our way to the alternative destination, the navigator’s compass lost its bearing. In short, we were lost. “It was the same way I took the last time we went to Ao Nang a couple of months back” she said, still not admitting to getting lost, as we drove for ages and finally hitting a dead end. Maybe Krabi purposely closed the road with a lush forest.
It was very late in the afternoon when we hit the main road and decided (feeling very frustrated) to head back home. This was a case of “so near yet so far.” It was at the closest distance to Phi Phi Island in my lifetime and it slipped away. Even the next best beach evaded us.
Yashee left me to sulk until I got over my disappointment. I can’t be huffing for five hours in the car, after all. It was clearly not time for me to see Phi Phi.
Tired from driving all day, we were glad we reached home. But it wasn’t time to rest yet. The house’s water pipe connected to the heater got busted and flooded the entire house (I wished for wading in the water, this was it). This was why the Universe led us back home. Another 24 hours would be devastating to my host’s home.
Maybe, I didn’t get to spend my nights in Phi Phi or Ao Nang, but Phuket surprised me with a lot more that I expected—gorgeous beaches, hilltop panoramas, dining in quaint roadside restaurants, exciting weekend shopping. The seven days I had was not even enough. I will stay longer on the next visit.
Lesson for the day: The Universe has an amusing (somewhat frustrating at times) of leading us to a path we should be taking. The events that transpire may not what we have in mind or to our liking but at the end of the day, the reason will unravel. A reason we will be truly grateful for. Thank you Universe!
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