Overnight at Maya Bay

Published: May 18th 2012EDIT THIS ENTRY

Niki returned the next day and we had a fairly relaxed last couple of days on Phi Phi, enjoying beers on the beach, walking up the viewpoint and laying in hammocks arouund the island.
Niki got in a couple more fun dives and we decided for our last night in Phi Phi we would do an overnight camping trip to Maya Bay on Phi Phi Ley, the smaller neighboring island.
Maya bay is made popular by the Leonardo DiCaprio film "The Beach". Its an amazingly busy beach during the day, with hundreds of tourists catching longtails over or taking chartered boats to the beach for the afternoon to swim, snorkel and lay in the sun.
I'd been warned by a lot of people that it was a huge tourist trap in the day and that you'd barely be able to see the beach for all the boats on it. Knowing this I'd basically avoided going there, I really had no driving need to go because it was featured in a film. I did want to see the island, since its uninhabited and a protected park and it seemed like this was the ideal way to do it.
Only one company is allowed to do the trip to the island and it goes every night. The boat can hold about 20 people or so and when we got on board we found out that 5 or 6 of them were from Canada. Two from Calgary and 2 from Delta. The rest were from various countries and were all very friendly and eager.
The whole trip is really worth it and I definitely recommend it if you get a chance. For 2400 Baht you get a snorkel trip on the way there and the way back, dinner, a late night bbq and breakfast. Not to mention you get the island to yourself for the night. You also skip a nights accomodation so overall its a fair deal.
Our snorkel stop on the way to the island was my first real taste of proper snorkelling. The water was packed with colorful fish and beautiful coral and we all swam around for 45 minutes enjoying the curious fish that would swim right up to you without any fear.
We cruised around the island and got a good look at all the beautiful cliffs and caves before coming around the corner to Maya Bay just before sunset.
We arrived just as the last of the boats was leaving the beach and as promised had the entire beach to ourselves.
As we pulled up on shore our guide KoKo showed us to the shack just off the beach where we would be leave our things and have our meals. We all dropped our stuff off and went down to enjoy the beautiful stretch of empty beach.
Niki busted out a hoop session and some of us swam out into the bay to get a better look at the sunset around the corner from a little rock ledge.
As I was swimming back from the ledge I was coming up to shore and noticed a couple of the other guys standing on the beach where I was headed looking at something in the water. I got closer and heard a couple of them say something about sharks. Haha, thats like the oldest joke right? Call out shark as someone is out in the water. So as I'm coming up to shore I notice movement to my sides and, sure enough... sharks.
To my right and left were two black tipped reef sharks, each about a foot and a half long. I stood up and watched them swim around my feet. They were surprisingly calm around me and though they didnt get that close they were close enough for me to get a really good look at them. Very cool.
We all swam around a bit then headed back up to the shack to get to know one another and have a buffet dinner of various curries and a couple free buckets that were provided with the trip.
We chatted for a little while longer and our guide put on a little fire show for us before we all crashed out on the beach.
Like most nights, there was an amazing lightning show off in the distance. The storm itself was out of sight behind the cliffs so the starry sky was illuminated every now and again by bright flashes all night long, it was a pretty incredible experience, sleeping on the Beach in Maya bay as lightning flashed overhead.
I woke the next morning to see some people standing out in the water in what looked like a patch of sea weed. I got up and walked down to the water to see that they were standing in a densely packed school of fish. The fish were being herded into a huge ball by a school of small baracuda on one side and about 10 baby black tipped reef sharks on the other. I waded out into the water and tried to snap a few shots of the sharks underwater but they were a little too quick for me to get a decent shot.
A few minutes later our guide called out that breakfast was on so we all made our way up the beach for some coffee and eggs. We were just finishing breakfast when the first of the days boats started to pile in. Before long the beach was filling up and it was time for us to go.
We headed back to the Phi Phi with a quick snorkel stop on the way.
If any of you ever find yourself on Phi Phi I highly recommend doing this trip. You can book it through a restaurant called Lemon Grass. You won't regret it.
Niki and I had a few hours to kill before our boat off the island so we left our bags with the tour company and wandered around, grabbing lunch and a couple drinks before catching our boat off Phi Phi.
In our 10 days on Phi Phi we'd survived a tsunami warning, engaged in a country wide water fight, met new friends and taken an awesome overnight camping trip to one of the most beautiful beaches I'd ever seen.
Overall it was an incredibly successful trip and was the perfect way to end off the Thailand leg of our trip.
Next up, we head over to Phuket for a night before flying off to Indonesia!


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