Maya Bay is the very epitome of paradise. Maya Bay is a little enclave of pristinely soft melt-in-your-toes white powdery sand on the Ko Phi Phi Lay island. It is, of course, the island made famous by the blockbuster film ‘The Beach’, featuring Leonardo DiCarprio. Visiting Thailand, or more specifically when visiting Phuket, island hopping tours are a must! There are many tour operators and depending on where you stay on the island you will either have to pay an additional fee if you are far away from the main collection points or starting points of the tours i.e the boat piers. Two really popular tours in Phuket are the tours to James Bond Island as Phang Nga Bay and Ko Phi Phi Island for Maya Bay – The Beach. I will be sharing details of the other tour soon but for now, this is part one of the stops on the Ko Phi Phi Island tour. Ko Phi Phi Islands are about 40-50km of the coast of Thailand’s Phuket in the Andaman Sea.
You can have a look at Phuket tours available on the Expedia website before leaving for Phuket. You can also check out tours on Viator as its usually same vendors and just compare prices. Clear turquoise waters and breathtaking beaches, stunning rock formations rising out of the beautiful waters of Phi Phi Island. The majority of tours will take you to a few stops that include, Maya Bay, Lo Samah Bay(see below), Viking Cave, Money Beach and another I can’t seem to recall the name of. I will post separate pictures from the other stops. You also get time to go snorkeling at 2 or 3 stops depending on weather and time of the trip.
Quick Tips For Phuket Island Tours
1. Wear your swimsuit under your clothes because other than the pier to get on the boat, you won’t have an opportunity to change into them before your first swimming stop.
2. Bring a few snacks and some water. Although a lot of these tours include food and drink. You will most likely leave your hotel on an empty stomach or will have just about enough time to scoff down a bun and some coffee. Depends if you are the first person to be collected, though. The collection can take about an hour especially if you are the first one. Also, you will have one long stop for lunch and may come across a few stalls to buy some items on some island stops but I would recommend you pack a few snacks for in between stops.
3. Get some waterproof sacks. You will stop several times to swim and explore the islands so to keep your phones, camera, and gadgets you can invest in the waterproof sacks. The tour boats will have one where you can all put your items but I also like having all my gadgets with me so I didn’t use the communal sack.
4. Snorkeling gear is not included in the tour prices so you will most likely need to bring some additional cash to rent these items.
5. Make sure your tour provides life jackets and also make sure you use them. Plenty of people acted like they were born with natural floating devices. Think Safety first. It’s a tropical island and weather can switch as well as a number of other things can happen so just put one own.
6. Prepare to pay additional prices for transportation, if you are staying far away from where the tour starts off. I did the Phi Phi Lay tour and Phang Nah Bay(James Bond Island) tour, for these I chose to stay on closer to where the tour was starting as well as give me an opportunity to explore that part of Phuket without having to travel half the day. For Phang Nga Bay, I stayed in the Northern part of Phuket and Phi Phi Island I stayed in the South or more central part. If you are far from your starting point then look to pay an additional 50-60% of the tour price for transport.
7. Also, consider a private boat tour. See details below.
The Other Side Of Maya Bay That You Don’t Usually Get To See
Above in tip number 7, I mentioned how you should consider having a private boat. A lot of the boats have about 20-30 people on them and that’s one too many for me. It’s not so bad if you have a good crowd. It’s not just the crowd on the boat that you need to consider on the tours it’s the hordes of people when you get to Maya Bay! There are boats coming every few minutes offloading people on this little small beach. Each of them all busy with their selfies sticks attempting to get that ‘money shot’. When you see a lot of pictures of Maya Bay you don’t see much of the crowds that you will no doubt find there. Having your own boat means you can explore Maya Bay when the big tours have left. Most of them stop off at a certain time. When you hire a boat you can find out from the locals or the boat captain what times are the quietest in Maya Bay and head there then. This means that you will have this little bit of paradise all to yourselves or with a few other people than the massive crowds when the tour boats all arrive at once. The prices are comparable to would you would pay for the tours. So well worth it if there is at least 3-4 of you so you can split the cost.
Make Sure You Visit Loh Samah Bay
When you stop at Maya Bay you can actually walk over to the other side of the island to Lo Samah Bay. Usually, people are busy taking selfies on Maya Bay without realising that you can easily walk over to this little section of the beautiful island. Depending on the tour, you may alternatively stop by Loh Samah Bay first and then walk over to Maya Bay. Definitely don’t forget to check this place out. There are tours that also do night diving in this spot or you may stop by here for snorkeling if the seas are calm, otherwise, the tour will take you for snorkeling in Maya Bay.
Where to stay
I have covered a couple of places that we stayed at in Phuket, from Gold Digger’s Resort(yes I booked because of the name), Ikon Hotel and Renaissance Hotel. All of these can be found on the blog but for a full list of hotels in Phuket check out this list of accommodation options on the island.