Visiting the Phi Phi Islands is a gorgeous experience and one that lots of travellers to Krabi and Phuket will want to experience. Whether or not you choose a day, or choose to spend a relaxing few days on the islands, you’ll find ample opportunities to visit the famed (and pretty darn gorgeous), Maya Bay.
Maya Bay is one of the most iconic places to explore when visiting the Phi Phi Islands, not just because of its gorgeous beach but the protected status that Ko Phi Phi Le truly deserves… ahhh, who am I kidding, it might also be because it found fame after that famous book and film, The Beach! 🙂
Whatever your reasons for visiting this gorgeous bay, there’s quite a few tips you need to know before you arrive. Take a look at some of the things you need to know when visiting Maya Bay.
1.) The boat ride can be choppy
A choppy boat ride seems fine for a 20-minute journey but give it an extra 2 hours and I guarantee your stomach will tell you differently! You can travel to Phi Phi Islands (Mainly, Koh Phi Phi Don) from Phuket which takes approximately 2 hours or 1.5 hours from Krabi. The largest island is a few miles away from Maya Bay and easily accessible in the right conditions by boat.
You’ll be able to buy your tickets in advance (from most larger hotels), at the boat itself or merchants in the main towns, just prepare for that delightfully awful seasickness during choppy seas (safe to say no one likes being green-faced on a 2-hour boat ride)
2.) It gets exceptionally busy
This means two things for us as travellers. One, it means there are greater options in regards to small boat companies that charter boats from the larger Koh Phi Phi Don to Maya Bay itself. Secondly, it means you’ll likely be sharing the bay with hundreds of others and a bay filled with speedboats. This isn’t always the idyllic image we have about visiting the bay but it’s the very real reality of visiting a popular destination and something to bear in mind before planning your visit.
3.) Time your trip to avoid the crowds
The best way to avoid the crowds is to go as early as you can in the morning and/or visit when the water is too low for the boats to enter the bay itself. When this happens you will have to jump off your boat and swim (with a lifejacket) to the rocky back of the island. The swim will be about 50-100 metres, depending on the water level. I’d only recommend the latter option if you’re a confident swimmer and you don’t mind scaling the rocky banks.
4.) Pack plenty of drinking water
Don’t expect any shops/stalls that sell food or drinks once you get to the island, that makes it imperative that you take adequate drinking water with you. Make sure you pack at least 2 litres if you’re planning on swimming/walking in the humid conditions.
5.) Embrace island life
Phi Phi Islands are a special place that attracts people from all over the world, with most travellers staying on Koh Phi Phi Don. This means that the small town itself can be quite crowded and filled with people, this can be a little different from the image you might have of Phi Phi but it doesn’t have to be negative. Embrace the evenings on the beach and explore the market stalls with all the hustle and bustle that comes with it.
6.) You will get bitten
There’s almost no escaping it, you will get bitten by mosquitos… come day or night, they seem to love this humid paradise. If you tend to get bitten, make sure you pack a strong DEET Mosquito Spray to ward off those hungry critters (your legs will thank you)!
7.) Snorkel the bays
If you’re planning on visiting Maya Bay, take some time to snorkel along the shores, which are incredible! If you’re an inexperienced snorkeller, make sure you stay close to the boat, grab a life jacket and always stay within plain sight of the boat’s crew.
8. Hotel choices are limited
With Koh Phi Phi Don being such a small island, it doesn’t offer the same choice in regards to hotels and lodges as you might be used to on larger islands. One thing that is great is that you’ll find a huge array of hotels to meet your budget. Take a look at some of the best-rated hotels to stay in, right here.
9.) Explore the wider region
Whatever you want to do when you visit this region, there is so much to see within the Andaman Sea and the relatively close, Ao Phang-nga National Park too. Explore the local region (either by road or water) and I guarantee you’ll fall head over heels in love with this place!
10.) Don’t feed the monkeys
You’ll see quite a few monkeys on the islands, which is great… but you will often be encouraged to feed the monkeys by certain guides that are showing you around. I have to admit, I did end up feeding this little guy a bit of my watermelon but in hindsight, I wouldn’t do this again. This behaviour can cause a huge dependency for monkeys scavenging for food, which isn’t great when they’re wild animals. Admire them, enjoy looking at them but try to avoid feeding them and allow them to forage naturally.