That was fun.
Maya Bay came to fame by being the beach featured in the Leonardo DiCaprio movie called, "The Beach." It is ridiculously pretty. Super soft white sand, clear turquoise warm water, protected and surrounded by giant limestone cliffs, and even coral reefs and secluded side beaches to explore and enjoy. It is surreal in every way. The only downside is that everyone wants to be there, so it is crazy packed with boats and tourists all day long. So we decided to overnight there.
We booked this tour months ago, but when we showed up, they didn't have us on the list, and they were fully booked for today. Apparently, an error had switched our 12/1 (December 1) to the Thai version 12/1 (January 12). We were heartbroken and tried to reschedule, but it would only work for us today. Fortunately, they let us on, a little overbooked, but not so packed that there wasn't enough room or supplies for everyone.
We boarded the boat, met our tour guide, Boeung, and set off on our adventure.
Maya bay is on Phi Phi Le, the island just south of Phi Phi Don, where everyone stays. Our first stop was the Viking caves. You can look this up if you want to know more about it.
Then we went to a little bay on the outside of the island to do some snorkeling. It was very low tide, so we couldn't get all the way into the bay, but it was pretty and fun. Here are some under the sea pics.
It started to pour soon after we finished snorkeling. Already wet, I stayed out to take video of our entry and first view of Maya Bay. The rain let up just as we were rounding the bend into the bay.
We anchored our boat and hopped on a small plastic speedboat that took us in to shore.
There were still quite a few boats there from the day, but just as promised, one by one they all left the island, leaving the beach just to us.
Dinner wasn't for a few hours still, so we hiked through the jungle to the other side of the island, where you climb a staircase to see this little island. Another couple from our boat was there so we had them take our picture.
Back to the beach, we found it completely deserted except for our group of 31 people.
After sunset and the beach went totally dark except for starlight, we headed to a clearing in the jungle for dinner. There's a snack bar there with some shelter during the day, so our group takes over the area at night. We set out beach mats and were soon treated to rice, veggies, and Panang curry chicken. All of it was very yummy.
I had two plates. After dinner, they get the party started by giving everyone a free bucket of alcohol.
Boeung introduces a drinking game, which is crazy confusing but ends up being really funny and interactive. It's a great icebreaker. People kept refilling their buckets with various mixtures of vodka, rum, coke, and sprite, which are relatively inexpensive. People got loud, funny, and giggly.
Isa and I watched and laughed and helped explain parts of the game to our new Chinese friends that didn't understand certain things like "truth or dare" or "never have I ever." Things got a little more exciting when the staff brought in some crabs and let them loose in the middle of the group, and then caught them again and positioned them on a tree, where they remained and watched guard over us for the rest of the night.
After a couple hours, we went back out to the beach to look at the stars. It was too dark to focus on anything, so I had to just set the camera on manual and hope for the best.
A little later, they made chicken wings (very good, I had about 10), and people broke off into smaller groups playing different games, the Russians remained in the corner cuddling and chatting away. The Welsh and other drinkers went on to other drinking games. And Isa and I and the Chinese group got into a game of darts.
Just before midnight, we caught our plastic speedboat back to the boat, staked out spots for sleeping (Isa and I slept on the bow under the stars), and then turned off all the lights and jumped into the water to swim with the glowing plankton. You don't think Maya Bay could get any cooler, but then this is the icing on the top. It's beyond way too dark for my camera, so forget about pictures. Just know that it's an experience you must have for yourself.
We slept under the stars.. More stars than I have ever seen before. It was amazing and wonderful and honestly makes you not want to close your eyes at all. We didn't finish swimming with the plankton until about 1am, and I'm sure it was almost 2 before we finally fell asleep.
We woke up around 6am, just before sunrise. The sun rises on the other side of the island, so no hopes of seeing the sun rising out of the ocean.
We had a small fruit breakfast before being shuttled back to the beach before the tour groups arrived.
Sure enough, they all started pulling in around 7:30 or 8am, and it was packed before the sun even hit the sand. We got the whole group together and took a few pictures, one of which is the obligatory jump in the air pic.
But wait! There's more! We ferried back to the boat for a breakfast of toast, eggs, fruit, and juice/coffee, and then Isa and I took out one of the kayaks to go exploring.
We parked on a deserted beach and explored a little bit...
...and then paddled out under the cliffs.
Others snorkeled while we kayaked, but when we got back to the boat, it was sadly time to leave the island.
One last picture before leaving Maya Bay...