Part of Phi Phi Leh island, Maya Bay is sheltered by cliffs that shut more than 300 feet into the air. The white sand beach and stunning turquoise waters draw crowds for good reason: Maya Bay is one of the most photogenic places on earth.
Maya Bay was so overrun with tourists, that the Thai government actually closed it down for several years to let the landscape recover. However, it reopened to tourists in 2022.
The beach is only accessible by boat or ferry from Phuket and Krabi, a small town in Southern Thailand that has easy access to the entire Koh Phi Phi Island chain, including Maya Bay, so if you’re planning to visit this beach, you need to start in one of those two places.
Long tail boats (a common type of boat similar to a canoe used to transport tourists throughout Southeast Asia) and speed boats regularly depart for Maya Bay from Phuket and Krabi; the journey from both places is about 90 minutes. These are private tours, which often include lunch, and don’t stop just as Maya Bay but also explore some of the other Koh Phi Phi islands.
These island hopping tours sometimes make as many as eight stops, taking guests to spots like Bamboo Beach and Monkey Beach on Phi Phi Don, the only inhabited island in Koh Phi Phi islands. You can book experiences that include, in addition to a trip to Maya Bay, shark spotting and snorkeling excursions.
Boat tours usually don’t land directly on the main beach at Maya Bay, but at Loh Samay Bay, and require a short walk through the jungle before arriving at the iconic vistas of white stand and turquoise waters. Boats are typically no longer allowed to enter the bay directly thanks to conservation efforts from the Thai government.
Don’t necessarily expect to spend all day at at the bay – most boat tours available to tourists make many stops throughout the islands, so you may only be there for an hour. Though the beach is clean, Maya Bay tends to be crowded. Swimming isn’t even allowed anymore (however dipping your feet in the water is permitted), so you may only want enough time to snap a few pictures of the beach and cliffs before continuing on your journey.
There is an entrance fee – about $6 – and while there are no hotels on Phi Phi Leh island, nearby Phi Phi Don does offer accommodation. Otherwise, when your tour is over, you can return to Krabi or Phuket.