We had fond memories of Bangkok from our last Asian trip 11 years ago. We had enjoyed the energy, the vitality and the enthusiasm the city exuded; the streets had been alive with flowers, markets, temples and food stalls.
Bangkok felt very familiar when we arrived from Jinghong. We stayed at a guest house in the travellers' district near Khao San Road and navigated the area partly from memory and partly with the aid of a map.
Our plan was to work through our list of administrative tasks and errands as quickly as possible before heading south to the island of Ko Phi Phi. We needed to book airline tickets home, find a hotel to spend Christmas in, buy books, etc. To our amazement, we were able to finish our tasks within 24 hours and found ourselves on an overnight bus to the southern town of Krabi. From Krabi, we caught a ferry to the island of Phi Phi, about 1.5 hours west of the mainland.
We were a bewildered and bedraggled group that staggered off the ferry in the dazzling sunlight of Ko Phi Phi. We were pale and tired and unprepared for the spectacular beauty of the island. We quickly found a place to stay the night and then set out on the daunting task of finding the perfect place to stay for the next month.
It was blazing hot as we set off down the beach inspecting the various bungalow resorts in search of one that would work for us. We had a detailed list of criteria which we quickly ditched when it became apparent that our choices would be fairly limited. Fortunately, we found a wonderful spot that met most of our needs and after a couple of nights in a smaller bungalow, we settled into our new "home"......bungalow L4 at the Phi Phi Paradise Pearl Resort on Hat Yao (Long Beach)................