Since Leonardo DiCaprio stepped foot on Maya Bay, the secret island in the movie The Beach (1999), Thailand has become part of the imagination of thousands of tourists. After all, who wouldn’t want to live in a place that is so wonderful, seems not to exist? Thailand has become part of the imagination of thousands of tourists ever since.
The beach depicted in the film is real, and it can be found in Thailand, more precisely on the island of Ko Phi Phi Leh, which is located in the midst of the Andaman Sea. This information is common knowledge, and many people are aware of it. Even now, more than three decades after the film was released, Maya Bay continues to host tens of thousands of visitors each year as a direct result of Hollywood.
Maya Bay, which was once an unspoiled paradise, has since evolved into a destination that travelers can no longer skip to the southern region of Thailand.
Hundreds of excursions go exactly the same path, and the only difference between them is the amount of time they are on the road: half-day or full-day, with the latter one concluding at sunset. To put it another way, if you book one of these tours, which can be found at ten out of ten different agencies on the island of Ko Phi Phi Don, you will invariably have to share the beach with hundreds of other people, which will prevent you from having the relaxing experience you had envisioned of enjoying a deserted beach.
It is difficult to find a piece of land that is your own or a camera angle that makes Maya Bay look like it was taken straight out of a Hollywood lens due to the large number of tourists that visit The Beach (capitalized). Maya Bay is not very large.
Because the movie has been a part of our imaginations ever since it was released, and because I, Larissa, am unable to see a beautiful beach, I needed a meaningful experience in a paradise like this, one that would give us the opportunity to sleep and wake up in Maya Bay, to live the experience that everyone looks forward to when they think about going to A Praia.
And lo and behold, we were able to find what it was that we were seeking.
All tourists are required to stay on Ko Phi Phi Don, the largest island, which serves as a base for those who want to go to Maya Bay because the island of Ko Phi Phi Leh, where Maya Bay is located, is an environmental reserve and does not have any tourist infrastructure for those who want to sleep or eat there. Maya Bay is located on the island of Ko Phi Phi Leh. So how exactly can one get some shut-eye at Maya Bay?
Krabi Konnect’s Maya Bay Sleep Aboard
Because of the damage that tourists have brought to the natural environment, it is no longer appropriate to sleep on the beach. However, the same business that arranged for the camping in Maya Bay now also provides a tour in which guests spend the night aboard a boat that is anchored on the shore.
The Maya Bay Sleep Aboard travels in the opposite direction of the other boats, allowing passengers to have Maya Bay and A Praia all to themselves on each of their overnight excursions. You and the other fifteen to twenty guests who were on the tour when it ended, for starters. But that’s not too horrible, is it?
Krabi Konnect, a company that offers numerous excursions across the islands and is the only one authorized to do the night tour in Maya Bay, is the company that organizes the Maya Bay Sleep Aboard tour. You may check out their other tours on their website.
Preparing for the day in Maya Bay
To begin, there are only a very limited number of spots available for the tour, and they go quickly. If you are thinking about adding it to your schedule, make sure you book your accommodations at least a few weeks in advance to avoid disappointment.
Before boarding the boat that will take you on the tour on the day of the tour, it is a good idea to stop by the Krabi Konnect agency and leave your luggage there. On the day of the tour, you should take with you only the items that are absolutely necessary, such as a towel, a swimsuit, sunscreen, and a change of clothes to exchange.
The boat departs from the sole pier on Ko Phi Phi Don at 15:00, so it is best to arrive 20 minutes early in order to get a nice place and have some extra time to take in the scenery. We set sail, and when we look back, the other island is just as close as Leo (my best friend forever!) sees it in the movie moments before he decides to swim to it. It is fascinating to observe that speck of land, which is located in the midst of the ocean and is so highly sought for.
Viking Cave and its mysterious interior
An old cave known as the Viking Cave may be found on the most southern point of the island. The walls of this cave feature painting of boats that are very comparable to those made by the Vikings. There are some beliefs that a party of Chinese sailors were stranded inside the cave during a storm approximately two thousand years ago. Of course, it wasn’t the Scandinavians who stopped there, even though they took a journey there, but other hypotheses suggest this happened.
