Traveling to Southeast Asia: Kho Phi Phi & Khao Sok swimming bungalows on the lake of dead trees

3년 전

With my friends off to Austria (our home country) I was once more all on my own. I decided to pay the famous Kho Phi Phi island (spoken Ko Pee Pee) a visit because some of my travel friends had recommended it. Since it is an island I had to get a ferry to get there. It was leaving at 9:30 from Railay east, which was about 20 minutes by foot from my bungalow. I decided to get going a little earlier because part of my route was a exhausting path from one beach to another which went up and down quite a few metres, through some thick woods and up a few rocks.
When I previously had made my way to the beach I was staying I always started from the beach onto the path. However I hadn't taken in account that the tide was low at that time!

P9093811.jpgThe swimming bungalows in Khao Sok
1/800 Sek. f/4 14 mm ISO 100

So when I made my way to the ferry I found myself standing on the end of the path looking right into the sea. I had to strip down to my briefs and take each of my backpacks (I had a big and a small one) separately. Carrying them above my head the water was going up to my chest. The whole procedure took me about 10 minutes, which left me less than 10 minutes to get from the west to the east beach. This was normally a 15-20 minutes walk so I got my clothes back on and ran the whole way with my heavy backpack on my back and flip flops on my feet.
Needless to say the sea was not the only reason I was wet and salty when I got to the peer. Breathing heavily I arrived just in time, only to come upon a bored woman who took my ticket, handed my a sticker to identify as a passenger and told me to wait.

P9073706.jpgI think this picture describes Kho Phi Phi better than any of the beautiful beaches you see on the advertisements
1/40 Sek. f/4 14 mm ISO 240

P9073654.jpgEven the rather remote viewpoint was starting to get crowded towards the sunset
1/50 Sek. f/8 25 mm ISO 200

P9073685.jpgI managed to get a few minutes of calmness when I walked all the way out on the beach while the boats laid aground during the low tide
1/400 Sek. f/5 18 mm ISO 640

Of course the boat didn't leave for another half an hour and it started to rain. To say I was frustrated would be a great understatement as you might imagine. After a rather boring boat ride we arrived at the famous Kho Phi Phi (the movie "The beach" was filmed on it's sister island). I had been warned, that the island was very popular among "party tourists", but I was still shocked when I got there. On every street there where signs promoting cheap "buckets" which where filled with vodka or other high-proof alcohol, there was always music booming in the distance and the whole beach was littered and packed with people.
I once more got the cheapest hostel and stayed there for a while. I decided to flee from the noise and went up to the viewpoint to maybe catch the sunset. Even up there I could hear the music blasting up from the beach. Disappointed I decided to head to my next destination on the following day.

P9093756.jpgI was constantly amazed by the amount of green to be seen even on these steep cliffs
1/500 Sek. f/5,1 34 mm ISO 100

P9093757.jpgThese beautiful rock formations once where coral reefs
1/400 Sek. f/5,5 54 mm ISO 100

My next stop was Khao Sok, a national park which consisted mostly of a huge artificial lake which powered most of the area around Phuket and Krabi. However in order to get there I had to take a ferry to Krabi and then get a 6-hour bus ride to the park. According to the travel agency where I booked the whole package I should arrive around 6pm. If you read a few of my other posts it won't surprise you that I had once more troubles with the bus. When I got to Krabi and found my bus driver it turned out that I was the only one to go to that destination. To still make money from the trip the agency told the driver to pick up several people and bring them to their destinations, making a HUGE detour. I arrived around 11pm at my hostel. Of course I hadn't booked in advance because I would have plenty of sunlight to walk around and find one that still had vacant rooms if my first choice was booked up. Luckily they still had a room (more like a small hut) for me, so I checked in. My time in Thailand was already coming to an end and my flight was going from Bangkok so I had not very much time at the national park. With that in mind I booked a tour for the next day right upon my arrival. Prior to arriving I was thinking about exploring the national park on my own, however as the very nice guy at my resort told me, it's pretty much impossible to get around in the national park without a boat. Renting a boat on my own would be even more expensive that a tour so I settled for a two days tour which seemed the best value for money.

