This was our first set of dives after the Open Water certification. It was a short trip (2 diving days with a total of four dives). Phi Phi is a small island off of Phuket Island in Thailand.
Living, food and Diving:
Days 1-2. Landed in Phuket, had to stay overnight since the last boat to PhiPhi had left in early pm. Stayed in Club Andaman Hotel off Patong beach (on the Similan trip a year later, we stayed at Novotel, which is nicer). We don't like Patong area too much, except for the Baan Rim Pa restaurant, which has great Thai food. Did the usual tourist things the next day in Phuket. Next day, off to Phi Phi by ferry.
Days 3-6. Stayed at the Phi Phi Cabana hotel, which is
a pretty comfortable place to live. Walked around the Island, which is much
nicer that Phuket. There are tens of dive shops all along the path that runs
parallel to the beach. They've all formed a cartel, so its the same price for
dives, and most appear to have similar type of boats (carry 10-20 people), with
a DM for each 3-6. They all dive mostly the same areas (mostly around Bida Nai
and Bida Nok). We dived with Hippo Divers, who operate out of our hotel, to
minimize the distance we'd to carry the gear. Most DM's appear to be Europeans,
and many work part time (on call) with any operator who needs them.
The dives were in the Bida Nai and Bida Nok area and the Phuket shark point. The visibility was 15-20m, there were no currents, and the dives were spectacularly better than what we were used to in HK, where there is a dearth of coral and fish, and excess of murkiness and currents. The fish life included banded sea krait, puffers, box-fish, groupers, several large schools of small fishes, titan trigger fish, trumpet fish, lion fish, scorpion fish and leopard sharks. A lovely swim-through in one dive.
PhiPhi has fairly nice diving, but we lose 3-4 days in travel from HK, since we need to stay overnight in Phuket each way. So I doubt we'll go again. One can find decent food in Phi Phi, but no particular restaurant sticks in my mind.
Took the ferry back to Phuket on day 6. Stayed the night in Club Andaman (again), and then back to HK on day 7.