Bouncing Along Phi Phi Island With Puffs Of Smoke
When I was looking for a place to go to in order to spend my last couple of days in Thailand, a worker at one of the many tourist booth on Phi Phi Island mentioned taking part of the journey on a long-tail boat.
This seemed a fascinating way to travel. After all, long-tail boats are a symbol of the Thailand, kind of the country’s equivalent of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco or the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles.
Being on one, going from Phi Phi to some mainland destination, would provide me with a unique experience I could get nowhere else and have me totally immersed in the lifestyle and culture of the area. And to me, those are two huge factors when it comes to travel.
The trip would take about two hours, the tourist employee told me.
But before booking, I thought I would take one for a spin first.
So while I was on a long stretch of white sand called Long Beach, I decided not to trek back through the jungle to town (and believe me, it’s a journey through just that to get to Long Beach), but to take a long tail boat.
This journey would be only about 15 minutes (it took more than an hour to walk it) but would give me a good idea what to expect were I to chose that transportation option for the longer trip.
The longtail captain instructed me to sit on a small wooden bench near the front of the boat. It was here that I began to suspect this might not be a good option for a two-hour trip.
The seat was about the width of two people and had no padding. The bench was hard and there was no back on it, so I could not lean back. I had to put my backpack on the floor, which had me wondering how dry this thing is over an ocean journey. I would be traveling with my laptop and would not want it to get wet.
Then the captain fired up the engine – there are no covers on these engines, by the way, which I found a bit odd – and a puff of smoke came blasting out the back and even top of it.
“Oh my,” I thought, “are we even going to make it to the pier!?”
We then went bouncing along and I mean bouncing; I felt as if I were on a ribbed dirt road in the back of a pickup truck. My head was bobbing up and down and as a result, it was a challenge to enjoy the passing scenery. Plus, something that I did not expect, the bow of the boat rose so far out of the water I could not see straight ahead; I had to look out to the side to see anything.
My butt bones were getting sore on the hard seat and, unable to recline, my back was starting to get stiff.
I was uncomfortable and decided there was no way that I could take this for two hours.
But as least I experienced a part of Thailand culture and I’m also able to provide you with some travel advice for this country. If you have an option to take a long-tail boat to a destination, make sure it’s a short ride.