Stand on the sand that put Krabi on the map at Maya Bay

Maya Bay is probably the most iconic thing about the Phi Phi Islands. Its unique geography truly makes it one of the most stunning locations on the planet. Surrounded by soaring cliffs on three sides, the bay is only accessible by boat. Inside, you’ll find crystal clear waters and colorful coral reefs. The water’s edge is surrounded by several beaches, the longest of which is around 200 meters long. Soft, white sand is abundant, and frames the stunningly turquoise seawater.

Popular activities here are snorkeling, diving and kayaking. Because of the remarkably clear water, explorers can glimpse colorful fish and corals. By kayak, you can examine the edges of the cove from above the water. It’s breathtakingly beautiful, and a truly unparalleled experience.

Maya Bay’s popularity has grown since 1999, when the film The Beach was shot here. It tells the story of a group of travelers who escape real life to find paradise on a hidden Thai beach. The movie gained a cult following, and now the bay attracts throngs of tourists, hoping to catch their own slice of bliss. During peak season, Maya Bay attracts up to 5,000 visitors a day. Gorgeous it is, peaceful it is not. If you’re hoping to glimpse this emblematic cove, the best time to do it is early morning.

Unfortunately, all the attention that Maya Bay receives has had a negative effect on its ecosystem. In March 2018, Thai officials announced the closure of Maya Bay for the 2018 low season. While the government still allows boats to skirt the entrance of the cove, the beach itself is off-limits until at least November 2018. Instead of frolicking on the sand in the midst of hundreds of people, tourists can view the beach from the water, a still magnificent sight. Along with cleanup efforts, officials hope that the temporary closure will help restore Maya Bay to its original glory.

When Maya Bay does reopen to tourists, we can all do our part to preserve this precious marine environment. Avoid feeding fish, and leave only your foot (flipper) prints behind.