Look closely at the picture above. Doesn’t it look beautiful? It’s an island in Thailand for fuck’s sake…what’s not to like? White sand, a glimpse of turquoise water and brilliant blue sky!
Now look a little closer. Can you see the row of each chairs stretching into infinity? They covered the ENTIRE ISLAND! People were packed in like sardines in deck chairs stacked two or three rows deep. And most chairs were occupied, or at least they were on our side of the island.
Because of course…what signifies paradise more than ASSIGNED SEATING! That’s right, we were given a deck chair in a specific section and we weren’t allowed to change. Bad luck if your chair was in the sun or your section was not where you particularly wanted to sit!
How do I know how strict these rules were?
Because Reece and I tried to move to the other, quieter, side of the island and were told we either had to move or to pay. Of course I did neither, especially as every other chair on this side of the island was unoccupied.
We were constantly pestered by touts asking repeatedly for cash to rent the chairs. And when we said that we had already paid for chair rental in the cost of our overpriced package tour, he reminded us that each boat has their own section and our boat was assigned to the other side of the island. To which I replied, that when the boat assigned to this particular section arrives and every seat fills up then we would move.
And did I mention that the beach on our assigned side of the island had hundreds of stinging things in the water? And idiot tourists trying to catch tropical fish in plastic bags? And an abundance of Korean tourist couples in their scary matching printed outfits.
And we couldn’t leave because we were on an assigned boat. And during our tour to Phi Phi we spent a very minuscule amount of time acutually at Phi Phi because we spent it all on this freaking island!
So when people ask me…did you love Phi Phi? I unfortunately can only say no. Because we stupidly took a package tour and ended up on this hellish island of packaged tour hell.
Have you ever been stuck on a package tour that wasn’t exactly what you planned or expected? Care to share?