About Maya Bay
Maya Bay is rightfully one of the most famous spots in Thailand, as it’s one of the most beautiful sceneries we’ve ever seen.
With its crystal-clear turquoise waters, breathtaking limestone cliffs, and gorgeous white sand beach, it’s also the most unique bay in Thailand.
Beyond the natural beauty, Maya Bay became even more famous after its appearance in the movie The Beach, starring Leonardo Di Caprio.
Maya Bay is an iconic spot that continues captivating travelers seeking a beach paradise.
Why is Maya Bay so famous?
Maya Bay’s popularity and tourism started shortly after the movie ‘The Beach’ starring Leonardo di Caprio, was filmed there in 2000 when tourists worldwide started arriving to experience its beauty firsthand.
Fun fact: After watching The Beach, we can say it’s a bit misleading, as Maya Bay can not be reached from Koh Phangan, as shown in the movie. It’s actually quite far away from Koh Phangan. 😀 And it’s not a closed-in lagoon either.
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Is Maya Bay still closed in 2023?
Maya Bay is open for visitors in 2023 after being closed between 2018 and 2022 to restore its delicate ecosystem, which was severely impacted by mass tourism years prior.
After the reopening of Maya Bay at the end of 2022, there were significant changes to how you can access and enjoy this now-protected environment.
Swimming in Maya Bay is forbidden; you can only walk in water up to knee depth. And if you go in the water any further than knee depth, rangers will whistle and warn you not to do that, and if you continue doing it, you will be fined.
The ban on swimming in Maya Bay was put in place to protect the blacktip shark population breeding there and ensure the long-term preservation of this stunning destination.
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Maya Bay’s yearly closure for conservation
Even though Maya Bay is open again, each year, it will close for about two months for conservation.
In 2023, Maya Bay will be closed from the 1st of August 2023 until the 1st of October 2023.
Note: Maya Bay’s yearly closure dates can change slightly each year, as the dates are only known last minute. But don’t worry, as tour companies that can take you there will always have up-to-date information about this. We will also update this article accordingly.
Where is Maya Bay?
Maya Bay is located on Koh Phi Phi Le island of the Phi Phi archipelago in Krabi province, which consists of six islands, including Phi Phi Don, where you can stay.
Maya Bay is about the same distance away from Phuket and Krabi, only 40 kilometers or 1 hour by boat.
How to get to Maya Bay
Maya Bay is easily accessible from Phi Phi Don, Krabi, Phuket, and Koh Lanta, with frequent daily tours.
Let’s dive into different options for getting to Maya Bay.
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Getting to Maya Bay from Phuket
From Phuket, you can only visit Maya Bay with a speedboat on an organized private or shared boat tour. It takes about 50 minutes to reach Maya Bay from Phuket.
Phi Phi & Maya Bay day tours from Phuket also include other incredible spots beside Maya Bay, like Pi Leh Lagoon, Bamboo or Khai Island, and snorkeling spots, making the trip much more worth it.
On our first visit to Phi Phi Islands, we also went on a shared tour from Phuket.
For bigger groups or those traveling with a higher budget, doing a private Phi Phi Islands and Maya Bay tour makes a lot more sense. You can customize your itinerary, have a more relaxed schedule, and enjoy the places you want more.
Best Maya Bay tours from Phuket:
- Phi Phi and Maya Bay Sunrise from Phuket
- Phi Phi, Maya Bay, Khai & Bamboo Island Day Trip from Phuket
- Maya Bay, Phi Phi, and Bamboo Island with Buffet Lunch
- Private Phi Phi Islands Boat Tour
Getting to Maya Bay from Krabi
Much like from Phuket, you can only visit Maya Bay from Krabi with a speedboat on an organized private or shared boat tour. It takes about 1-hour to reach Maya Bay from Ao Nang and Railay Beach in Krabi.
Similarly to Phuket, day tours from Krabi include other stops in Phi Phi Islands.
Best Maya Bay tours from Krabi:
- Phi Phi Islands Speedboat Day Tour
- Phi Phi Early Bird – Beat The Crowds & Krabi 4 Islands From Krabi
- Private Phi Phi Islands Speedboat Tour from Krabi
Getting to Maya Bay from Phi Phi Don
The easiest and most affordable way to get to Maya Bay is by a traditional long-tail boat from Phi Phi Don which will take about 20 minutes to reach Maya Bay.
But in this case, you first need to get to Phi Phi Don, which doesn’t have an airport, and the only way to get there is by ferry or speedboat. Therefore, we’d also recommend staying there for at least 1 or 2 nights.
It takes about 2 hours to get from Krabi or Phuket to Phi Phi Don by ferry, while speedboats usually take about an hour.
We recommend booking your tickets in advance online, especially for speedboats, as Phi Phi Islands are extremely popular. And we always use 12go.asia for that.
Best Maya Bay tours from Phi Phi Don:
- Private Longtail Boat to Maya Bay with snorkeling
- Maya Bay Sunrise Trip From Phi Phi Don
- Beat The Crowds Island Hopping
In Phi Phi Don, you can also easily book a private long-tail boat to Maya Bay and other stops from the main port or any hotel.
The prices start at around 2500 Thai baht (70 USD) for the shortest tour of about 3 hours and are more or less fixed.
Important to know: While arranging your tour on the spot, you must tell the captain that you want to go to Maya Bay beach, or otherwise, they might just drive around it.
