If you’ve ever heard of Ko Phi Phi, Thailand, you probably know of it as the island paradise shown in the cheesy (sorry Leo) 2000 film The Beach. Thanks to that film, it’s now sadly been converted into an all-year long MTV spring break. Luckily though, most of the dopey co-eds still have not exploited arguably the best aspect of the island: the crystal clear scuba diving.
Allie and I came to Ko Phi Phi on a whim. We decided we wanted to get a few last dives in before heading to Malaysia, where the monsoon season makes diving impossible for a big chunk of the year. Our main motive for more diving was that Allie was dying to see a sea turtle, and I couldn’t hold back from wanting to see a shark.
On our first dive at Ko Phi Phi, we dived (not dove) at the Malong reef. The site itself was full of ridiculously lively coral and amazing rock features, and our hopes we quickly satisfied. Within ten minutes, we were swimming alongside two hawksbill turtles, with which we spent a long time until we started making our way back towards the surface, when we saw at least four black tip reef sharks. Not only did both of our goals get accomplished on the very first dive off of Koh Phi Phi, there was so much more wildlife than just the turtles and sharks and Malong definitely turned out to be my favorite of all of the dive sites we visited in Thailand. At Palong, the second site, we saw an octopus changing colors and even swam through a small rock arch.
Before leaving the island the next morning, we did two more early dives, one at Bida Nok, Phi Phi’s most popular dive spot, and the second one back at Malong. Bida Nok was a very beautiful site with lots of nice rock features and coral, but we were fighting the current hard the whole dive, making it hard to enjoy. Our second dive at Malong sealed the deal to make it our favorite site of the trip. The visibility was nearly 20 meters and we saw a cuddlefish, a seahorse, both mantis and harlequin shrimp, and at least four more black tip reef sharks within 5-10 meters of us. It was an incredible dive to finish off our trip’s diving.