The ultimate deserted beach
The idyllic island of Phi Phi Leh looks as if it is straight out of a film, but it’s real: you can stroll along its beaches and swim in its turquoise waters.
Maya Bay, in the Phi Phi Islands in southern Thailand used to be an undiscovered paradise…until the film ‘The Beach’ starring Leonardo DiCaprio was released in 2000. The plot is based around the adventures of a backpacker on a beach that has not been spoiled by tourists.
It’s true that over time, Maya Bay has attracted more and more visitors but that doesn’t mean that it has lost its charm. The sand is as white as snow and the water is crystal clear. It’s surrounded by cliffs and vegetation and fulfils all the clichés of a picture- perfect beach from a brochure. It is located on Phi Phi Leh, the smallest island of the Phi Phi island archipelago. In fact it’s a deserted island because nobody lives there. However, boats and launches arrive every day, full of tourists who want to enjoy the paradise for a few hours. To avoid crowds, the best time to visit is first thing in the morning.
Dozens of tourists visit Maya Bay every day
Peeraphat Bootcharoen / Shutterstock.com
Accommodation and bars are located on another island, Phi Phi Don, in order to preserve the tranquillity of Phi Phi Leh as much as possible. There is a varied range of accommodation: from hostels for backpackers to luxury resorts. Zeavola Resort, for example, is perfect for honeymooning couples. Its suites are located actually on the beach itself.
Over time, Maya Bay has attracted more and more visitors but that doesn’t mean that it has lost its charm.
There is also no lack of activities to keep you from spending the day lying around. An excursion to the Phi Phi Don viewpoint, for example. Located on the eastern end of the island, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the twin bays and of Phi Phi Leh, as well as views of the coastal village of Tonsai. Watched over by the blue sea and the thick green vegetation that hangs from the mountains and cliffs, the boats moored on the beach form a multi-coloured contrast.
Phi Phi Don viewpoint, at one end of the island
Diving enthusiasts will find their dream location on the Phi Phi Archipelago. The sea is full of pufferfish, porcupine fish, butterfly fish and the strange scorpionfish. If you are looking for even more invigorating thrills, that’s easy: if you want to swim with sharks all you have to do is visit Shark Point. There’s no need to go deeper than the surface, as the tropical fish swimming amongst the corals can be seen just by using a snorkel and goggles. Fish and tourists are not the only inhabitants of the islands. A few minutes by boat and just 30 by kayak from Loh Dalum Bay, Monkey Beach has a large population of monkeys with which it shares its incredible views at dusk from a location that would not be out of place in a Hollywood movie.
Some people collecting swallows’ nests in Viking Cave