Maya Bay in Thailand: reviews and photos
Maya Bay is a small bay on the island of Phi Phi Ley, which is located in Thailand, in the province of Krabi. The shores of Phi Phi Island, famous all over the world thanks to the movie “The Beach” with Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead role, are washed by the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean.
Maya Bay is the main attraction of the southern part of the Thai kingdom. This place is very popular among tourists. Therefore, thousands of guests come there every year to go diving, snorkeling and just bask in the sand under the hot tropical sun.
The entrance to the bay is very narrow, so the beach seems completely hidden from the ocean wind by rocks covered with stalactites of strange shapes and sizes. The height of some rocks reaches 100 meters. And the private beaches with clean white sand and clear water, through which coral reefs are visible, create the perfect atmosphere for relaxation. The main territory of the island is usually filled with tourists, so if you want to retire, you will have to look for a special place.
It is located on the right side of the main island. This little beach is hidden from prying eyes between the rocks, so there you will get the opportunity to relax and swim in silence.
True, it is worth remembering that the beach is not only a tourist attraction, but also part of a large national park, in which case you will have to pay an ecological fee of 200 baht ($ 5.5) if you are not part of the tour. This is reported in the depths of the beach sign. Because of this, tourists cannot live on the beach even in their own tent and cook food.
For the entrance to the protected area require money, and at nightfall, at 11 pm will force to leave the island. But you can order a night excursion for 5,000 baht, during which you can spend the night on a ship in the bay, as well as take the opportunity to spend the night in a tent camp, subject to payment of 2,500 baht, right at the edge of the surf. If you wish, you can stay overnight in one of the cozy hotels on the island of Phi Phi — Don. It is worth the money, because the evening in the bay is very beautiful.
There you can also relax with a company, as there are a large number of young people on the island and, consequently, an active nightlife. You can get to the island on one of the ships going there from Krabi or Phuket.
Interestingly, the bay used to look completely different. Its appearance changed significantly after the 2004 tsunami.[quote font = «arial» font_style = «italic»]
On the beach there is a sign warning visitors that in case of danger you can not climb on a hill.
Unlike the Similan Islands, which usually close during the rainy season (May-October), the bay is open to the public all year round. It will not be as crowded as it is during the season, since the probability of cloudy days is high, and problems with transportation to the island are possible.
Set of the film «The Beach»
As already mentioned, the huge popularity of this place brought the film «The Beach», which was filmed in the natural scenery of this tropical island. The film, based on the novel of the same name by the English writer Alexander Garland, tells the story of an American young man who came to Thailand to rest. Staying at the hotel, he meets a strange man who offers him a map that will indicate the way to the island, which is a real paradise on earth. Having gone there, the main character really finds a small commune living in huts right on the beach.
In the original, that is, in the Garland novel, events take place near Koh Phangan and Samui on Koh Tao Island. But the film was shot on Maya Bay Beach, on Phi Phi Ley Island. Of course, after the release of the movie, this so-called tropical paradise became crowded with tourists, and of course you will not find that idyll that prevails in the movies.
But, nevertheless, the bay still impresses with its beauty. There you can swim in the warm waters of the bay and walk along the path through the dense thickets to where the heroes of the film lived in huts. True, the delightful waterfall that was shown in the film was just an invention of the directors, and you will not find it on the island.
But this is not the only invention of the filmmakers. Despite its outlandish beauty, they decided to «remake» the island, tearing down several sand dunes, and cutting down many coconut palms. On the restoration of the island’s natural ecosystem, the film’s creators donated several million dollars. But, alas, the original nature of the island could not be restored.
Therefore, if you have such an opportunity, go to Maya Bay, because after a few years there can be no trace of the former beauty.
How to get to the bay
For a tourist who is unfamiliar with the area, it will be easier not to look for the bay yourself, but to book a tour or rent a boat that takes you from Phi Phi Islands to the desired location. Travel agencies offer many cruises to Maya Bay:
- From Phi Phi Don Island;
- From Krabi;
- From Phuket.
If you decide to go on your own to the coveted beach from Phi Phi Don Island, take a boat with a motor (longtail boat) for one day at a cost of 1,200 baht with the captain. A day trip will allow you to fully experience the atmosphere of the mysterious beach.
Maya Bay on the map
Renting a boat that will be managed by a Thai is much more interesting. For the whole day you will learn a lot of things about this exotic place and see all the mysteries hidden on the island. The price includes not only the ship itself, but also a visit to the island of monkeys, Viking caves and lunch on the island.
If you are located in the province of Krabi or on Phuket Island, you can visit Maya Bay beach only in one case — by water. To do this, you need to buy a tour on a speedboat, and within an hour you can go to Phi Phi islands, or 2.5 hours on a ferry. Next, follow the above route.
Next to the famous bay is another local landmark — the Viking cave. Visits to this place are usually included in the cultural program of all guests of the kingdom, appearing in its southern part.
The unusual name arose due to the similarity of the outlines of the cave with the silhouettes of the ancient Vikings. Inside the cave itself lives a huge number of swallows.[quote font = «arial» font_style = «italic»]
A kilogram of swallow nests can be sold quite expensive. The high price is justified by the fact that a soup with many healing properties is prepared from this unusual raw material. In addition, they are a strong aphrodisiac.
Their nests are exquisite and very expensive delicacy in Thai cuisine, so there are always enough people willing to hunt for it. Thais climb up to the ceiling of the cave, using bamboo shields, and remove nests from there.
Viking cave on the map
The Viking cave is surrounded by many picturesque bays of the vast island of Phi Phi Ley, where you can relax and swim in the waters of an unusual bright blue color.
Recommendations to tourists
If you decide to visit the famous beach, you should also remember that it is part of a national reserve. Do not take a tent with you — better book a room in a hotel on a neighboring island. But it is better to bring your own food, because it is impossible to cook on the island, and in the shops designed for tourists, mainly drinks and chips are sold.
Also pay attention to the fact that there are always a lot of tourists on the beach, and therefore, water transport. Therefore, if you go there on your boat or speedboat, then moor your transport may not work. Very often the boats wait until the place is free for hours.
Usually the bay is a bit empty after lunch. You can also retire there early in the morning, arriving at eight o’clock in the bay. And the last option — book a night excursion to the beach. It is worth it, though not cheap, but it is worth it. After all, for the money spent you will get a unique opportunity to admire the sunrise and sunset on the snow-white beaches, and even spend the night on the deserted island Maya Bay.
Maya Bay is one of the most beautiful and popular tourist destinations in Thailand. Therefore, if you get the opportunity to visit the famous beach, try not to miss it.