Sunday, August 24, 2014

Travel: Jul 2014 - Phi Phi Islands (Thailand)

I always wanted to visit Phi Phi Islands ever since I watched the movie - The Beach starring Leonardo Dicaprio (he looked so young back then). Ever since I was an undergraduate, I was imagining myself backpacking in Thailand, and wondering into unknown places in the midst of the monsoon rain. There was this excitement of exploring new places and getting lost. 

When I was an undergraduate, a good friend) told me that her friend (an exchange student from Europe) said that Phi Phi Islands was the best beach, he ever visited. Hence, the urge to visit Phi Phi Islands was seeded more than a decade ago.

I am amazed that it took me more than 10 years to visit Phi Phi Islands. I have traveled to so many exotic places around the world, yet I kinda took it for granted. (I went Phuket before with friends, unfortunately, my friends weren't so keen to explore the islands. I also went Krabi before with colleagues, but I did not make it Phi Phi Islands too.) 

I decided to travel to Phi Phi Islands alone.

DAY 1 

Quip Bed & Breakfast

Interesting B&B in Phuket Town

Love the freedom of traveling alone in my slippers and a small backpack.


Boat Ride to Phi Phi Islands
(Ko Phi Phi Don on the left, and Ko Phi Phi Leh on the right).

Ko Phi Phi Leh, the Maya Bay is the location where The Beach is filmed. 
It is a national park and staying overnight is not allowed.

Congested Ko Phi Phi  Don- Ton Sai Bay

I was mentally prepared to see this, but I being a tourist is a contributor to the pollution of this beautiful island. It is noisy and smell of exhaust fume etc... Feeling abit disappointed.

Lotsa boats for tourists

A reminder of the devastating tsunami in 2004.

Loh Dalum Bay
The other bay of Ko Phi Phi Don which is not as crowded.

Loh Dalum Bay

Book a tour with Maya Bay Sleep aboard.

Phi Phi Leh

The Sleepaboard Boat

Jump off from the top of the roof. 
It was pretty scary initially, but was quite fun.


Not fantastic visibility, as the weather condition was not good.

A small boat dropped us off near a cliff, and we had to make our way to the cliff. It was raining and the water was quite choppy. Tough to keep our balance in the water. And I felt like a illegal refugee, which was quite fun.

Climb over a small cliff, and if you fall, it would be quite nasty with so many sharp edges. I wasn't expecting this.

Maya Bay =)

It was pouring heavily, but I was elated. 
Finally, I got here and there wasn't a lot of tourists.
Thanks to the bad weather.

Dipped myself in the warm seawater. 
Enjoying the view and the rain!

Maya Bay

Shelter that we spent a night (due to bad weather, our operator decided that we should stay in the island instead of the boat. Apparently, it is a common occurrence.) I was glad to spend one night in  Ko Phi Phi Leh Island, even though overnight stay is not allowed.

It was raining heavily, and we were quite cold in the shelter. The feeling of being cold, dirty and wet felt like the experience of the reality show - Survivor. The only difference is that we have good operator that took care of the food and entertainment at night. The basic living condition is fine for me, in exchange, we get to see Maya Bay without tourists!

One American tourist was whining about how miserable she felt, and that she was paying good money for such a bad experience. I tried to keep her spirits up telling her that it is an interesting experience. 

Another highlight of the trip was to see blue luminous Plankton at midnight. Even though I only saw a few blue luminous Plankton, it is quite an amazing experience to hold the plankton on my finger. 
The world is quite amazing! =)


Morning at Maya Bay (without hordes of tourist)
Managed to do a short meditation - no mosquito and sandfly.

Listening to "Pure Shore" by All Saints.

"I'm moving
I'm coming
Can you hear, what I hear
It's calling you my dear
Out of reach
(Take me to my beach)
I can hear it, calling you
I'm coming not drowning
Swimming closer to you
(Take me to my beach)"

Panorama View of Maya Bay
(I swam across toward another small beach on the top left corner.
It is good to be a swimmer!)

