The stunning Maya Bay became a major tourist attraction after the 2000 film, The Beach, was filmed here. It’s situated within Thailand’s Phi Phi Islands, off the coasts of both Krabi and Phuket on the mainland, and is distinguished by its beautiful white-sand beach sheltered by limestone cliffs on three sides.
There are in fact several beaches here, but most are small and some only exist at low tide. The main beach, where most boats drop passengers just offshore, is a 200-meter long strip of silky white sand. It’s surrounded by clear waters filled with colorful coral and an abundance of exotic fish, making it an absolute haven for snorkelers. Walking inland is also a treat, with a path that winds through lush greenery and reveals some simply spectacular scenery.
It’s true that Maya Bay’s popularity has taken a certain degree of the shine from this once little-heard of slice of paradise. It’s become so well-known that its shores are filled with hoards of boats dropping visitors off and picking them up throughout the day, particularly in peak season. Visitors should arrive early in the morning to avoid the larger part of the crowds.
Visiting Maya Bay is such a popular activity that arranging transport is incredibly easy. You can visit from both Phuket and Krabi on organized tours, or, if staying on Koh Phi Phi, simply hop on a tour from there or charter your own longtail boat for the day. If not visiting as part of an organized tour, you’ll need to pay a National Park entry fee (currently 200 baht).