P9093716.jpgWe weren't the only ones starting our tour that day
1/50 Sek. f/22 14 mm ISO 100

P9093786.jpgIt's hard to imagine the vastness of the lake just from pictures, I think this one gives the best feeling. Can you see how it gets blurry in the back just because of the sheer distance?
1/1600 Sek. f/4 14 mm ISO 100

P9093803.jpgThe weather was kind to us most of the day
1/1250 Sek. f/4,1 17 mm ISO 100

A very friendly guide picked me and two other guys up the next morning. They turned out to be German and much to the amusement of the other guy one of them was also named Paul. We picked up a couple from another resort and drove to the entrance of the park (with a small stopover). There we met with the rest of the group: another couple and two girls. We got onto a boat and rode for over an hour across the lake. It was huge! With the rocks sticking out I was strongly reminded of "Avatar". We arrived at our stay for the night: the swimming bungalows! After lunch we went for a hike into the jungle. Going through several rivers and creeks my shoes where drenched from start till the end. We made halt two times to bathe of the sweat and finally arrived. Our goal had been a cave with a creek running through it. We all got some headlamps and went exploring. It was great! In the end we arrived at a waterfall within the cave, which looked truly amazing, unfortunately I don't have any pictures of it because water and electronics don't go well together (also it was way too dark).
Normally the tour would have gone even deeper into the cave, but the current was too strong due to the recent rains, so we had to turn around.

P9093817.jpgThis and many other rivers we had to cross
1/30 Sek. f/4,1 17 mm ISO 400

P9093805.jpgSome rain clouds were already starting to built up dramatically
1/1250 Sek. f/4 14 mm ISO 100

In the evening we made another "safari" as the called it. We got onto the boat and rode to a spot where monkey appear regularly. To our disappointment they did not show up that evening. We turned around, to go back to the bungalows, our boat lying very close to the water as always when we made a sharp turn, when suddenly WHAM! the whole boat jumped and swayed heavily. The tail of our longtail boat had snapped! This was the only mean of propulsion (apart from one tiny paddle) the boat had and there where huge rain clouds building up above us. To our unbelievable luck, it was one of the few days, that another boat was at the same spot watching for animals. They took us onboard and pulled our wrecked with it's shocked captain behind.

P9093865.jpgThe building rain clouds cause some great shadows by the sinking sun
1/640 Sek. f/4 14 mm ISO 400

P9093870.jpgThe broken tail made the boat drift helplessly over the water
1/1000 Sek. f/5,5 75 mm ISO 200

P9093884.jpgRacing back to the safety of our bungalows
1/15 Sek. f/4 14 mm ISO 200

Not even 5 minutes after we arrived at the bungalows it started to rain heavily. We took a delicious dinner and went to sleep early as there was a morning safari planned for the next day.

P9093901.jpgOur bungalows laying in the (still) calm waters of the evening just before the rain started
1/13 Sek. f/5 31 mm ISO 1000

Monkeys, dead trees and Bangkok once more in my very last post for this journey next week. Stay tuned!

All shots in this post were made with my Olympus OMD EM-10 Mark II with a 14-150mm lens in manual mode.

If you want to learn more about my travel through southeast Asia you can read the previous posts here:

There is a new chapter coming each Thursday

If you want to know more about me check this out:

Thank you for reading and feel free to upvote, resteem & follow me :)

Authors get paid when people like you upvote their post.
If you enjoyed what you read here, create your account today and start earning FREE STEEM!
Sort Order:  trending

Great post and photos. Bri gs back some memories. Phi Phi is just so beautiful. All those "misadventures" make for a great story I've found.

Buckets... you can't avoid them in the backpacking scene in Asia unfortunately. Ive been known to have one or two in my younger days i must admit.. but really if im spending the time and money to travel to such beautiful and different places why would i want to spend all day in bed with a hangover! I see it a lot though!

Following and looking forward to seeing more adventures


Thank you!
I personally am not a fan of all the parties in Asia, I didn't travel around half the globe just to get hammered... However I don't mind if people party as long as they don't make my experience worse (and they did on Phi Phi).
But I simply try to avoid such places and go to calmer more beautiful ones like Khao Sok :)


We stayed elsewhere and did a very small group day trip to Phi Phi so we didn't get too many of the crowds. We also went many years ago.. I'm sure it's much worse now. Travelling around Thailand, Cambodia and Laos 15-20 years ago was quite different! Getting harder to find those little gems now.


Well I didn't give Phi Phi much of a chance, as I turned my back pretty fast to it. I guess if you wander off to the far end of the island you might find some nice places, but still I like it better when it's not that crowded.

If you are looking for an experience like 15-20 years ago check out Myanmar! I was there and it was really amazing, better than Thailand in my opinion. Lots of people told me it's like Thailand 20 years ago. I can't really tell because it was my first time in Asia.

Was soll man da noch groß sagen, wunderschön wieder einmal :) Schaust auch im Discord vorbei? :)


Danke einmal mehr, du bist einer meiner treusten Unterstützer hier :)
Kannst du mir vielleicht den invite link nochmal zukommen lassen?


Der ist in meinem vorletzten Post auf steemit, einfach reinschauen ;)


Oh, so you guy know each other ....I have just stumbled upon this amazing post and delightfully indulging myself into the next ones.. @theaustrianguy sorry , still not writing in german , I know I'm a lousy translator. I guess in the near future will work more on joining the german community :P

This gem of a post was discovered by the OCD Team!

