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MAYA BAY

Maya Bay is one of the most famous beaches in Thailand. The beautiful beach is located on the island of Koh Phi Phi Leh near Koh Phi Phi Don. Maya Bay is also called Maya Beach and owes its fame to the movie The Beach with Leonardo DiCaprio in the leading role. This film was partly shot in 1999 on the beautiful beach of Koh Phi Phi Leh.

Koh Phi Phi Leh, aerial view of the island and Maya Bay

Unfortunately, this fame resulted in more than 4,000 visitors every day. If you know that Maya Bay is less than 300 meters wide, you also know that these are a lot of tourists on a very small piece of beach. Although Maya Bay is still dazzlingly beautiful, a visit to Thailand’s most famous beach became a disappointment for more and more people. And even worse, nature was getting worse! 

Because of all the longtail boats, speedboats and party boats packed with tourists, it was hard to enjoy the beauty of the surroundings and it was crowding the beach. If you could find a quiet spot or take a picture without other tourists then you were lucky!

Maya Bay full of speedboats and tourists

You could avoid the hustle and bustle by going very early, but more and more people got that too. And in the early morning there is almost no water in the bay (low tide) and the sun doesn’t shine over the high limestone cliffs either. It is special to be alone on the beach of Maya Bay and maybe also a little tough to say. But it is not Maya Bay at its best, because that is with water and sunlight in the bay. 

Maya Bay in the early morning without water and sun.
Speedboat Koh Phi Phi

The coral and marine life was seriously affected by the enormous popularity. As a result, the fish population in the bay declined dramatically and the coral died. The Thai authorities finally made the only correct but unpopular decision, May Bay was closed. For many tourists a big disappointment and also the head of the local tourism association wasn’t happy with the closure. Many locals were partially dependent on the income Maya Bay generated. 

Can you still visit Maya Bay?

Yes and no, you can still visit Maya Bay, but you can’t enter the beach because a part of the beautiful bay is marked with buoys and red flags. When you book a snorkel tour around the Phi Phi Islands you will probably still be able to go there to see the bay from a distance. However, the floats and red flags are not passed. There is a fine and there is surveillance on the beach. However, since time immemorial you can make a selfie again with a deserted white sandy beach in the background.

When will Maya Bay reopen? 

If and when Maya Bay will reopen for tourists is not yet clear. At first it was only a matter of a few months so nature could recover. Unfortunately this wasn’t enough time for the ecosystem to recover. That is why Maya Bay is now closed for an indefinite period of time. New coral has been placed and research is being done on how much time Maya Bay needs to recover. 

Maya Bay, board of rules snorkeling

Good news about Maya Bay!

But let’s end this article with good news, because there is! Lately sharks are being seen again and also the first baby sharks have been born in the bay. New coral is being released and the little coral that still exists seems to slowly recover. So there is still hope for the sealife in Maya Bay, hurray!

In the video below you can see the sharks swimming in the beautiful bay of Maya Bay!

Koh Phi Phi Leh is still worthwhile because this island also has other beautiful sights like the Pileh Lagoon, Viking Cave, Monkey Bay, Maya Corner and Loh Samah Bay which are still accessible! So you can still make beautiful island and / or snorkel tours around Koh Phi Phi Leh!

Nice things to do on Koh Phi Phi!

On Koh Phi Phi there are of course many more beautiful beaches and fun things to do! We have picked out some nice locations for you. Like well-appreciated accommodations, restaurants, bars and attractions that we think you shouldn’t miss! We hope this will make your visit to Phi Phi even more fun! Through the InfoBox below you can find more information.

Spending the night on Phi Phi Don

It is not always easy to find a good hotel or hostel on Koh Phi Phi. Because of the popularity of the island, the price-quality ratio is not always good. It is also important to take into account the parties on the beach of Loh Dalum Beach and in the village. If you sleep close to here you have a chance of noise nuisance. The hotels listed below are not in the party area, but some are within walking distance. So you have a good night’s sleep but do not miss anything.