In the late morning, we went back to Ko Phi Phi Don.

Street View -  Ko Phi Phi Don Island.
While it is touristy, I kinda like it for the variety of restaurants and massage parlours - creature comforts.

My Hotel (The Beacha Club) with the beach infront. 
Love the location of this hotel.
I just need to walk out of my hotel room and go for a swim in the sea.

Raining Heavily at the Viewpoint.

Lotsa partying along the beach

Fire acrobat display along the beach


Panorama view of Koh Phi Phi Don.

Spent more than 1.5 hours looking at this. (That's the good thing about solo traveling, I can do things at my own pace). It is definitely one of the most beautiful islands I ever visited (even though it is very touristy). 

Enjoying the moment.
Lying down on the boulder.
Feeling the wind beneath my feet.
Listening to the Buddhist Music/Chant "Om Mani Padme Hum".
Looking beyond the boundless sea.
Feeling insignificant
Feeling grateful.

While I was 1.5 hours on the rock, people were constantly moving. They visit the vista point for 5 mins and left. 
Where are they going?
Do they know where they are heading?
Is there other places nice than this place?

Beautiful Phi Phi Island. 
On my last few days of my life, I will think about my life and be glad that I have seen so many beautiful places, and this is one of them.
Don't be sad, be grateful.

After Phi Phi Islands, I headed back to Phuket to catch my flight, before that I went to the Tiger Kingdom (after much struggle). On one hand, I think it is unethical to visit Tiger Kingdom to see captive tigers. On the other hand, I am very keen to touch the majestic tigers.

In the end, my desire to touch the tigers overwhelmed me. However, during my visit, I asked alot of questions to the staffs and the reply I gotten wasn't satisfactory.

Small tigers

Large Tigers (less than 3 years old)

Another tourist touching this majestic animal


Their fate beyond 3 years old is unknown. Apparently, the tigers would get territorial and aggressive beyond 3 years old, so no interaction is allowed with human beings and they would be fighting a lot among themselves. =(

This tiger is kept for breeding purposes

Small tigers taken away at night.

After this visit, I would not visit another Tiger Kingdom again.
My urges has been satisfied and I think I caused more harm to them indirectly.

Bangla Street - the famous party street in Phuket

Phuket - Patong Beach

Bangla Street at night.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Travel: Mexico & Cuba Trip - April 2014

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Article: 面对它、接受它、处理它、放下它。

Face it, Accept it, Deal with it, Let it Go

Buddhist Master Sheng-yen

Master Sheng-yen passed away 5 years ago in 2009, unfortunately, I only got to read about his teachings after his death. I am very touched and impressed by Master Sheng-yen's compassion and love for the all beings.  One of the most iconic Chinese actress (Brigitte Lin, 林青霞, whose husband is the owner of global apparel company - Esprit) is one of his disciples. 

*Notably, Brigitte Lin came from a Christian Family background

Below is  part of her sharing:


我有幸见到圣严法师,由于以前没有接触过佛法、不谙规矩,见到师父竟然跟他握起手来。后来发现所有佛教徒都是以双手合十来打招呼。 继续延伸阅读:《佛教双手合十(合掌)的16种意义》













   信佛学法敬僧 三宝万世明灯
  提升人的质量 建设人间净土
  知恩报恩为先 利人便是利己
  尽心尽力第一 不争你我多少
  慈悲没有敌人 智慧不起烦恼
  忙人时间最多 勤劳健康最好
  为了广种福田 哪怕任怨任劳
  布施的人有福 行善的人快乐
  时时心有法喜 念念不离禅悦
  处处观音菩萨 声声阿弥陀佛






Life will be full of challenges.
Be Equanimous.

How to cope with life challenges?

Face it, Accept it, Deal with it, Let it Go

Challenge is often a source of growth and improvement.