Reply to this comment if you accept, and are willing to let us share your gem of a post! By accepting this, you have a chance to receive extra rewards and one of your photos in this article may be used in our compilation post!

You can follow @ocd – learn more about the project and see other Gems! We strive for transparency.


I most certainly agree!
Thanks a lot :)

Oh I finally get to read another travel digest from you! and as always you provide excellent and thorough information about the places you've visited. Do you by chance know a website called nomadlist?


I'm happy to count you as one of my regular readers :)
No, I don't know that website, what is it about?


Oh noooo check them out Nomadlist Find your place.
They provide thorough and collective information about nomad cities all over the world
Including weather, living cost, even politics :) I think you will love it and decide your next travel escapades! but make sure to hop to Bali :D

Have a great day Paul!

Heya, just swinging by to let you know you're being featured in the Daily Travel Digest!

You did it again, but well, hard not to pick you with this kind of amazing content!


Thank you once more :D

Wahnsinnig schöner Post. Geile Bilder!


Danke sehr :)

As always incredible pictures :)

HALLO, Wow , I'm happy to discover your profile , it seems like you are loaded with great adventurous stories. And these photos. awe - inspiring .
I think I'm just simply gonna follow you ;) take care.


It seems like the adventures just happen, when you travel to the right places :D
Really appreciate your support!


I'm glad that we have the whole world to cover ;)

Wow, I thought I would read just another report but this one is big drama and adventure! Nice to discover that it‘s not your only one by far!


I like to put some the best stories into my posts to make it more entertaining. Seems like it works :D
Be sure there is more to come!


Happy to know. I like your style.

Great post @bypaul, love the way you put an explaination under all the amazing photos and show the settings - keep up the great work and cannot wait to see more of your posts!


Thanks a lot, I always feel like telling the story behind the pictures makes it more relatable, glad you like it :)

Mega schön, ich liebe so kleine Bungalows am Wasser, würde ich immer einem großen, klimatisierten Hotel vorziehen. Ich war 2011 auf Koh Pi Pi, es war damals schon sehr touristisch, aber Hochhausartige Hotels gab es da noch nicht...schade irgendwie! Aber so ist der natürliche Lauf der Dinge...die Bootstour ist es auf jeden Fall wert, gell :)


Die Bungalows waren wirklich ein Traum! Außer einem raumfüllenden Bett war zwar nicht viel drinnen, dafür konnte man direkt nach dem Aufstehen aus der Tür hinaus in den See springen.

Von Kho Phi Phi war ich wirklich enttäuscht, aber dafür kann ich das abhaken auf meiner Liste :D


Lieber Paul, kannst du mir vielleicht verraten welche Kamera du hast? Möchte mir gerne eine gute zulegen und vergleiche gerade ein paar Modelle. Habe deine Posts schon alle durchforstet und deine Fotos sind echt der Wahnsinn, bin ganz großer Fan geworden!


Na selbstverständlich! Ich benutze eine Olympus OMD EM-10 Mark II mit momentan nur einem Objektiv, dem 14-150mm zoom. Das steht auch etwas versteckt ganz unten in meinen Posts ;)
Ich kann sie wirklich sehr empfehlen, wenn dir Gewicht und Größe wichtig sind, da sie eine Systemkamera ist (kein Spiegel). Die Kamera und auch die passenden Objektive wiegen teilweise nur die Hälfte von dem was eine vergleichbare Spiegelreflex wiegen würden. Der einzige Nachteil ist der vergleichsweiße kleine Sensor, der limitiert dich wenn du die Fotos ausdrucken willst. Ich habe vor kurzem ein Foto von mir in 60x80cm drucken lassen, das schaut noch gut aus. Sehr viel größer wird vermutlich nicht gehen ohne bei der Bildqualität Einschnitte zu machen, weil dafür einfach zu wenige Pixel da sind.

Freut mich sehr, dass ich mit dir so einen großen Fan gewonnen habe :D Ich werde versuchen dich auch in Zukunft nicht zu enttäuschen!

Looks good! The lake and the bungalows on it look a lot like Koh Sok NP. Have you been there? Really beautiful as well.


No unfortunately I haven't been there :( I heard it is great, but I didn't have the time to check it out..

@bypaul this post was presented at the most recent Pimp Your Post Thursday on the Steemit Ramble Discord. I have written a post to share your featured post. Just stopping back to let you know that you can see your name in lights right here. (Just kidding about the lights :)

Congratulations, Your Post Has Been Added To The Steemit Worldmap!
Author link:
Post link:

Want to have your post on the map too?
Add the following inside your post:
!steemitworldmap xxx lat yyy long description d3scr

(replace xxx and yyy with latitude and longitude)