  • The Pier 519 Hostel | In Ton Sai Village
    Good and quiet hostel in the center of Koh Phi Phi (next to the pier).
  • Viking Nature Resort | Between Ton Sai Beach and Long Beach
    A back to nature resort with two beautiful paradisiacal beaches on your doorstep. Half an hour walk from the center, partly on a jungle path. Or a longtail boat for 100 baht p.p.
  • Phi Phi Relax Beach Resort | At Phak Nan Bay
    Relax on a quiet beach far from the center of Koh Phi Phi!
  • U Rip Resort | At Ton Sai Beach TIP
    A good resort with the best value for money on the island. You Rip is located just outside the center of Ton Sai and within fifteen minutes you are on the Ton Sai Pier.
  • ChaoKoh Phi Phi Hotel & Resort | In Ton Sa Village
    In the center between the nice restaurants and bars.
  • Phi Phi Natural Resort | At Laem Thong Beach
    You can take a break on Ko Phi Phi here!
  • Phi Phi The Beach Resort | At Long Beach
    This resort is located on one of our favorite beaches of Koh Phi Phi! A beautiful resort to stay a few days in peace and quiet!
  • Holiday Inn Resort Phi Phi Island | AtLaem Thong Beach
    The well appreciated Holiday Inn can also be found on Koh Phi Phi! A top name on a top beach!
  • Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort | At Lo Ba Kao Bay
    Far away from the hustle and bustle, in a beautiful bay lies this great resort with a very nice pool!
  • Phi Phi Cliff Beach Resort | At Ton Sai
    You look out for Ton Sai but you’re away from the hustle and bustle! A fantastic resort where you are within 10 minutes in the center of Koh Phi Phi!

You can also read more about these locations through the best hotels on Koh Phi Phi. You can also read about our experience at the U Rip Resort at the beach of Ton Sai.

Good eats & drink on Koh Phi Phi

  • P.P. Wang Ta Fu TIP
    Our favorite when it comes to Japanese food on Koh Phi Phi! But the Ta Fu family also serves delicious Thai and Western dishes! Not for nothing almost always on #1 on TripAdvisor!
  • Aroy Kaffeine
    Whether you’re looking for a good breakfast, lunch, dinner or a good cup of coffee, at Aroy Kaffeine it’s always a pleasure!
  • Italiano Bar & Restaurant TIP
    The best pizzas and pastas of Phi Phi can be found in the main street of Ton Sai Village! Outstanding quality in an atmospheric restaurant helped by a very friendly team!
  • Grand PP Arcade
    Great in taste and conviviality! According to many visitors a must visit if you are staying at Phi Phi!
  • Efe Mediterranean Cuisine TIP
    Small but nice restaurant which is run by a very nice Turkish owner! Mediterranean hospitality in Thailand you will find here!
  • Unni’s Restaurant
    Whether you’re looking for something Thai, Mexican, American at Unni’s unique world flavors come together in this fun tent in Ton Sai Village!
  • The Coffee Club @ Koh Phi Phi
    Our favorite when it comes to coffee chains in Thailand! Super good coffee but also other delicious drinks and bites! So much better than Starbucks!

If you want to know more about the above restaurants read our article about the best restaurants on Koh Phi Phi.

Going out on Koh Phi Phi

  • Slinky Beach Bar
    The place on the beach of Loh Dalum to party with your feet in the sand!
  • Banana Bar Phi Phi
    Cozy bar / and good restaurant with roof terrace where films are still regularly shown on a large screen.
  • Reggae Bar Phi Phi
    Go into battle with your friends in the ring and get a bucket of mixed drinks as a reward or take part in the burger challenge!

Want to know the easiest way to get to the beautiful Koh Phi Phi? Then read on for the article here: Travelling to Koh Phi Phi.

More to discover on Koh Phi Phi

Take a look at our selection of some impressive pictures of Koh Phi Phi through our eighth Picture This article.

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