I love island hopping tours and just boat tours in general. It helps me to restart my brain and to blow all of the negativity out of my system. I tried those tours in Bali, Malta, the Philippines and all of them were extremely amazing, I recharged my energy for the next month. But the Phi Phi islands tour was different. I am not sure if all boat tours are the same, but we booked it from Rak Talay Travel on a website called: BigTourPhuket.com. I can’t say that the organization was bad, because everything was on time. The guide took care of us during the trip and gave all the equipment and information we needed. Although the whole trip was a kind of disaster. I actually thought that I will not come back to Phuket and I will start a civilization in one of the islands.
The Phi Phi island cost: 1099 THB per person (35$) the tour description:
- 07:00 – 08:00 – Pick up from your hotel. Register for Insurance. Complimentary tea, coffee, and snacks before the tour.
- 08:30 – Get tour information, National Park rues and safety information.
- 08:45 – Departure to Phi Phi archipelago and enjoy following 4 islands with 9 points and activities:
- – Maiton Island sightseeing with snorkeling from the boat. You can see the Dolphins some time, if lucky!
- – Maya Bay sightseeing the most famous place from The Beach movie. CLOSED!!! The boat stops to take pictures from a distance, no landing.
- – Pileh Lagoon sightseeing and take photo at the beautiful limestone scenery viewpoint
- – Viking Cave sightseeing famous cave of sea gypsies
- – Monkey Beach visit and take photos from the boat
- – Phi Phi Don snorkeling at 2 points from the boat. (the best points depends on sea and weather conditions)
- – Buffet Lunch at Koh Phi Phi Don on the beachside restaurant
- – Phi Phi Don free time on the famous island
- – Khai Nai stops for swimming with colorful fishes and relaxes on the beach. Free time on the island
- 16:30 – Arrive at the pier and transfer back to your hotel
What was not okay with Phi Phi islands tour?
Creating fake fear of Coronavirus
Before the trip, a tour guide presented the information about our day trip and told us that he would give all of us snorkeling equipment. Then he explained that they have tours every day, and they provide the same masks and snorkels to hundreds of people. If we don’t want to get a Corona or Ebola virus, then we have to buy those adapters. For which you have to pay 100 TBH (2.90$). It was such a disturbing thing to do; it’s just playing with people’s fear to sell more stuff. Do they clean that equipment? Probably not, because those snorkels were lying on the floor in the boat, and it didn’t seem clean.
A tour guide told us another disturbing thing during the presentation that on the last island if you want some “Bob Marley” time then you can come to me and I organise it because on this island there is no police. I wish it was just a joke, but I’m quite sure that it wasn’t.
The main problem of all of this bad experience was the boat. It was too small or just this company sold more tickets than there are places. You are super squeezed in with other people. Another thing is that the boat is so fast and the whole boat is shaking. Even remembering it I feel nauseous. Before the trip, a tour guide informed us that we could get seasick and he gave us some pills from it. Although, that’s not acceptable how fast and shaking it was.
At the beginning it was funny, and some people even were laughing, but after an hour in the boat everybody’s emotions changed. Yes, I felt seasick and the worst part is that the first stop was just next to the private beach so you can’t really get on the land. My choice was to be seasick in the boat or in the water… Not pleasant. And I was not the only one who felt bad, at one point the whole boat was quiet and everybody was just focusing on themselves for a while.
I am not sure if the snorkeling is bad in Phuket in general or only the place which this tour agency picked was not good. While snorkeling you can’t really see the underwater life, the corals are dead, we saw several fishes, but not a lot and the water was not clear. Really not worth it.
The tour info says that you visit 9 points, but actually we saw 7 points from the boat. Which is impossible to actually see because the boat is small and it’s not really safe to stand and look. Also, you feel seasick so it’s not pleasant to admire islands from the boat. We stopped only on Khai Nai island which was so bad (more down below) and at our lunch stop – Koh Phi Phi Don where you don’t really have time to explore. The only very good thing was lunch, we chose a vegetarian option and the variety of food was amazing and also super fresh.
Running from police
My friend was so excited to see an island was the movie “The Beach” with Leonardo Di Caprio was shot and on tour, info is written that it is closed and the boat stops only to take photos from distance. When we got close to the island and everybody stood up to take pictures, but then a tour guide started screaming “Police, police is coming! We have to go”. So it was all mess and the boat started speeding and you could see how a small boat tried to catch our boat, but they didn’t have luck.
Khai Nai island
The last island was the cherry on top of this bad experience. When we left the boat our tour group was surrounded by locals who wanted to sell things for us. Mostly, they were giving us a menu and wanted us to go to their restaurant or wanted to rent a jet ski. We chose to go to the beach and just sunbathe for a while, I tried to do some snorkeling, but it was really bad. Only in one of part of this island you can swim because all around is reserved for jet ski. Although, we couldn’t sunbathe in peace because locals from the restaurant were coming to us and still offered us to check their menu and buy something.
One man was so pushy, even though we told him “no” several times he still stood next to us and made inappropriate jokes. When we decided to buy ice cream from the restaurant and sit for a while because it was extremely hot and there were no trees that create a shadow he tried to escort us to the restaurant. But when we saw the prices, we didn’t want ice cream anymore. It was about 10 times more than in Phuket so we just sat next to the restaurant in the shadow and waited when we could go. Locals were not happy about it and they still tried to push us to buy something.
From all of this experience, I feel that the tour guide was the main disappointment. Even though he didn’t lose any people and he provided all the information the whole energy he presented, and his inappropriate jokes were part of this bad experience. There were so many red flags during his presentation before entering the boat that I had to cancel and try to get my money back. Unfortunately, I didn’t do it and I 100% do not recommend this Rak Talay Travel.
Should you go to the Phi Phi Islands tour?
Yes! It’s still a nice activity, but do proper research before going, good luck! If you find any tours you love then please share in comments.