One of the most famous places to see in Koh Phi Phi is Maya Bay on Koh Phi Phi Leh, where Leo filmed his 2000 hit The Beach. A few friends I’ve met along the way suggested that the best way to see Maya Bay was to do the overnight camping trip, which allows you to literally camp on The Beach in sleeping bags on the beach.
We set sail from Koh Phi Phi Don at 4pm and stopped near Viking Cave on Koh Phi Phi Leh for an hour so we could engage in some boat jumping and snorkeling. We swam with hundreds of fishies and of course, did lots of backflips off the boat. The fish and waters in Thailand are gorgeous – the colors are so vivid.
After our snorks stop, we headed to Maya Bay so we could watch the sunset from The Beach. Pulling into a nearly empty Maya Bay, we boarded the longtail boat and headed for shore. The sixteen in our group frolicked around taking pictures and watching the sunset with the most picturesque backdrop – a white sandy beach and turquoise blue water surrounded by limestone karsts.
After sunset, our tour leader, ‘King’ Soloman, had a plethora of activities for us – dinner, games, fire dancing and a walk across the island to check out the chicken crabs. At the end of it all, we went for a night swim in the bay with the phosphorescence, which weren’t as large and magical as those in Ha Long Bay (Maya Bay did remind both Danielle and I a bit of Castaway Island) but it still makes for pretty special swimming.
In the morning, we hiked to the back of the island to watch the sunrise, followed by breakfast, a bunch of group pictures and a morning swim. Around 8am, the boats started coming in and I looked to Danielle and said, “Ugh, the tourists are here.” We laughed because clearly we’re also tourists, but we realized that we can definitely relate to Tilda Swinton and why she was so nuts in the movie about keeping The Beach a secret – it really is paradise!! After only twelve hours, I already felt a little bit as though it was my island. Maya Bay (and the Koh Phi Phi islands) may be one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. Heaven on Earth! Camping on Maya Bay is the only way to visit.
On our way back to Koh Phi Phi, we had another stop for snorkeling and boat jumping. It was really the cherry on top of a magnificent overnight trip!