Erica Dunstan, 25, her sister Brie, 21, and friend Jamie Hill, also 21, spoke out about their experience this week ''because we don't want others to make the same mistake.''
The three pals from Cairns, in the part of Australia known as Far North Queensland, felt lost and frightened when left behind this week on their day-trip outing from Phuket to Phi Phi.
''It's lucky we weren't on a diving trip,'' Erica said today at their resort in Kalim, north of Patong. ''You save all year to go somewhere nice for a holiday, and we certainly feel let down by our Phuket experience.''
Although the tour company insisted on taking their portrait photographs ''for insurance purposes'' before the outing, that's as far as the care went, said Erica.
''After being left behind on Phi Phi there were no apologies, no concern.''
When the three friends discovered the speedboat had left the Phi Phi beach without them, they ran to other speedboats pulled up along the beach and asked them to contact their errant driver.
''We got no help at all,'' Erica said. ''None of them seemed the slightest bit concerned. Eventually we had to walk across Phi Phi to the pier and catch a ferry back to Phuket.''
After trying at the Phuket ferry pier on the east coast to locate their tour company, the three friends opted to ride back to their resort in Kalim - and a friendly local driver in what appeared to be his personal car charged them 500 baht each for the trip.
''We lost the gear we'd left on the boat and thankfully there were no cameras or valuables,'' Erica said. ''It is a bit surprising that none of the other passengers said 'Hey, what about those three girls.'
Erica admits that because they were last on the speedboat they found it difficult to hear instructions shouted from the front and so relied on ''following the crowd'' to know what they were supposed to be doing.
She said they bought the trip from a street vendor in Patong at what seemed like good value - 1200 baht each for the day- but it ended up costing them twice that much.
The street vendor took no responsibility, nor did the tour company.
''It was like talking to a wall,'' Erica said. One of the three engines on the speedboat had ceased to function on the journey from Phuket to Phi Phi, she said.
''I was here four years ago and people did not seem quite so concerned only about making money,'' Erica added. ''It was an eye-opener at New Year when restaurants and tuk-tuks suddenly started charging double. We became used to rip-offs.''
The three were looking forward to returning to James Cook University, where they are all doing courses and working part-time . . . and saving to go somewhere else next year.