The best (and perhaps the only good) thing about boat travel with Asians is that they hate the outdoors. So when I boarded the cruiser to PhiPhi, 30 minutes after it was already to have departed, the sundeck was completely unoccupied.
The VIP room on the other hand, had been standing room only for hours. Don’t be seduced by its alluring name, the VIP room is a place to keep the Koreans who can’t swim. The windows are heavily tinted so there’s no chance of accidentally catching a glance at the scenery, and it’s climate controlled. They herd them in there, slap on a Mr. Bean video and lock the doors. Everyone in this room also wears a life vest and this is not at the instruction of the staff, just personal preference.
VIP passengers only emerge twice during the two hour journey. Once for the obligatory titanic photo….(ok 30 photo) and once to take photo of “famous bay from famous Hollywood movie, the bee-sha, Leonardo, hope you’ve seen it.” A third trip would be in order had the cruise line not had the foresight to keep the VIP concession stand fully stocked with strawberry Pocky and seaweed strips.
This bay is a really big deal and they start danglin the bait about it right away. Follow up announcements are made so frequently that you start to wonder if you’re on the wrong boat because they haven’t said a thing about Phi Phi. The bay itself is unbelievable, they are not exaggerating about that but the confusing part is, you never actually go to the bay. The boat approaches the channel into the bay, cuts the engine for a full 37 seconds (I took a video to time it) then revs it back up and takes a hard right completely bypassing the bay.
Those 37 seconds are the equivalent of the Times Square ball drop for the passengers of the elusive and exclusive VIP room. These 37 seconds are the only thing they came of the trip for…..it is their dream….and they go after it.
After the excitement of posing for famous photo with famous bay, people are really off their game and troll around the boat feigning for more. This gives me the opportunity to surreptitiously slip into the “get me off this boat” seat directly to the left of the drawbridge for a little game of what I call”to wee or not to wee.” I watch people cautiously approach the bathrooms and use racial profiling to assess the likelihood of them using said bathroom once they’ve seen the interior. Today’s score is 3-1 in favor of no.