Wondering how to visit Maya Bay and skip the crowds? I will share all the best tips and everything you need to know before visiting Maya Bay.
Visitors are drawn to Maya Bay for its natural beauty. The bay is known for its crystal-clear turquoise waters and is surrounded by towering limestone cliffs.
In this Maya Bay travel guide, we will cover everything that you need to know before visiting Maya Bay. I will share the best tips on how to visit Maya Bay and how to make the most of your trip. Once you are done reading, I am sure you will be fully prepared to visit Maya Bay.
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Useful information about visiting Maya Bay
Where is Maya Bay?
Maya Bay in Thailand is right there in the Andaman Sea, snugly placed within the Strait of Malacca in the Krabi Province. Situated within the Hat Noppharat Thara–Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park, Maya Bay is a real treasure of Thailand.
If you look at the map, you will notice that the closest location is the iconic Phi Phi island. And it is tucked between two famous destinations – Phuket Island and Krabi Town. In fact, a lot of tourists think that Maya Bay is part of Phuket when in reality it is Krabi Province.
Why is Maya Bay so famous?
Maya Bay gained fame primarily due to its stunning natural beauty and its role as a filming location for the movie “The Beach,” released in 2000. The film, based on a novel by Alex Garland, features Leonardo DiCaprio and shows off the beautiful scenery of Maya Bay.
The beach’s reputation has grown organically through word of mouth and media exposure, making it one of the most beautiful places in Thailand. And for all the right reasons – you will love this secluded bay hidden between limestone cliffs and turquoise blue water.
Is Maya Bay worth visiting?
Maya Bay is worth visiting for its stunning beach and clear waters. The natural beauty of the place attracts many visitors who want to see the natural beauty of Thailand with limestone cliffs and crystal clear waters.
After spending 3 months in Thailand, I can say that this is one of the most beautiful places in Thailand, so yes, it is totally worth visiting, especially if you are planning to explore Southern Thailand.
Is Maya Bay open to visitors in 2024?
Maya Bay has faced challenges due to its popularity, leading to environmental concerns. In response, there have been conservation efforts aimed at preserving the delicate ecosystem and closure.
The closure was implemented in 2018 to protect the marine life and coral reefs in the area, which were being adversely impacted by the high volume of tourists. It was initially set for a few months but was extended to allow for a more substantial recovery.
Maya Bay underwent notable changes in late 2022 following its reopening, affecting the ways visitors can access and appreciate this newly protected environment.
So yes, Maya Bay is open to visitors in 2024, however, there are regulations that you need to respect and we will cover it all in this Maya Bay travel guide, so keep on reading.
Also, the Thailand government has decided to close Maya Bay for a couple of months each year to preserve nature. There are still no dates available for 2024, but that can be expected between August and October.
When is the best time to visit Maya Bay?
The best time to visit Maya Bay is during the dry season, which typically spans from December to March. During these months, the weather is more predictable, with lower chances of rainfall and calmer seas.
However, it is also the peak tourist season, so the bay may be more crowded. So visiting during the shoulder seasons of November-December or March-April might be a good compromise, as the weather is still favorable, and the number of tourists tends to be lower.
Where should you stay to visit Maya Bay?
You can’t spend a night at Maya Bay, however, it is important to know the most convenient location to easily access Maya Bay.
To visit Maya Bay, staying in the nearby areas of Phi Phi Island, Phuket or Krabi is a practical choice. These locations offer various accommodation options, ranging from budget to upscale, and provide convenient access to boat tours that can take you to Maya Bay.
Phi Phi is the closest location, which means it is the best place to stay to visit Maya Bay. Phi Phi itself is a wonderful place and spending a couple of nights on the island is an absolute must. And adding a day trip to Maya Bay will make your time in Phi Phi even better.
Where to stay in Phi Phi island?
- Luxury hotel: SAii Phi Phi Island Village
- Mid-range hotel: Phi Phi Villa Resort-SHA Extra Plus
- Affordable hotel: Viking Nature Resort
Phuket is another option and you can choose from multiple available day tours or book a private boat. It takes a longer time to reach Maya Bay, but you can still easily plan a day trip from Phuket to Maya Bay. If you are visiting Phuket, make sure you read the best areas to stay in Phuket.
Where to stay in Phuket?
- Luxury hotel: Sinae Phuket – SHA Extra Plus
- Mid-range hotel: Courtyard by Marriott Phuket Town
- Affordable hotel: Siray Green Resort
Last but not least is Krabi and just like Phuket, it takes time to reach Maya Bay, but with the right planning, you can reach Maya Bay and discover the beauty of it. If you are looking for a luxury experience in Krabi, you will love these 5-star Krabi resorts.
Where to stay in Krabi?
