After staying in Cassia, Phuket for two nights we headed to The Beach! Yes, the one that everyone knows from Leonardo DiCaprio’s movie back in 2000. The Beach is actually called Maya Bay and it is located on Phi Phi Leh island, but since it’s part of a National Park, you have to stay in the closeby island called Phi Phi Don. This island is reachable with a ferry from Phuket, Krabi, Ao Nang, Koh Lanta and Koh Lipe. We came from Phuket by ferry and paid 1000 baht (25€) to get to Phi Phi Don and to Krabi from there. Which I don’t recommend you to do, since you will find much cheaper ferry prices on Phi Phi, so just take a one way ferry ticket!
Phi Phi Don has accommodation, restaurants, diving centers, and a (bit too loud) nightlife but it has no roads. So either you walk or take water taxis to see the other side of the island which is more relaxing and has quiet resorts (Viking Beach, Long Beach, Laem Thong). But since we were first-timers we stayed in the main pier area in a cool but more of a hippie hotel called Arboreal. Most of the hotel have porters at the pier who will take you and your bags to the hotel or guesthouse. I enjoyed the views once you were up there but walking in that heat up the stairs was a workout indeed. The most surprising part was that our big luggages were taken up by the hotel workers on their backs! It is crazy how hard-working the people are there..
The island is full of cats! Literally! And the first place we ate, Papaya restaurant (recommended by locals), had even cats living in the restaurant and cooling themselves off in the fridge! Very weird picture.. will not forget that restaurant. But the food was amazing and had a touch of Indian, so definitely go and try!
The same day we didn’t do much else other than relax and eat and have drinks in the Chillout Bar on the beach. We did plan ahead the next day since visiting Maya Bay was the main reason we came to Phi Phi Don in the first place. There are dozens of day trips you can choose from, but the best way to visit The Beach is during sunrise, when the island is empty. Otherwise you will have to share it with hundreds of tourists.. So we booked a private long tail boat for 1500baht for 3 hours (almost 40€ for the 4 of us - the price is up to 6pax) to leave at 7am in the morning. Yes it wasn’t the best feeling getting up at 6am (after Mojitos on the beach) but we did it and we even witnessed a small eclipse during sunrise!
Maya Bay was beautiful and exactly as tropical as you see in the movie, but the hordes of visitors have taken a toll on this beach along with many others over the years. Also there wasn’t a lot to do on that small island, so I do recommend visiting it, but I doubt you will go there again once you’ve done it. After The Beach, we visited the Phaya Naak, or Viking Cave which has prehistoric cave paintings and is where they collect the edible birds-nest for birds nest soup and then we also decided to do some snorkelling around the island. Even though in the movie there was a shark, there has only been 5 shark attacks in Thailand since 1966 and only 2 of them have been fatal. So no need to worry about those creatures. The fish are more scared of you anyway than you are of them! There were lot of yellow small fish that swim really close to you and we also spotted a small sting ray in the bottom of the sea! Anyway, snorkelling is something you