Skip to Content

Maya Bay – How to Visit ‘The Beach’ Without the Crowds!

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for details.

Ah, The Beach!

It was one of my favourite moves that inspired me to travel to Thailand.

For those of you who haven’t seen the movie starring the gorgeous Leonard DiCaprio or read the book by Alex Garland, I’ll give you an insanely brief summary.

What is The Beach all about?

It’s a story set in Thailand about a backpacker who wants to search for a forbidden island in the Thai Gulf.

An island that has been untouched by the western world and is a paradise with freedom.

He’s gifted with a hand-drawn map at his hostel in Bangkok and goes south on the search with some travellers he meets on the way.

They swim off the shores of Koh Samui to find the island, on landing they jump off the cliff to find the secluded beach… I’ll leave it there if you want to read/watch more!

It’s an amazing book that paints the picture of a backpackers dream, living in utopia while being self-sufficient without money and celebrating absolute freedom!

Visiting Maya Bay in Thailand

The movie brought it to life for me though and when I found out I could visit the film location at Maya Bay I just had to go and see it!

There was one problem though, tourists.

Although I was one myself, when reading reviews of Maya I just saw pictures of hundreds of tourists and boats pulled up on its shore…not the picturesque secluded beach that Alex Garland spoke of.

So, I decided to beat the crowds and go early!

Here is all the info you need to visit The Beach and get it to yourself!

FullSizeRender 164

How to get to Maya Bay

Maya Bay is situated around 30-40 minutes from Koh Phi Phi.

It is on a little island called Phi Phi Leh and the boat will crawl around and pull into the bay.

You can go on an organised boat trip, which travels around the surrounding islands with other tourists but they set out from around 8/9 am.

By 12pm there are just crowds and crowds of people swarming the place!

What you can do to avoid this, is get a private boat from the harbour and negotiate a rate for going early. You will need to travel around 7/7.30am but it is SO worth it! 

Alternatively, you can go on a Maya Bay Tour from Koh Phi Phi and stay the night there – no crowds whatsoever!

If you’re worried about being sleepy, you really can’t beat the sunrises in Thailand – the colours will wake you up!

FullSizeRender 171
FullSizeRender 174

Sounds great! How much is a boat ride to Maya Bay?

We paid around £20 for our charter to the Island. Not a bad price to go on a private charter and explore paradise.

You will pay less for an island tour, but not by much!

What can you do on Maya Bay?

Explore around! It is so serene and beautiful as the mountains curl around the bay.

There is a cafe/bar on the island and the infamous Maya Bay sign!

FullSizeRender 170

How long does it take to get there?

As long as you like!

The great thing is that you can swim there, chill out, have a drink, and just take in the atmosphere. There doesn’t have to be a time limit.

Is there anything else you can do on the tour?

After we explored Maya Bay and saw more and more tourists arrive, we jetted off around the Island and went scuba diving!

The waters are so crystal clear, you can see all the colourful fish floating around you.

There are also caves and other bays to explore, just ask your captain to pull you over to what you want to see!


Was it worth it?

Absolutely, I loved every second and the fact that there wasn’t anybody there, really made my dream of visiting The Beach come true!

It was worth every penny of my tight budget, plus if you negotiate with one of the drivers beforehand you will save so much more than booking online beforehand!

Read more on South East Asia

White Temple guide for Thailand

Mount Bromo Tour in Java

Top places to visit in Melaka

Places to visit in Luang Prabang in Laos

Kuang Si Falls guide, Laos

The best places in Vietnam

How much is a Singapore Sling at Raffles

Visiting the Tiger Balm Gardens in Singapore

Top tips for travelling to Myanmar

Top things to do in Mandalay, Myanmar


Thursday 5th of January 2023

hi I really appreciate this and I am keen to take my wife and son there early to beat the crowds. I just want to leave Phi Phi Don and see Phi Phi Leh early before the crowds. Happy just todo this for an hour or two and then head back to Phi Phi Don. Have you got any advice please?


Saturday 7th of January 2023

@Sophie Pearce, Thanks Sophie and appreciate your response. I have never been to these particular islands. We are traveling to Phi Phi Don in a couple of months. I guess I am really just wondering where we can hire a private charter. I don't know if this would be from a particular beach or perhaps a pier? Thanks again :)

Sophie Pearce

Thursday 5th of January 2023

Hi Andy, I think the best way to do this would be to get up early for sunrise and hire a private charter to take you! Since it's reopened, the rules keep changing about when boats can arrive, etc. So, make sure to check when you get there what the latest rules are. I would try to avoid the bigger group trips as they will visit for peak times. Thanks, Sophie x