Rekindling Romance: Sailing Thailand’s Phi Phi Islands

Rekindling Romance: Sailing Thailand’s Phi Phi Islands

Five days into our nine-day adventure in Thailand, my husband and I were ready for a private Castaway Couples Trip with Krabi Castaway Tours. In the previous days, we had been overwhelmed by Bangkok’s gilded temples and bustling markets, travel to our secluded resort near Krabi, and two long days of PADI scuba certification. This would be the only chance on vacation to bask in the glorious sunshine, listen to the waves lap on the sand, and enjoy each other’s companionship without distraction.

I was sure this unhurried couples outing would be good for us. Opposite work schedules the previous months meant that we were in the same place and awake at the same time for only two hours a day, including weekends. When we were together, we still lived separately, contemplating to-do lists and work stresses.

This would be the only chance on vacation to bask in the glorious sunshine, listen to the waves lap on the sand, and enjoy each other’s companionship without distraction.

On that long-awaited April morning, I walked down the pier, eager to find “Big,” the owner, chef and guide of Krabi Castaway Tours. He was a soft-spoken, slim, 30-something guy, not at all like my mental picture of “Big.” He gave us a quick summary of the itinerary he’d created based on our love of snorkeling, and we cast off for the Phi Phi Islands in a colorful wooden longtail boat.

Short Stop: Bamboo Island

We passed Chicken Island, named after a rock formation that looks like a chicken’s neck and head, and took a short break at Bamboo Island. We had the coastline to ourselves while wading in the shallows.

Spectacular Snorkeling: Nui Bay, Phi Phi Don

Nui Bay, on Phi Phi Don, was hidden from view by massive cliffs. We jumped into the 82-degree aquamarine waters with snorkel gear and a GoPro. My husband and I floated at the surface for an hour, our backs warmed by the sun, our eyes scanning for sea life. The only sound was our breathing, amplified by snorkels.

Our thoughts turned from the skills we’d been practicing the previous two days — checking gauges, maintaining neutral buoyancy and making 3-minute safety stops. We were soon rewarded for living mindfully in the moment, as the largest jellyfish we’d ever seen danced in the currents a safe distance away.

Rekindling Romance: Sailing Thailand's Phi Phi Islands

Romantic Feast: Losama Bay, Phi Phi Leh

While Big prepared lunch, we explored the shallow, clear water. Sightings included two small blacktip reef sharks, which Big explained were rare for this bay.

When we returned to the boat, Big suggested that we head to the beach. The sunbathers had disappeared, and it was empty, save for a table.

Rekindling Romance: Sailing Thailand's Phi Phi Islands

We toasted flutes of chilled sparkling wine and watched as Big waded back and forth from the boat to the beach with food. First came Tom Yam soup, a spicy chili broth with shrimp and mushrooms, followed by rice, stir-fried vegetables and chicken, and curried crabs. Once everything was delivered to the table, Big navigated the boat around a cliff to give us privacy.

For the next hour, we sipped wine and continued taking heaping forkfuls of Thai cuisine long after our stomachs were full. We chatted about the little things that we’d wanted to share the past few months but hadn’t. My husband also thanked me for researching and booking this tour with Krabi Castaway because it was, well, perfect.

Rekindling Romance: Sailing Thailand’s Phi Phi Islands

The Beach: Maya Bay, Phi Phi Leh

No trip to the Phi Phi Islands is complete without a stop at Maya Bay, the stunning backdrop featured in The Beach, a film starring Leonardo DiCaprio. The movie put Maya Bay at the top of many tourists’ bucket lists. As a result, everything I had read warned that crowds ruined any chance of peaceful enjoyment and decent photos.

Big took us in late afternoon, so only a half dozen beach towels dotted the pristine white sands. We ventured inland and took unspoiled photos before setting sail.

Last Call: Shark Point, Phi Phi Leh

We snorkeled at Shark Point, an outcropping of rocks above a reef. Sadly, we did not glimpse the graytip reef sharks or leopard sharks known to inhabit the area. I guess we used up our luck with the shark spotting in Losama Bay.

Farewell, Phi Phi

After eight hours on the Andaman Sea, my husband and I were relaxed and in sync once again. Five months later, we still think of the castaway tour as our best experience in Thailand.

Rekindling Romance: Sailing Thailand’s Phi Phi Islands

Rekindling Romance: Sailing Thailand's Phi Phi Islands

Have you traveled to Thailand? How was your trip? Email us at editor@pinkpangea.com to share your experience and advice with the Pink Pangea community. We can’t wait to hear from you.

About Genevieve Northup

Genevieve NorthupIn 2009, Genevieve Northup moved from Dallas to Deutschland with her husband, pets and 10 suitcases for a six-month assignment. She’s still in Germany and writes to support her travel habit.

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