When people talk about Phi Phi Island of Thailand, Maya Bay is usually never far behind. Made famous by “The Beach” starring Leonardo DiCaprio in 2000, Maya Bay is now one of the top destinations of visitors of Phi Phi Island.
Knowing that almost every single tour group from Phi Phi Island that day will visit Maya Bay, Natalie and I wanted to get to the bay quickly and early. This was part of the reasons we picked one of the tours with a speed boat.
By the time we touched down on the small Maya Bay, there were already 10 or so other speed boats anchored on the beach and I was already having a little tension headache from the crowd.
Maya Bay was beautiful. White sand, turquosis water, impressive boulders and cliffs. We quickly disembarked our speed boat to find spots for photos before more people get to the Bay.
Oh God, are those even more speed boats coming our way?
The above photo shows how many people were already on the beach by the time we got there at 10:30am, it will only get worse from here.
Working around fellow tourists, we somehow were able to find corners not packed with people. I took a few [obligatory] photos of the longtail boats, then I talked to some of the captains and they agreed to let us board for photos. Mission accomplished!
For whatever reason, the two ends of the small bay were relatively empty. All the longtail boats were docked on the left end but strangely nobody was taking photos there. On the right end there were some interesting cave structures, and again, nobody was going out there. Natalie and I waded out to the caves for photos, the whole time praying that I do not stumble and sink my cameras into the water.
Our tour stopped at Maya Bay for around 45 minutes, it was 30 minutes too many. It would be a cool spot to motor by, hop off for a photo or two and head off for other islands that are not as crowded. This visit was neither relaxing nor scenic with so many people, it was more for the sake of visiting for it’s fame.
I had a little down time on the island so I observed the crowd. On this particular day around 80% of the visitors were from Mainland China and the majority of them around 50 – 65. Mainland China tourists have been getting a bad rep recently, so I was interested in getting to know them. So I watched, and I even chatted with a few of the travelers that were closer to me in age.The majority of the Mainland travelers that day seems to be very happy and simple people, middle aged moms holding sun scarf up into the wind and striking poses while friends snapping photos. Their antics were a bit cheesy but they were seriously enjoying themselves, and I love that. They should have fun on their vacation, as long as they are not affecting other people, who cares what they do to have fun?
By 11:30am, the beach was like a market place. Thankfully our speedboat returned (the bay was too full to anchor long-term) and we made a hasty exit.
Would I recommend Maya Bay? Only if it is a small part of a full day tour, and only if you don’t go during peak hours!
Raise the anchor, let’s get out of here!