The swiftlet is a kind of bird that may be found in Southeast Asia. Its nests are formed of saliva that has been solidified, and villagers currently utilise the cave to harvest the nests of swiftlets. These nests are among the most expensive forms of animal food anywhere in the world since they are considered a delicacy and are sold as such in places like the United States and Europe. The price of a kilogramme can reach up to 2,500 dollars!
Phi Leh Lagoon, a heaven apart
We stopped at Phi Leh, a saltwater “pond,” on the way to Maya Bay. The water in this “pond” had the perfect hue, a vibrant green that darker patches caused by the corals broke up. In addition, we’ll be able to swim, snorkel, and kayak there.
It was my first time snorkeling, and I can honestly say that I have never experienced anything (ANYTHING!) that was more amazing in my entire life. When we don our masks and go scuba diving for the first time, it feels as though the bottom of the ocean suddenly materializes before our very eyes. Everything is there, vibrant, and vivid, and it is all very close to you. It is very similar to watching a movie in 3D. The fish swim around us as if nothing is happening and ignore us completely. Because of how stunning the location is, we could easily remain there forever.
After spending the previous hour exploring this amazing new world, we boarded the boat once more in order to make our way to Maya Bay, the primary objective of our trip.
Maya Bay, the most famous beach in the cinema
After a lot of mystery, we arrived at the entrance of Maya Bay at five o’clock in the evening. Maya Bay is easily recognizable due to the granite walls that surround the small beach. We can make out in the distance the dozens of boats that are parked on its sands, as well as the hundreds of vacationers that are scattered everywhere. Um, if you could just hold on for the next half an hour, we’ll have the beach to ourselves.
Maya Bay is incredible, despite the fact that it is still rather busy when one first arrives. The stunning white sands and crystal clear seas of this beach are framed on all three sides by rocks that have been intricately sculpted by the passage of time. In the movie, the wall is entirely closed, which of course, was created by a computer. Canteens with drinks and snacks are located further down the beach, as are restrooms, the homes of environmental guards who patrol the island during the day, and the dwellings of environmental guards. Because we are going to spend the night on the beach, a spot has been set aside for us close to the canteen. There, we will have our meals and play cards before retiring for the evening.
A path that winds through the forest will take you to the other side of the beach, which is known as Loh sama Bay. This bay has choppy waves, no sandbank, and a rounded islet in the middle of it.
Coming back to Maya Bay, if you enjoyed the movie or even simply the beach itself, being there will feel quite surreal to you. Since I first saw it when I was 12 years old, that beach has never left my mind, and as soon as I realised I was going to Thailand, the first thing I looked for was the location of that beach. It is a valuable experience to be able to sit on the beach like the protagonists in the book “A Praia” and watch the boats sail away as the sun sets. After a half an hour, I find that I am the only person left on the beach.
Night in Maya Bay
At suppertime, the floor is covered with mats, and a mouthwatering chicken curry dish accompanied by rice and steamed veggies are served. We will provide you with a bucket, a plastic beach bucket (truly! ), in which you may place your order for either a Cuba libre or a vodka and sprite cocktail. The bucket has a great deal of notoriety across all of Thailand’s offshore islands, where it can be purchased on each and every beach.
The boat’s crew keeps us entertained with wacky card games that are a lot of laughs. And for those who are interested in night photography, there is no site on earth more magnificent than A Praia to practice their craft; after all, how many people have the opportunity to spend the night in a location of this caliber?
As if all of that wasn’t enough, there will be a cookout at 20:00, and then we will head back to the boat to get some sleep straight after that. The mattresses that are strewn about, along with pillows and sleeping bags, are our beds; you simply select a location to sleep in.
However, before we stop to rest, we go on a dive with the boat while it is completely dark so that we may observe the wonderful plankton that is in the water. Because they are activated by motion, you must move your arms and legs in order to view the underwater constellations. Put away your GoPro and just enjoy the moment because it is nearly hard to get a snapshot of plankton in its natural state.
