Ko Phi Phi and Koi Samui: A piece of the whole

June 11-13, 2013

There are the moments when words escape. Where all clears and clarity breaks through. The ends tie and-- just for a moment-- the meaning I'm forever in search of surfaces, ushered in by...


Bullets of rain puncture the peace, setting off a current of ripples across the expanse of the water. We've been away for three weeks. I still haven't captured my story.

The drops fall as if in choreograph, slowly letting up as the rain lessens. The tide washes over, the islands in the distance reappear and again, all is calm. 

I turn to walk away, nowhere closer to finding my story—yet vaguely aware it’s not really about the story.

The ferry’s door had been left ajar as we trudged abroad our third mode of transportation: hour six of the day’s total eight-hour trek from Ko Phi Phi to Koi Samui.

We’d spent two days in Ko Phi Phi, a stunning island run rampant by the white tourists flooding the small space. It’s where I met my monkey-to-be, my macaque prince charming named JoJo who wore a diaper and a shirt. His  owner had let me hold him in exchange for 100 baht ($3).
Prince charming

Ko Phi Phi is on the one end of Thailand—Koi Samui on the other. It’s a four hour ferry ride from Koi Samui to the island of Krabi, a two hour bus ride (themed 70s style with faded pink curtains and worn, neon blue seats) across Krabi.

And finally this ferry, our final, two-hour boat ride.

The Hangover 2 was playing in the ferry's downstairs room. We settled in just as the ferry official walked through, row by row. We watched those seated grab their items, stand up and head out.

“An extra 40 baht to sit inside?” one huffed. I turned to Caitlan. 40 baht? The chutzpah.

You know you’ve been in Thailand for some time when 40 baht is reason to curl up on the floor of the outdoor deck—which is what we did, grabbing our stuff and following the trail of others in no mood to dish out 40 baht for a cozy seat.

Even if, you know, 40 baht is just over $1.

The vibe of the south differs sharply to that of the north. Touristy and far more expensive. Water was 28 baht. Anywhere else, 14 baht for a tall bottle was the norm. 

We spent an evening and full day in Koi Samui, letting the afternoon drift away as we laid out on the island’s largest beach. 

We left Koh Samui somewhat on a whim. Our plan that Wednesday had been to leave that Friday. Destination: Bangkok. Transportation: TBD. By Thursday, we crossed off the overnight train ride option, deciding, rather, to book a flight-- which we did, 13 hours before it was due to take off.


It was a few months back-- well before graduation-- and I was at coffee with a friend. He asked me for a story. So I told him about my interview with a Civil War connoisseur.

Cool, my friend had responded. But that’s not your story. Think about it, he challenged. 

It’s the challenge the follows today.

I dig my toes in the sand, letting the smoothness of the waves crash over the bareness of my feet. The shrill of the music’s vibrations power the moment. It's a refreshing contrast to the stillness of the water.

I stop, my gaze fixed ahead as if, for the moment, the world stops spinning and I’m standing, at the center of where I’m supposed to be. There’s an infinite tide of possibilities so far ahead. I can sense that. There’s a story that awaits. The same one I’m living today.

Life is our story. Each moment is the experience. And it’s the moments that piece together to create the whole. From here, on the edge between water and depths of opportunity, there’s no way I can see my full story.

My toes tingle as the water gapes through the open spaces.

For now, I’m just experiencing a bit of the whole.

1 Response to Ko Phi Phi and Koi Samui: A piece of the whole

July 20, 2015 at 5:36 AM

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