Thailand is a very scenic country. It attracts millions of tourists each year to its modern cities and world class beaches. One of the top areas for tourists is called Krabi. The Krabi province is an area in southern Thailand that stretches out to the shore. Krabi is a favourite for travellers because of the beaches and the views it provides. There are many natural developments in Krabi, and as a result, a large portion of Krabi has become national parks. When arriving on the Krabi beaches, you may discover the accessibility to explore the many islands located right off of the shores. One of the most popular of the Krabi islands is called the Phi Phi Islands.
Phi Phi Islands
The Phi Phi Islands is an island chain located off the shores of Krabi in between the province and Phuket. This is the largest island chain compared to the other Krabi islands and is a stop for most tourists to visit. The biggest attraction of the Phi Phi Islands is its beaches. Many visitors enjoy the beaches here because of the white sands and blue waters. There are many other activities that you can do around these islands such as rock climbing thanks to the high cliffs on and around the island chain. The largest island in this chain is called Ko Phi Phi Don. Ko Phi Phi Don has the largest beaches and the most activity when it comes to the Phi Phi Islands.
Ko Phi Phi Don is not the island chain’s claim to fame, however. The other islands are simply high cliffs except for the second largest island within the Phi Phi Islands called Ko Phi Phi Leh. Ko Phi Phi Leh is known around the world for its beauty and its famous beach, Maya Bay.
Maya Bay is the main beach on Ko Phi Phi Leh and known for being one of the most beautiful beaches on its surrounding islands. It’s no wonder that the beach gets so many visitors year round. Maya Beach is a top attraction for many tours exploring the Phi Phi Islands.
Maya Bay is recognised as a national park and has an entrance fee upon arrival. This helps to maintain the beach and the Ko Phi Phi Leh island overall. Maya Beach is the perfect destination for any trip duration, half-day or a whole day. There is plenty to see and do at the beach. Maya Bay is great for spending time admiring the scenic views from the beach or getting more involved in various water activities that you can do here.
How to Get to Maya Bay
There are several methods of getting to Maya Bay and can be accessed from many points around Krabi and the nearby islands. One of the most popular routes to Maya Bay is from Ao Nang. Ao Nang is located along the shore of Krabi. There are several tours and boat providers that depart from here and take you to the Phi Phi Islands. Taking a long boat from Ao Nang will be the most direct way to Maya Bay. If you go the tour route, you may be taken to Ko Phi Phi Don first and must continue the trip from here.
Tours to Maya Bay can either be on a long boat or a speed boat and often land at the biggest beach in the island chain. Getting to Maya Bay is simple once you are already at the Phi Phi Islands. Ko Phi Phi Leh is south of Ko Phi Phi Don, and an additional boat ride is necessary to reach this island. Some of the tours will continue to see Maya Bay, or you can find local island boat providers that will continue the journey here and back.
Things to do at Maya Bay
Maya Bay is the main draw to the Ko Phi Phi Leh island and is its main beach. The beach itself is definitely worth the visit. The beach is very clean and maintained since it’s a designated national park area so you can expect it to hold up to its reputation.
Some visitors come directly to Maya Bay to enjoy the beach. The beach has its peak hours where you will find many tourists as it’s a major stop for a lot of the island tours. This is typically in the middle of the day. If you would like a more personalised experience at Maya Bay, you can take a long boat and arrive early and stay as long as you’d like. The beach is perfect for relaxing on its white sands. It’s an ideal place for sunbathing if you catch the beach at the right time.
The view from Maya Bay is one-of-a-kind. From the beach, you will have a fantastic view of the nearby limestone cliffs that make up the remainder of the Phi Phi Islands. The water is also bright blue which makes the entire experience picture perfect. Several groups of tourists arrive here midday, and some people are around only for photo opportunities.
Those who are more adventurous may want to get a closer look at the water surrounding Ko Phi Phi Leh. Maya Bay is a superb place for various water activities such as snorkelling, diving, and kayaking. Many people kayak around Ko Phi Phi Leh and Maya Bay even though their journey may begin elsewhere. There is not a kayak rental place at Maya Bay, but it still has wide open water to go around. Snorkelling and diving are the same. You would have to have your equipment and rent from a nearby provider but participating in either is a must at Maya Bay. Underwater is an abundance of rock formations, coral, and sea life. The clear water makes it even better, and the views underwater are just as amazing as those above ground.
Other Activities at Maya Bay
The beach and water are some of the major activities done at Maya Bay. Many visitors arrive here specifically to see the beach views, but it’s not the only thing you can accomplish while at Maya Bay. There are several other pleasurable activities to enjoy while on Ko Phi Phi Leh island if you have time. This includes a cave, eating, and exploring the lagoon.