The next day and back to Ko Phi Phi Don
We were awakened before daybreak while we were swinging on the boat, and we saw Maya Bay gradually becoming illuminated. There is a lull in the activity. Perfect. Before making our way back to the beach, we stopped to have a bite to eat and a cup of coffee. We are going to have one hour to ourselves before the onslaught of tourists begins. Use your remaining time in paradise by swimming, sitting in the sand, and generally unwinding.
Before we leave Maya Bay, the paradise that Hollywood led us to find, we will have another breakfast, this time consisting of eggs, as well as another round of snorkeling and kayaking.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Maya Bay, and why is it considered the most famous beach in Thailand?
Maya Bay is a unique way to spend a night sleeping on Maya Bay, which is on the Thai island of Phi Phi Leh. It became well-known after it was shown in the movie “The Beach.” This beautiful beach is known for its clear water, beautiful rock hills, and rich marine life. Each year, thousands of people come to see it.
How can I experience Maya Bay?
To see Maya Bay, you can book a tour plan with a licensed provider that includes a beach stay. Most of the time, these trips include transportation, lodging in tents or beach cottages, food, and activities like swimming, fishing, and paddling. Due to its fame, it’s important to check availability and make bookings ahead of time.
Can I visit Maya Bay without spending the night?
Yes, you can take a day trip from close islands like Phuket or Koh Phi Phi to visit Maya Bay. But because of protection measures, the beach only gets a certain number of visitors each day. Check with tour companies or the local government to find out if day trips are available and if there are any rules that need to be followed.
What is the best time to visit Maya Bay?
The best time to go to Maya Bay is from November to April, which is the dry season. Most of the time, it’s warm, and the water is quiet, which is great for diving and other activities. During the rainy season, which usually lasts from May to October, it’s best to stay away from the beach because rough seas and strong winds can make it hard to get there.
Are there any restrictions or rules for visiting Maya Bay?
Certain rules are in place to protect the beauty and natural balance of Maya Bay. There is a limit on the number of people who can come each day, there aren’t many places for boats to dock, and you can’t stay overnight from June to September so that the beach environment can heal. Visitors are also expected to follow the rules, like not throwing trash on the ground and not walking on coral reefs.
What should I pack for my Maya Bay experience?
When getting ready for Maya Bay, bring things like light clothes, swimwear, sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, insect spray, and a water bottle you can use again and again. You should also bring swimming gear if you have it, but you might be able to rent it there. Don’t forget your camera so you can take pictures of the beach’s stunning beauty!
Is Maya Bay suitable for families and children?
Maya Bay can be a great time for kids and their families. But keep in mind that camping sites may be simple, and the activities may require a certain amount of physical exercise. Also, parents should watch their kids when they are doing water-based activities to keep them safe. Overall, if you plan and take care, it can be a fun trip for the whole family.
Can I see marine life and coral reefs while visiting Maya Bay?
Yes, Maya Bay is known for its coral reefs and wide range of sea life. Snorkeling is a popular thing to do because it lets people see the underwater world, which is full of colorful fish, bright coral formations, and other interesting sea creatures. Be sure to swim in a responsible way by not touching or hurting the coral and by being respectful of the natural environment.
Are there alternatives to Maya Bay in Thailand?
If you can’t stay at Maya Bay or it doesn’t fit into your plans, Thailand has many other beautiful beaches and islands you can visit. Railay Beach, Koh Lanta, Koh Tao, and the Similan Islands are all well-known for their beauty, clear seas, and great diving. Do some research on these options to find the one that fits your needs and trip plans the best.
Is it possible to witness the sunrise or sunset at Maya Bay ?
Yes, watching the sun rise or set at Maya Bay is a magical thing to do. When the sun comes up or goes down, the sky lights up with bright orange, pink, and purple colors, giving the bay a beautiful glow. Maya Bay is a peaceful place where you can take beautiful pictures and make memories that will last a lifetime. Whether you get up early or wait until the sun goes down, the beauty of these nature events will blow your mind.
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