The best ways to see Maya Bay

Maya Bay beach panorama

Visiting ‘That Beach from The Beach’

My bare feet softly padded over the sand, and the sounds of the waves grew nearer. I parted leafy greenery and behold: the iconic bay spread before me. For a split second, I felt like a wild adventuress who had stumbled upon a secret oasis. The leaves framed the scene we all recognise and equate with utopia; the 100 metre high limestone cliffs hugging 200 metres of silver-white beach, lapped by water that sparkles in invitation.


signs for maya bay


walking through the jungle


How to see Maya Bay

Made famous by 2000’s iconic Leonardo Di Caprio movie The Beach, Maya Bay is situated on Phi Phi Ley and is accessible by boat from other islands in the archipelago. It is possible to do overnight camping on the beach, but here I will detail the two ways I had my own movie experience on the beach.

There are a few different options for travellers who want to make the voyage to the site, and some are definitely better than others. While my first visit wasn’t nearly as overcrowded as those viral pictures of the otherwise serene bay blanketed with tourists, it was certainly far from the isolated paradise we’ve seen in the film that solidified Thailand as a wanderer’s Mecca in the first place.


Welcome to Maya Bay

Long tail Boat

One option is to ride in a wooden long-tail boat. I hopped in these little boats a lot to get around the different beaches of Koh Phi Phi; but nothing prepared me for our sailing to Maya Bay. Because we were further out from the shore, the boat was bobbing among huge waves and I ended up sat on the floor beneath the wooden plank seating, clutching my camera as I got drenched. Our driver had crammed as many tourists as he possibly could and it was part of  a larger boat trip around Koh Phi Phi Don that also took us to Monkey Island.


Thailand long tail boats bow

You want to me to climb what?

What they don’t tell you about getting a boat to Maya Bay is that most of the time, the boats can’t pull in to the actual beach.

You jump off the long tail boat on the other side of the island and scale huge rocks, climb up a tatty oversized net that brings you out of the sea and over the cliff, then walk through the greenery to the beach.

This is not for the unfit, faint of heart or poor swimmers.

About the time my bikini popped off while I was in a compromising position

When the sea is rough, climbing those rocks is not easy. It was really quite scary and as I tried to stay upright while waves crashed over me, my bikini top chose that precise moment to ping itself open. My choices were lose my dignity or lose my life trying to grapple with the strings in the rough water. Guess which option I went for.


Transport to Maya Bay


Koh Phi Phi Party Boat

I’d recommend shopping around for someone to take you to Maya Bay. We met an old English guy who owned a boat called The Shangri La and he threw frequent party boat trips on his pimped-out vessel. He even had a dingy boat so we could zip around the bay and avoid that horrendous climb.

Have you ever bathed in a jacuzzi in the sea?

Seriously. Grab a beer and hold tight as the giant net sweeps you through the Andaman sea.


Phi Phi party baot jacuzzi


Partying on a boat in Phi Phi


Boat trip around Koh Phi Phi Don


Koh Phi Phi Shangri La party


Koh Phi Phi party boat


Best bits of Koh Phi Phi


I did a bit of cliff jumping which was freaking terrifying and very sore on the boobs.


jumping from cliffs in thailand


On this trip, we alighted at Maya Bay much later in the day and had the beach to ourselves. Well, almost.


Group picture on Maya Bay


After frolicking in the shallows we went back aboard to watch the sun set over the Andaman and ate dinner on the deck before heading back to the island to dance the night away.


Sunset boat trip in Thailand


And that’s it! My time in Thailand had come to an end. It was an action packed adventure where I experienced South East Asian culture for the first time, fell in love with the country’s crazy, illogical ways and its fire dancers, its beautiful beaches and smiling people. I’ll be back one day, but for now, Thailand: Stay Same Same, But Different.

Love you long time x


In the sea at Maya Bay



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  1. August 14, 2015 / 5:24 pm

    Yikes – I think I would definitely prefer option 2 to option 1 – how scary having to scale those rocks! I wouldn’t have been able to do it!

  2. August 14, 2015 / 9:33 pm

    Wow, that looks absolutely stunning. I’m so glad you had a wonderful time!

  3. August 15, 2015 / 12:53 pm

    Rocks and bikini mishap aside, this looks like so much fun! A party on a boat sand between your toes in Leo’s old haunts, yes please! I definitely want to be dragged through the sea in a giant net now lol! 😛 x

  4. August 15, 2015 / 2:27 pm

    Looks like a great time indeed! I have to be honest though… that the first time I watched ‘The Beach’, I wasn’t so impressed by the beach because it looked normal to me — meaning that we have places like that too in my home country 😉 I suggest that you drop by the Philippines if you can and check out El Nido or Coron 😀

  5. August 15, 2015 / 9:08 pm

    I’ve been there and loved it! So beautiful but it can get crowded at the beach. But it is certainly worth it!

  6. August 16, 2015 / 1:23 am

    I agree with Aileen. In fact some scenes of the beach were shot in el nido, Philippines and not in thailand
    Its really pretty there. Pay it a visit ☺

  7. August 16, 2015 / 2:28 am

    The boat party looked pretty awesome. That climbing and swimming and all seemed like a lot. That doesn’t seem like its for the old either.

  8. August 17, 2015 / 1:59 pm

    Looks like an absolutely amazing trip and I will definitely be pinning this location! The water looks stunning!!!

  9. August 17, 2015 / 4:37 pm

    The water is amazing! That looks like it was a very Leonardo-DiCaprio-style boat party. And at the beach from The Beach no less!

  10. August 17, 2015 / 10:10 pm

    Been there last February but wasn’t aware of this way of visiting Maya Bay! Anyway, sad to see it is overcrowded and.all the sea botton has been destroyed by so many boats everyday…

  11. August 18, 2015 / 10:25 am

    Oh my that’s absolutely stunning!!! I used to think that Maya Bay is just overrated but your way is the way I want to visit it now! Thanks for that!!! 🙂

  12. August 19, 2015 / 7:44 am

    I went on a tour with a speed boat but option one sounds like an adventure! I really didn’t like how crowded it was but I don’t think I can say no if offered the chance to go back again.

  13. January 16, 2016 / 12:31 pm

    Love this post! When me and my boyfriend discuss maya bay we got up really early and took a private long tail boat which got us there about an hour before the crowds which was lovely. Beautiful place x