- Luxury hotel: The ShellSea Krabi I Luxury Beach Resort & Pool Villas
- Mid-range hotel: Venice Krabi Villa Resort- SHA Plus
- Affordable hotel: The Brown Hotel
How to visit Maya Bay?
Getting to Maya Bay involves a straightforward yet scenic journey by boat. Boat tours come in various types, including speedboats, longtail boats, group tours, and even private excursions for a more personalized experience.
If you are visiting Maya Bay during peak season, it is highly recommended that you book your tour in advance. But if you are in Thailand during shoulder season or low season, you can negotiate the best deals last minute.
How to reach Maya Bay from Phi Phi?
As you already know, Phi Phi Island offers the easiest access to Maya Bay. On top of that, staying on Phi Phi Island means that you can plan an early tour and skip the crowds at the Maya Bay.
When you walk around Phi Phi, you will see a lot of boats on the coast and I am pretty sure you will be approached by a few people offering a tour to Maya Bay. It requires a few negotiation skills, but this is the best way to book your long-tail boat to reach Maya Bay from Phi Phi Island.
This is exactly what we did and we found a guy who was willing to wake up before sunrise and bring us to Maya Bay. The price was around 2500 THB for 2 people and the tour lasted approximately 4 hours. Make sure you agree on the time, price, and itinerary before your trip.
Keep in mind that it takes approximately 40 minutes to reach Maya Bay from Phi Phi with a long-tail boat. Most of the tours offer 1 hour at the Maya Bay and additional stops for swimming, but we opted for 2 hours stop at the Maya Bay and fewer stops on the road.
If you want to plan your trip in advance, this is the best private tour from Phi Phi to Maya Bay with consistent 5-star ratings. You can pick between an early tour or an afternoon tour with the last stop at Maya Bay and avoid the crowds.
In case you don’t mind a shared tour and still want to be one of the early birds, this is a great option for you. However, this tour is with a speedboat, not the traditional long-tail boat.
Looking for a private luxury ponytail boat from Phi Phi to Maya Bay? You will love this tour!
RELATED: 10 Best 5 Star Resorts in Krabi
How to reach Maya Bay from Phuket?
Maya Bay is pretty close to Phuket and this is one of the most popular day trips from Phuket Island. You can reach Maya Bay from Phuket in around 90 minutes and you will need a boat to do it.
You can find a lot of daily ferries from Phuket Town to Phi Phi and then follow one of the options that I described above, but that is unnecessarily complicated and long. Picking a tour that takes care of these things is way more convenient and fun.
Most of the tours combine Maya Bay with Phi Phi Island and other attractions around. To be honest, it is a pretty busy itinerary and you certainly won’t be able to skip the crowds, but if you are on a clock and don’t have a couple of extra nights to stay in Phi Phi, it is the best option for you.
This is the top-rated tour from Phuket to Maya Bay and the raving reviews will just confirm that. It also includes a lunch buffet, national park fees, soft drinks, seasonal fruits, and snorkeling gear. You can opt-in for a hotel pick-up in Phuket as well.
Another great option is a Day Trip from Phuket to Phi Phi with a Private Longtail Tour. This tour includes a shared speedboat from Phuket to Phi Phi and your private long-tail boat from Phi Phi to Maya Bay.
How to reach Maya Bay from Krabi?
Just like Phuket, Krabi offers easy access to Maya Bay. Speedboat takes approximately 1 hour and the best decision is to join a tour to visit Maya Bay from Krabi. As an alternative, you can take a ferry from Krabi to Phi Phi and rent your own long-tail boat.
You can choose between Phi Phi Sunrise & 4 Islands by Speedboat with Lunch or Phi Phi and 4 Islands Early Bird Tour as they are both very similar and top-rated. Phi Phi Islands Small Group Tour is a great option if you want a small and intimate group tour.
Or you can pick this tour that offers a shared speedboat to Phi Phi island and a private long tail boat from Phi Phi to Maya Bay. You won’t be able to escape the crowds, but taking a long-tail boat is one of the most iconic experiences in Thailand.
How to avoid crowds at Maya Bay?
Considering the popularity of Maya Bay and the limited space in the National Park, it gets very busy. As you can see in the previous chapter, one way to avoid crowds in Maya Bay is to visit it during shoulder season.
If you are visiting Maya Bay during peak season and you want to avoid crowds at Maya Bay, you will have to plan a private tour at sunrise (and preferably from Phi Phi Island). This is exactly what we did and we were the first to arrive at Maya Bay – it was a one-of-a-lifetime experience.
We booked a long tail boat the day before and requested to be at the Maya Bay at sunrise. It takes approximately 45 minutes from Phi Phi Island and it was still dark when we were on the way. This way, we could see Maya Bay without the crowds.