Many of the boats and tours bringing visitors to Maya Bay arrive at Ko Phi Phi Leh on its opposite side. This area is a smaller bay and lagoon called Loh Samah. The water is deeper here and easier for docking. You would then have to walk a short distance through a small jungle to arrive at Maya Bay. Most visitors head directly to Maya Bay, but if you have time to explore the island more, it may be worth it to relax and swim at Loh Samah. It’s a great alternative for snorkelling and diving because of the deeper water.
Another option to check out in addition to enjoying Maya Bay is the Viking Cave. Many of the boat tours pass by this cave before arriving at Maya Bay. The Viking Cave is only accessible by boat. It has a lot of history within it and worth exploring. At the cave, you will come across several cave drawings depicting historic life around the Phi Phi Islands. Several scaffolds that you will find here served as gathering stations for a rare bird’s nest that was found only in this cave because of its elevation.
Lunch at Maya Bay
Maya Bay is a relaxing location to enjoy lunch at. This is around the time many tours stop by here and allow visitors to eat lunch in the beach paradise. Maya Bay has a small food spot to get snacks while on the island. Other options for food would be to bring your own to eat or even cook. Maya Bay has several barbeque stations for grilling out by the beach.
Maya Bay Tours
The popularity of Maya Bay makes it a must see for anyone exploring the Phi Phi Islands. You can find tours that take you to Maya Beach all around Krabi, Phuket, and directly from Ko Phi Phi Don. Most of the tours you find will be day trips. There are no staying accommodations at Maya Bay and camping on the beach was recently prohibited due to the amount of tourist traffic the island received. There is a way around this however if you’re interested in a longer stay at Maya Bay thanks to the Maya Bay Sleep Aboard tour. Another unique tour option to see the wonder of Maya Bay at night is the Maya Bay Sunset Plankton Tour.
The day tours that take you to Maya Bay give just enough time to enjoy the beauty of the beach. You will find a lot of these tours coming from Ao Nang and will drop you off at the Phi Phi Islands by speed boat or ferry. The tours often carry many groups of passengers at the same time and have set schedules. As mentioned, many of these tours will allow you to enjoy a lunch meal at the beach while taking in the scenery. You have a couple of different day trip options as to all the trip destinations. A visit to Maya Bay would be one of the many stops on the tour.
Maya Bay Sleep Aboard
Maya Bay was originally open all the time for visitors until tourism became more monitored here and the bay became a national park. Visitors are now only allowed on the beach during the day. The limited time is what makes the destination densely populated with tourists during peak hours.
The Maya Bay Sleep Aboard Tour is an alternative to seeing the beach at night and quiet in its natural state. The sleep aboard tour will take you on a special boat trip to Maya Bay to enjoy during the day, and at night, you can sleep on the boat which will remain in Maya Bay. This is a unique opportunity for photos and spending a night in paradise.
Maya Bay Sunset Plankton Tour
The Maya Bay Sunset Plankton tour is another tour option that will give you a unique experience of Maya Bay and perhaps one of the few around the world. This tour begins as all the others will a trip to Maya Bay during the daytime for enjoying the beach. A natural wonder starts to happen as the sun begins to set. There is a particular kind of Plankton found in the water around Maya Bay. Once touched, this plankton lights up in a bright blue colour. The Maya Bay Sunset Plankton Tour will give you the opportunity to swim amongst the plankton. You can dive or snorkel and see the water light up with every movement that you take.
Maya Bay – The Beach
Maya Bay has always had its beauty and drew many tourists to its beach. The so-called paradise received a spike in attention after being featured in the popular movie The Beach starring Leonardo DiCaprio. The movie scenes revealed the beautiful scenery of Maya Beach, and as a result, the beach is constantly filled with visitors looking to see it in real life. The area has been developed slightly to create the perfect paradise atmosphere, but after they released it causes significant changes to the island. Maya Bay’s establishment as a national park was a major result of the high traffic, but it’s still a great opportunity to see this well-known movie set.
Maya Bay is a must-see destination for anyone exploring the Krabi Islands. The photogenic beach is one-of-a-kind and highly ranked if you compare it with many of the islands nearby. The beach itself is more of a tourist site during the high season. It’s still possible to enjoy the beach and the surrounding water depending on your time of arrival. Maya Bay is definitely one of Thailand’s gems. If you have the opportunity to explore it once, you will want to come back time and time again to this Phi Phi Island paradise.