18 years ago, I saw a movie called "The Beach" and have only dreamt of visiting such magical place.  I never actually thought I'd be lucky enough to see paradise like this in my lifetime... so the entire day was surreal.  From sunrise to sunset, the Phi Phi's (pronounced pee pees) were literally the most beautiful islands I've ever seen.  In.the.world.  I recently heard they are closing down these islands to tourists this June...  the high traffic of boats ( about 5k-10k tourists visit a day) has been killing off the surrounding coral in the ocean.  So sad.  But if you have a trip planned here in the near future, make sure you find a tour that leaves before sunrise to beat the majority of tourists who arrive later in the day!  We loved our excursion, we found it through an online app called Viator.  It was simple to book and a great experience all around. 

so the craziest thing happened on our way to the islands.  on our ride to the main port where all the boats leave, we stopped at a resort to pick up one other couple.  and guess what- it was another photographer from my hometown in Milwaukee, WI!!!   What?  What a random thing to happen, right?  We had never met, just knew of one another through Instagram.  We communicated a little prior to our trips and realized we both would be there at the same time but never expected to actually run into each other much less be on the same excursion among thousands of other people.   Although we didn't get to spend too much time hanging out, I loved Katie's energy and her smiling demeanor, even at 4am.   I am excited to say I've hired her on as my second photographer for an upcoming wedding next month! (Be sure to check out Katie Schubert's work!)  I'm looking forward to working with her, she's super talented and has a big bright future ahead!  Also,  we even squeezed in an impromptu shoot on the beach.  Dreamy.

one more tip of advice... make sure you use a restroom if possible before you go on this excursion!  on the island of Phi Phi, the public restroom was my worst nightmare, being a germaphobe.  they are clean, but a very unusual situation.  you will have no shoes (all boats make you remove them for the day, including flip flops)  so you are barefoot all day.  to use the restroom, you'll need to step into a pool of water to rinse your feet.  it looked clean, but just the idea of everyone stepping in and out of that all day gives me the heeby jeebies.  it gets worse.  the restrooms have no toilets... they are kind of a bidet.  you do not sit down, you stand on either side of it and squat.  (sorry if this is TMI but if I would have known this, i'd be less traumatized today ha.)  in addition, there is ZERO toilet paper and signs everywhere saying do not flush even tissue down these bidets.  there was only a hose on the side of the stall that you had to rinse yourself with.  also, the doors to the UNISEX bathrooms did not close or lock.  seriously.  lastly, no place to wash or dry your hands.  bring hand sanitizer in your daypack.  but enough about that. just thought this advice would be helpful.  ok,  moving right along...

happy smiles and gut rolls below brought to you by a boatload of pad thai and Chang beer.  

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