I will share more details about how to visit Maya Bay from Phi Phi in the next chapters.
Maya Bay is open daily from 7 am until 6 pm, with the last entry at 5 pm. So as an alternative, you can try to be one of the last visitors and visit Maya Bay a couple of hours before closing time. However, I don’t have first-hand experience with that.
Best things to do in Maya Bay
Since the recent closure, there have been a lot of adjustments and currently, most of the activities are forbidden at the Maya Bay, including swimming. Yes, you read that right.
You can visit Natural Park and appreciate the beauty of Maya Bay. Take some photos of the postcard views. Or lay down on the beach to get some tan, but that’s about it.
This is why most of the tours plan 1 hour long stop at the Maya Bay. We planned a 2-hour long stay since we had our private long-tail boat, however, I can say that 1 hour is enough.
What are the recent rules and regulations when visiting Maya Bay in 2024?
The list is quite long and while some things make perfect sense, others might seem a bit extreme. It is important to follow these rules to preserve nature and avoid possible fines.
- Do not remove the coral, corallines, shells, and marine life from the national park.
- You are not allowed to swim or snorkel in the National Park.
- You shouldn’t use sunscreens that are harmful to corals.
- You also can’t bring polystyrene foam boxes to the area.
- Littering is not allowed, but that should go without the saying.
- Drones are not allowed in the National Park unless you have permission.
- No boat parking in the Maya Bay Area.
So what to expect when visiting Maya Bay in 2024?
Your captain will park the boat on the opposite side of Maya Bay as the boat parking is not allowed on the bay side anymore.
Once you jump off the boat you will find the ticket booth and you will need to pay 400 THB. If you are visiting on a boat tour, it might be included in the price. If not, you will need to pay this amount before entering.
From there, you will take a short path through the jungle to reach Maya Bay. It takes less than 10 minutes and there are enough signs to guide you in the right direction – it is pretty straightforward.
At the end of the path, you will find a beautiful viewpoint of the Maya Bay and after that, you have finally reached your destination.
If you are an early bird, I suggest you start with some photos and then sit down to soak in all the beauty around you.
It is important that you communicate with your guide about how much time you have at Maya Bay and how to find him on the way back. We communicated via WhatsApp, but it could be different in case you don’t have an internet connection.
Once you are done, you will probably make other stops around Maya Bay. You can ask your guide to include a swimming and snorkeling spot.
More things to know about visiting Maya Bay
How much is the entrance fee for Maya Bay?
The entrance fee for Maya Bay is 400 THB for adults and 200 THB for children. Once you get off the boat, you will see a small booth where you can purchase your ticket and I highly recommend you bring extra cash for it.
Note that some tours include this ticket in the booking fee, so I recommend you check all the details when making your choice. If you choose to hide a private long-tail boat on your own, most likely it won’t include the ticket fee.
What are the opening hours of Maya Bay?
Maya Bay is open daily from 7 am until 6 pm, with the last entry at 5 pm.
I was a bit surprised to see that there are opening hours for Maya Bay considering that it is an island, but at the same time, it makes perfect sense, because it is a National Park after all.
Can you sleep in Maya Bay?
No, you can’t sleep in Maya Bay and the closest possible option is Phi Phi Island. Other great alternatives are Phuket and Krabi.
Can you swim at Maya Bay?
Even though the main attraction of the national park is the beach, it is not allowed to swim at Maya Bay as per recent regulations. However, you will surely have a swimming stop on your way to Maya Bay.
What to pack for Maya Bay?
Even though you can’t swim at Maya Bay, there probably will be other opportunities to swim, so bring your swimsuit, sun hat, and extra pair of clothes. Reef-safe sunscreen is required as well.
Can you fly a drone at Maya Bay?
No, as of 2024 drones as not allowed at the Maya Bay unless you have a special permit. Despite that, you will see a lot of people using drones in the area which can end up with a fine. You can fly your drone outside of the National Park and on top of the Phi Phi Islands.
Further reading for how to visit Maya Bay
Heading North next?
- 10 Best Photo Spots in Chiang Rai, Thailand
- Chiang Mai Itinerary: How to Spend 3 Days in Chiang Mai
- 13 Best Photo Spots in Chiang Mai You Don’t Want to Miss
Other useful tips for visiting Thailand
🏠 Need a place to stay? Browse Booking or Agoda
💃 How about fun experiences? GetYourGuide, Viator, and Klook have it all
🚗 Considering renting a car in Thailand? Use Rentalcars
🚂 If you need transfers, bus or train tickets, check 12Go
🔒 Don’t forget about travel insurance from HeyMondo
This is the end of Maya Bay travel guide which covers how to get to Maya Bay and everything else that you need to know before visiting Maya Bay.
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