Maya Bay, the Beach of the Andaman
Thailand’s sea projects the beauty to attract many tourists from over the world and a place like “Maya Bay” the paradise on earth where has been the dream destination for the foreigners as “The Beach” in their dream and wish can have a chance to visit the place once in the lifetime.
Maya Bay or Ao Maya is a beach nestles in the Phi Phi Leh Island the second large islands of the world-famous Phi Phi Archipelago in Krabi in the south of Thailand. The Maya Bay is the creation of the nature from the collapsed limestone cliff surrounded the bay resulted in the crescent curve of the bay environed with the towering limestone mountain. The place recognized as another hallmark of the Andaman Sea that many travelers put in the wish-list destinations to lay down on the powdery soft white sand beach and soak in the emerald transparent water surrounded by the lovely and natural circumstance of the sea plants. Unsurprisingly, the beach considered by the foreign tourists as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
The Hidden paradise in the Andaman
Maya Bay situates at the Phi Phi Leh Island where the location is not far from Phuket. Initially, Maya Bay was well-known among the tourist until the Hollywood Box Office film called “The Beach” chose the place as the location for the film. Since then, the Maya Beach becomes one of the dream destinations for the tourists around the world instantly. And this paradise in the sea world had welcome the enormous numbers of the tourists both domestic and abroad.
Maya Bay created as same as the development of the Pileh Bay and parts of the cliff which cuddled the bay collapsed resulted in the ample open space to connect to the world outside and allowed the sea water to enter to the area. Besides the proper circulation of the water flow within the bay, this limestone island is over 10 km distant from the mainland so that the location is less impact by the sediment from the Pang Nga Bay. Consequently, the water her is very transparent to allow the light to go through the water appropriately. The young corals floating around the area attached on the piled limestones in the middle of the bay and had propagated species for over thousands of years until the coral reef covered all the area of the Maya Bay. And while the development in the sea was progress, the progression on the shore changed to become the sea beach, and the possible seeds or fruits of the sea plants that came with the waves and animals grew up and covered over 50 Rai of the island’s space.
Maya Bay Limestone Cliff
The Maya Bay has the hidden area inside the limestone cliff which is about 250 meters in its length. Part of it was furnished by nature to be the 5-15 broad of the sand beach. Once stepping on the beach, you can feel the velvet touch of this little beach plus the radiant of the white pearly sand that reflects the sunlight presenting the flawless beauty of this hidden gem in the Andaman. The mildly soft touch of the sand here is part of the subsequence from the damaged corals according to its life circle for over century.
To indulge with the duvet-soft pearly sandy beach and look at the perspective of the colorful long-tail boats anchoring along the coast that contrast with the emerald shade of the water is such a heart-taking moment to experience. Moreover, do not miss to bathe in the crystal-clear water and discover the under the sea world environed by the towering limestone cliffs.
Maya Bay Corner
Although parts of the coral reefs in the shallow water area of Maya Bay damaged the space called “Maya Bay Corner” here is still the favourite spot for the beginner of diving to explore the world under the sea surrounded with the corals and caves. On the other hand, for one who is more skilled the Maya Bay South is the right place for you to experience lots of sea animals such as blacktip reef shark, sea turtle, and Bannerfish. Moreover, the tourist can book the diving tour to check in at Garang Heng spot and dive with the Leppard shark, the shoal of barracuda, and yellow stripe fusilier.
Every single day, there are motor boats, long-tail boats, and yachts anchor at the Maya Bay with numbers of the tourists. The beach is crowded with the visitors in the late morning. So, to avoid the busyness, it is recommended to arrive at the bay in the morning or extend your time here until the afternoon after 5 pm to enjoy the Maya Bay when the place is quiet and more relaxed.
About the tourist facility at Maya Bay, there is only small snacks shop and restrooms. It is prohibited here for any permanent construction of the accommodation. For anyone who would like to stay the night need to go back the hotel at the Phi Phi Leh Island.
Travelling to Maya Bay from both Phuket and Krabi is convenient. There are long-tail boat and ferry services provided to the tourists whether the transit trip or straight trip to Maya Bay. The best period to visit the location is between November to April annually because the weather is quite calm and the water is most transparent.
