Maya Bay is a stunningly beautiful bay that's sheltered by 100-metre high cliffs on three sides. Inside the bay there are several beaches, most are small and some only exist at low tide. The main one is around 200 metres long with silky soft white sand, underwater colourful coral and exotic fish in exceptionally clear water; the whole bay is one big reef.
Maya Bay has become the main tourist attraction of Phi Phi since The Beach was filmed here in 1999. It was always very popular before the film but now people around the world who haven't even heard of Phi Phi have certainly heard of Maya Bay.
The best time to visit Maya Bay is between November and April during the high season when seas are calm and access to the bay is easy. Rough seas from May to October may hinder access but rarely deny entry.
The bad news: as it's so beautiful and so well known many boats are required to ferry all the visitors in and out. On any given day at any time there will be 30 + speedboats and longtail boats on the beach, with large ferry boats carrying hundreds of snorkelers and sightseers moored in deeper water. Beautiful it is, secluded it isn't – thousands of people visit each day. Try to visit early in the morning or after 17:00 and you'll avoid the crowds.
Please note that if you enter the bay on your own there is a National Park entry fee of 200 baht. This cost is included in the price of a tour.
My fault was choosing the big boat.
Why I said so?
First you have to share the big boats (it is huge with 3 floors) with so many people where the seats are limited and the air conditioner is only placed in front of the room.
As you know, the weather is very hot and what you need the most is the cooling air conditioner to keep you feel good and not sweating all the time.
The problem with the big boat is it cannot go near to the beach as the small boat could. So, you cannot capture the view at the beach with your camera or step and enjoy the sand. If you plan to swim to the beach, it is very far. Imagine how are you going to swim back to the boat and what about your camera?
Then you have to queue for the snorkeling equipment. A very long queue I'd say. During snorkeling for 2 hours, the air conditioner will be turned off and the toilet will be locked! 2 hours... it is a very long time to stay there and worse for those who just want to capture the scenery and not doing snorkeling. If you do snorkeling then it is just between so many boats around you. Most of us might dream of walking at the beach and run to the sea just as what you have watched in The Beach, don't you?
Next time, I will surely go with small boat which can keep you happy, go anywhere at Maya Bay you want and take your own time. The tourist guide did not inform us about the small boat at all. I don't care about paying more if it's worth it rather than pay less and you have to stay in a big boat with so many people like a can of sardines.
Worst part is so many self centered people in the boat and mostly Indian. I'm not racist but I guess the Indian in the boat that day were rich based on the outfit and so on. Just that the behavior. I was in front of the air conditioner and the Indians could just take off their shirt and drying their arm pit in front of the air conditioner! Oh man! Isn't that an idiotic act and very self centered. Sorry but true the smell was not as nice as your preferred perfume, at all!
Another thing is, do not go from Phuket. Go from Krabi.
The boat and snorkeling session was totally a bad experience for me. I have learned a lesson :)