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Take Me to The Beach: Maya Bay & Other Islands in Ko Phi Phi

Honestly, I was expecting a lot from Maya Bay, but like most popular tourist destinations, visions of pristine beaches and picture perfect photos must be tempered with reality.

It was monsoon season, my initial trip to Maya Bay got cancelled because of the fierce waves. I decided to head to Ko Phi Phi to make sure that I got to see the island before I left Thailand and never to return again for quite some time.

Tempering Expectations 

It was an uneventful boat ride from Phuket to Ko Phi Phi, as soon as I arrived, I was immediately disappointed in Ko Phi Phi. The island has two places which are Ko Phi Phi Don and Ko Phi Phi Le. It was way too developed and way too crowded to be called an island paradise. I immediately looked for a place to stay, got lost, and got stuck in the rain. Just great I thought to myself, raining again. When it stopped raining, I finally found my hostel and was told that they overbooked, another bummer, cheers to travel and adventure. I was quickly whisked away to a cheaper hostel dorm room somewhere. It was cheap...let's keep it at that. I was in 'it's-just-a-bed-for-a-night-or-two-mode' during my stay in Ko Phi Phi.

Monkey Island

I booked a long tail boat tour to the nearby islands for around 550 Baht, and the first destination was Monkey Island. There was really nothing special about the island, other than the monkeys milling about. but Monkey Island wasn't the place I wanted to go to, so I just went with the flow.


There was a snorkeling area that was a part of the itinerary. If you've been to Palawan, Dumaguete, or other islands in the Philippines, you'd find this snorkeling spot to be average at best. But I still had fun wading around the water and looking at the colorful fish.

Maya Bay

After visiting so-so spots, we were finally in Maya Bay, the entrance at least. The boat suddenly stopped and the driver said that we had to jump off and swim to enter the bay. I saw the waves and I was like, what???? We had no choice. The other passengers and I put on our life vests and jump off the boat to swim to the net that led up to the bay. It wasn't easy to get to the entrance and climb the ropes because the waves pulled and pushed us all over the place.

My excitement was in full throttle as we walked to the famous Maya Bay. We were there in a matter of minutes...and so were dozens of other people, so much for paradise. There were people and speedboats all over the place. The Beach wasn't like the same paradise you'd see in the famous movie. But as visitors get younger, the movie reference wouldn't make much sense anymore either.

There are times when the crowds would suddenly dissipate, and you'd see vestiges of Maya Bay's natural beauty. The sand was white and fine, the sand would quickly fall through your open palm or fit right into the space between your toes. The towering limestone formations that hug the bay are picturesque.

I liked Maya Bay, I just didn't like the droves of tourists and speedboats coming and going, in and out of the island. You could still see remnants of the bay's beauty, but it ebbs and flows with the groups of tourists that come and go.

*There is a 100 Baht environmental fee to enter the Bay.

Bamboo Island 

After visiting the busy Maya Bay, we were off to Bamboo Island, spending around an hour on it.

Bamboo Island is quite popular as well. There were a lot of speedboats along the white sand shore.

The Chinese take over, they're everywhere!

Spent quite some time wandering around the island and beach bumming. The fine white sand was just right, but it was quite difficult to find a good swimming spot because most of the speedboats were along the shore, you'd have to go further out to get a good swim.

The trip came to an abrupt end when almost everyone on the boat decided to head back to Phi Phi instead of stopping in some of the other islands on the itinerary. You'll enjoy the islands, if you temper your expectations.

Phi Phi Island

I spent two nights in Phi Phi, and it is definitely a party island, but the crowd is more Western, there were pockets of other Asian tourists aside from myself, but by and large it was like Europe or North America. There were parties every night, even in low season. I liked the fire dances that took place along the shores' bars. Sleeping in Phi Phi is difficult, especially if you are staying in the dorm room. Don't be surprised to be woken by drunk and rowdy British guys that weren't supposed to be in the room in the wee hours of the morning.

How to Get to Ko Phi Phi

There are ferries from either Krabi or Phuket that travel to Ko Phi Phi, the fare is 300 Baht from Krabi and 350 Baht from Phuket. The first ferry leaves at 8 AM, I forget the time of the last ferry going back to either Phuket or Krabi, I think it was around 3 PM. I stayed in La Mamita Guest House for two nights. The bed in the dorm costs 250 Baht per night.


  1. Maya bay looks really scenic. Too bad that it feels crowded and developed already.

  2. I think it's really hard to travel when it's raining. Good thing you found a place to stay before it stopped. Snorkeling seemed fun!

  3. Phi Phi seems like Boracay to me since they're both party islands. I'd rather go somehwere where one can commune with nature and a place more serene.

  4. Gosh - that beach! I would so want to go there - definitely a place I could see myself wanting to take a dive - relax and just have my own liesure time.

  5. I admire the rock formations of the place! Really hope to go to the beach to close the year

  6. I admire this place because it is tranquil