Saving Maya Beach
The fame of its stunning beauty has lured many travellers to take the trip to Maya Bay. Unfortunately, some parts of the coral reef at the front of the bay turned to be the reclining reef which caused by the anchoring of the motorboats and the Tsunami disaster in 2004. The place, nonetheless, has restored to be as good as it was. But the environment in overall becoming critical situation from the lack of proper management in tourism.
The turning point of the Maya Bay is the Hollywood film “The Beach” leading starred by Leonardo Dicaprio that chose the beach here as the location for the production and showed in the cinema a year after. And then the movie has inspired many people around the world to visit the Maya Bay. Afterwards, the coral reef at the bay has been damaged enormously from the tourism activities – diving, anchoring of the transportation boats, access of the boats, etc. until there are approximately 3,000-4,000 of the tourists per day visiting at the site.
With the critical crisis of the natural environment around the area of Maya Bay brought about the announcement to close the area for temporary which is the breaking news for the world! The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation proclaims to close Maya Bay temporarily for 4 months to restore the natural environment of the place that is destroyed by the tourism whether ships and tourists dated on March 28, 2018. The beach will be under the restoration for its natural resources both shore and under the sea during the monsoon period which is between June 1 – September 30 for 4 months in total and it will be like this annually abidingly.
Traveling Maya by on closed season
During the close season, it is strictly prohibited to make any toured trip to the area of Maya Bay. However, the travel operators are allowed to drift over the area outside the Tiny Boundary Buoy. And after the building of the quay and walkway at Loh Samah Bay completed the Maya Bay will be strictly forbidden from any boat access permanently. Thence, the tourists can access the Maya Beach via the Loh Samah Quay only.
The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation revealed that the summary from the meeting with the related travel business including private and local presided by the provincial governors. It is every single travelling ships and catamarans will be able to access to the Maya Beach via the Loh Samah Quay and then continue to the destination by foot only.
The office is preparing to develop the route to Loh Samah Bay which is at the rear of Maya Bay to handle for the tourists in the future. This is the solution to prevent the beach of Maya Bay from the anchoring of the boats that is the primary cause to destroy the coral reef and the beach and subsequently the environment of the location.
Within the 4 months of restoration which is the monsoon season, the boat riders said that it is the low season of the location that is less of the tourists and boat services. Anyhow, it is possible to access the Maya Bay via Loh Samah Bay, and the tourists will swim from the boat to climb up on the fixed ladders that attached to the bridge.
And another supporting information from the oceanographer convinced that the “Speed Boat” is the primary factor to demolish the coral reef from the anchoring along the reef and the boat propeller that diffuse the sand.
This action is the coordination of the Boat Department and the villagers of Phi Phi Islands to save the environment of the place, and it gets good feedback from the world with lots of comments to appreciate this thing. The people of the Phi Phi target that from now on they would like to welcome the quality tourists with the environmental concern. And they will keep developing the natural environment of the Maya Bay and other tourist attractions within the Phi Phi Archipelago as the lovely powdery white sandy beach, crystal-clear emerald water, and beautiful coral reef to be worthwhile with the name as “The paradise of the Andaman”.
How to go to the Maya Bay
** Please check the trip to Phi Phi Islands
1. One Day Trip
The tourist can travel to Phi Phi Island by the one-day trip package operated by the travel agents in Krabi, Ao Nang Pier, and Phuket (Tha Chalong Pier). However, according to the development plan mentioned above the boat operation to Maya Bay will be changed in the future.
The package tours mostly included the Phi Phi Leh, Maya Bay, Pileh Bay, and Loh Samah Bay in the trip. And it will have a lunch break at the Phi Phi Don and continues the journey to any attractions at the Phi Phi Don Island, i.e. Ton Sai Bay, Loh Dalum Bay, and Phi Phi Don Viewpoint.
2. Overnight Trip
From Chao Fa Pier in Krabi Town, there are the ferry services depart from Krabi to Phi Phi Islands 2 trips daily at 10 am and 2.30pm. And the ships back from Phi Phi Islands to Krabi leave at 9.00am and 1.00pm, and the price is THB150 per person per trip. It is approximately 2 hours for the boat trip. Once arriving at the Phi Phi Islands, the tourists can hire the long-tail boat service to visit any tourist spots including Ton Sai Bay and Phi Phi Don.