I have stayed in my fair share of Holiday Inns back in the States and have always considered them a low-end budget chain. So when I was booking the hotel for our stay on the Phi Phi Islands I was a little suspicious. High-end Holiday Inn island resort? No way.
Well thankfully I was wrong!
The Holiday Inn on Koh Phi Phi Don was one of the best resorts I have ever had the pleasure to stay at. It was reasonably priced with a wonderful beach, comfortable (and fabulously air conditioned) room and easy access to a variety of activities on Laemtong Beach. Peter and I were pleasantly surprised! (Doesn’t he look surprised?? Haha.)
After an amazing day of scuba diving, we decided to just chill out on the beach for a day because isn’t that what you’re supposed do in Thailand? Chill out on a beach? Well the answer is yes and it is easy to do if the beach looks like this:
Yes totally easy.
Peter was having a great time with his battered toes in the sand. While scuba diving, the flippers dug into his toes and gave him some nasty blisters. I came armed with a kid-sized first aid kid complete with cute animal cartoon bandaids that Peter sported for a good 2 days. Only on the beach is this style acceptable.
For the rest of the day we parked ourselves under a lush tree on the narrow beach directly next to the resort. The low and dense branches of the trees provided ample shade and protection from the hot sun. We alternated between snorkeling in the warm waters and napping in low slung beach chairs next to fellow guests from around the world.
The swimming area for the hotel was enormous and stretched far and wide beyond the beach. This provided an absolutely amazing snorkeling experience that I have never had before in any location besides the Florida Keys. Beyond a certain point we came upon beautiful bunches of coral populated by various sea life including fish, sea slugs, and sea urchins. The bane of our snorkeling existence was this one type of fish that was small but very aggressive. Whenever we got close they would come straight at us as if they were attacking and then swim away. Peter and I developed a strategy of pretending to yell and karate chop the fish whenever they came close (which was all the time!). I think it only helped our peace of mind so we could stop being scared of the harmless little guys.
Besides being scared a few times, snorkeling was so much fun. We saw amazing sea life and managed to completely fry our backs while staying face down in the water for hours. I left that day with the worst sunburn of my life and a bright red back. It was worth it!
Another adventure we had while relaxing on the beach was a funny little grasshopper that wanted my beach chair. I was watching this guy hop towards me while I snapped away on my camera. After a while he got closer and closer and then scared the crap out of me by jumping RIGHT at my face. I scrambled out of my chair and let him have it for a while. Eventually he jumped off and made his way to Peter’s chair instead.
Smart little dude.
For our entire stay at the Holiday Inn I had this song stuck in my head. “Whachu doin? Nothing chillin at the Holidae Inn. Who you with? Me and my peeps won’t you bring four of your friends…” Wow, quality music right there. It is definitely catchy! Although Peter and I did not party it up like Snoop dog and Chingy, we certainly enjoyed our time chillin’ at the Holiday Inn.
For lunch we walked down Laemtong Beach to a small food stall next to some shrines and a few roosters. Yes roosters! We watched a local working on his longboat while I ate the most delicious noodle dish of my entire life. Seriously, these noodles were amazing and most likely fried (YUM). They came with chicken which were hopefully not from the ones clucking next to me. Well if they were then at least they were fresh! We also found a juice stall close by and ordered a fresh mango and pineapple juice that was prepared directly in front of us. It was refreshing and perfect. I love juice!
After thoroughly tiring ourselves out on the beach for several hours we grabbed some dinner to go from our favorite restaurant on Laemtong Beach. With our Pad Thai and yellow curry in hand, we retreated back to our little bungalow to watch some movies on HBO. We have only 5 channels in Penang so we seized the opportunity to watch some great movies including An Officer and a Gentleman. Oh my, Richard Gere was so young!
It was a perfect day of sun bathing (burning), snorkeling, relaxation, eating, and movie watching. We needed to rest up for yet ANOTHER full day of scuba diving! Yup, we couldn’t get enough the first time so we booked another trip with the Leisure Dive Center.
More on that soon!