Getting to Maya Bay from Koh Lanta
Koh Lanta is not the most common starting location for tours to Maya Bay, so there are limited options you can book online.
Best Maya Bay tours from Koh Lanta:
Do you need to book a Maya Bay tour in advance?
Yes, you should book a Maya Bay tour in advance, especially if you plan to visit in the high season from Krabi or Phuket. It’s one of Thailand’s most visited tourist attractions, after all.
Insider tip: Choose an early bird tour or a late afternoon one to have fewer people there (but still some)!
That’s what we did during our visit from Phuket, and we just avoided the biggest crowd that starts around 10:30 am.
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How much is the entrance fee for Maya Bay?
The entrance fee for Maya Bay is 400 Thai baht (12 USD) for adults and 200 Thai baht for children.
Good to know: Some tours to Phi Phi Islands, especially the ones from Krabi or Phuket, include the Maya Bay fee in the price of the tour. However, longtail boat tours from Phi Phi Don usually don’t include it. So make sure to check this with your tour operator!
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What are the opening hours of Maya Bay?
Maya Bay is open daily from 7 am until 6 pm, with the last entry at 5 pm.
Can you stay on Maya Bay – Sleeping in Maya Bay
No, you can’t stay in Maya Bay overnight, you can only book a sleep aboard trip, which allows you to stay in the waters close to Maya Bay.
Otherwise, only Phi Phi Don is inhabited, and it’s the only island you can stay on. Click here to find the best places to stay on Phi Phi Don.
MAYA BAY SLEEPABOARD
What to expect from a Maya Bay visit
While Maya Bay is absolutely stunning and worth visiting, make sure to set your expectations, as this is one of the most visited spots in Thailand, and it will be crowded.
Surprisingly, the most chaotic part is the boat docking near Maya Bay, as they’re not permitted to dock inside the bay but rather in another bay, where there is a floating dock.
Another thing to note is that boats are also not permitted to stay docked at the floating pier. So after you’re done with the beach, you must find your group and board the boat simultaneously. If you’re going on a private tour, arrange with your driver to pick you up at a specific time or call him.
From the floating dock, you need to walk in line on a nice path for about 5 minutes through the forest to get to the Maya Bay beach.
And just before entering the beach, there’s a small panoramic viewpoint where you can see the whole beach.
Most shared tours will give you even less time than the allowed 1 hour on the beach, as it takes 5-10 minutes to get to the beach (depending on the crowd) and then the same time back. So, in reality, you can expect about 30 minutes on the beach. However, that’s still enough time to experience the beach and its surroundings.
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Maya Bay Travel Tips
Sunrise or sunset tours from Phi Phi Don are the best way to avoid crowds almost entirely. During sunrise tours, you’ll be one of the first people on the beach, and during the sunset, you’ll be one of the last people on the beach.
The beach will mostly be in the shade in the early mornings and late afternoons due to the high cliffs surrounding it.
However, due to the swimming ban in Maya Bay, it’s not that hard to take photos without other people in the photo, no matter the time you visit. You’ll just need to be a bit patient.
Also, as Maya Bay is part of a national park, it is forbidden to fly drones there.
The beach is small enough for rangers to see and stop you immediately if you try to drone from Maya Bay Beach. We saw it ourselves when someone tried to do it during our visit.
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Best time to visit Maya Bay
The best time to visit Maya Bay is between December and March, when the weather is the most stable in Phi Phi Islands.
The hottest months in Maya Bay and Phi Phi Islands are mid-March to May, when the weather slowly worsens as the monsoon approaches.
The monsoon season with heavy rainfall in Maya Bay and Phi Phi Islands is June to October.
Weather in Phi Phi Islands can be unpredictable
For example, we visited Maya Bay in January and had a mix of beautiful clear blue skies, clouds, and rain later in the day.
And then, during our visit at the end of May, we mostly had beautiful weather, even though it was closer to the monsoon season. So don’t let this discourage you from visiting. 🙂
Things to do in Maya Bay
As swimming is now banned in Maya Bay, there’s not much you can do there besides admiring the beauty of it, taking stunning photos, or observing black tip reef sharks in shallow waters.
Also, please note that visits to Maya Bay are limited to 1 hour, so a visit to Maya Bay is often combined with other locations in Phi Phi Islands where you can swim, snorkel and enjoy the crystal clear water.
Is Maya Bay worth visiting?
Maya Bay is one of the most beautiful and unique spots in Thailand.
The one-of-a-kind cliff formations, a picture-perfect white sand beach, and crystal-clear emerald water make Maya Bay a breathtaking scenery that will leave you in awe.
Therefore Maya Bay is absolutely worth visiting, even though you can no longer swim there.
However, you should set your expectations before the visit!
Travel tip: A beautiful beach like Maya Bay, but where you can bathe, is on Koh Hong Island, a fantastic island also located in the Krabi province.
What to pack
These are the main things you need to pack for your Maya Bay trip:
- Reef safe sunscreen
- Quick-dry Towel
- Bathing suit
- Dry clothes (use code SHIPPEDAWAY for 10% at Unbound Merino)
- Waterproof bag
- Waterproof phone pouch
- Action camera (GoPro with a waterproof case or Osmo Action)
Boats, especially speedboats, get wet, if not from water splashing inside, then from constantly going in and out of the water, especially on snorkeling trips.
Best places to stay in Phi Phi Islands
Loh Dalum Beach
Loh Ba Kao Bay
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