Maya Bay is located on the uninhabited island of Phi Phi Ley, just off the coast of Phuket in Southern Thailand. Until recently this picture-perfect bay was something of an undiscovered gem. However, since its staring role in the movie, The Beach, this incredibly beautiful nature park has firmly arrived on the tourist trail. Yet despite the bay’s sudden increase in popularity, it remains one of the most scenic natural destinations in Southern Thailand.
Wander along the powdery white sands of Maya Bay’s curving beach. Stop to take photos of colorful long-tailed boats back-dropped by the blue-green sea. Go for a swim in the exceptionally clear waters and explore the watery grottos beneath the towering limestone cliffs.
Although some of the coral within the main part of the shallow bay has been damaged, the area still offers fantastic diving opportunities. Maya Bay Corner offers beginners the chance to explore the sea life that abounds amid the reef’s hard coral and small caverns. More advanced divers should head to Maya Bay South where black-tipped reef sharks, turtles and banner fish gather. Book a trip just offshore to the soft coral wonderland of Garang Heng to dive with leopard sharks, schools of barracuda and gold-striped fusiliers.
Each day, scores of powerboats, longboats and yachts congregate in the bay to drop off hundreds of visitors. By late morning the bay is busy, so arrive early or stay after 5pm to enjoy the bay without the crowds.
A small snack bar and rudimentary restrooms are the only amenities at Maya Bay. There is no permanent accommodation allowed; however, overnight camping trips can be arranged through local tour operators. An overnight stay is the best way to see the bay outside of peak visiting hours. Stargazing at the cliff-framed night sky above Maya Bay is an unforgettable experience.
Maya Bay is within easy reach from Phuket and Krabi. Numerous long-tail boat and ferry services are available, ranging from multi-stop day tours to direct services. Visit Maya Bay between November and April, when the weather is calmest and the water visibility is at its best.