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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I did a bit of cliff jumping which was freaking terrifying and very sore on the boobs.
On this trip, we alighted at Maya Bay much later in the day and had the beach to ourselves. Well, almost.
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.
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