Avoid this at all costs. I wish I'd cancelled when I had the chance we booked on Groupon and as soon as they had our money (which covered everything but the transfer from the hotel), they told me that the transfer cost listed on Groupon was incorrect and charged us almost double. In the end we paid it, and in the end they forgot to book it for us.
That aside, this really was an awful day out from the word go. They tell you to arrive at the pier at 9, which is a total waste of time as you'll sit there for at least an hour before you get on a boat.
The boats are absolutely PACKED. If you don't get a seat outside in the front, you risk sitting under the covered bit in the middle of a row of ten people where you presumably see nothing. I felt like I was on a school tour - the 'host' was ordering around everyone like we were school children. At the stops (Khai island and Phi Phi) where we were allowed off the boat, we got as far away as possible.
The places they take you to are beautiful, but you're barely allowed off the boat. You get off at Maya Bay (for about 20 minutes and it's absolutely packed with people), then for lunch at phi phi (for about an hour, so not much time explore), then at this horrible little island called Khai island which is packed full of rows and rows of umbrellas and sun-loungers to the point where almost the whole island is in the shade. They have some guy who comes around and films you when you're swimming and eating (they sell DVDs of the tour), no matter how far from the group you get, which is just really awkward. I was with my boyfriend, trying to have a nice day (we were there for his birthday weekend) and this guy had a camera in our face every ten minutes when we were off the boat and quite clearly trying to have some time alone and get away from the crowds. I was hoping they'd take us somewhere nice and secluded for a swim, or stop at one of the many, many gorgeous bays we passed....but no. Everywhere you go there's another 10 or 20 speedboats, all with 40 or 50 people on them. It is the furthest thing from relaxing and worlds away from all my other experiences of beautiful, peaceful, relaxing friendly Thailand, a country I've spent a lot of time in.
I love a boat trip, but this was seriously, seriously bad. It was crowded, the host/tour guide was terrible and we were herded around like cattle. Under no circumstance would I do this trip again - there must be a better way to see these islands. It was the furthest thing from relaxing and I couldn't wait for it to be over.
Avoid at all costs.
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