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With its sheer green cliffs overlooking the Andaman Sea and reefs adorned with hundreds of multi-colored fish, Maya Bay offers one of the finest scenery in Thailand. It also offers great snorkeling, if you manage to reach the spot early, before the crowds. In the shallows, you will mostly spot wrasse, damselfish, butterflyfish, as well as several species of anemonefish.

Maya Bay is open to visitors but swimming and snorkeling remain prohibited in the bay. Check the last updates before traveling as this closure is in place for an undetermined time.

View of Maya Bay's reef, Koh Phi Phi
Aerial view of Maya Bay, Phi Phi Islands.

How to go snorkeling in Maya Bay?

Maya Bay is mainly reached by boat from Ko Phi Phi Don (20 minutes by longtail boat) and Phuket (45 minutes by speedboat). You will have no trouble finding a boat to take you there since Maya Bay is one of the most popular places in Thailand. Most day tours include snorkeling in nearby locations, including Bamboo Island and Monkey Beach.

You can also organize a private trip from Ko Phi Phi Don. This will cost more, but you can set off early and make the most of the beach before the beach gets crowded (we recommend avoiding the 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. slot). A 400-bath per person admission fee is to be paid to land on the beach.

Maya Bay snorkeling map, Phi Phi Islands, Thailand

Water entrance for snorkeling Maya Bay

Water entrance is generally from the boat. The most popular area is in the north of the bay, along the spectacular cliffs. You can also reach the spot from the beach, after a 150-yard swim, but watch out for the many boats sailing in the bay.

Maya Bay snorkeling exploration tips

Once in the water, reach the coral and rocky areas, where the underwater life is more abundant. The coral is badly damaged in Maya Bay, so don’t expect spectacular seabeds.

Two species of clownfish are easy to spot in Maya Bay: the pink skunk clownfish, in large numbers, and the ocellaris clownfish, a little less common. Both are found in the large sea anemones that live on the reef, some 6 to 12 feet (2 to 4m) deep.

Ocellaris clownfish at Maya Bay
The very popular ocellaris clownfish in Maya Bay.

Among the other common species, the sergeant major, which swims in large groups near the surface, several species of butterflyfish, parrotfish, as well as a large number of giant clams, in a wide range of colors.

Since Maya Bay’s closure between 2018 and 2022, coral is slowly recovering and the blacktip reef sharks are back in the bay.

Christmas tree worms at Maya Bay
A blue Christmas tree worm in a porous coral.

Restaurants and accommodation nearby

Maya Bay is a natural site. There are no hotels or restaurants, but most tours include lunch, however.


  • Level required Beginner
  • Maximum depth20ft/6m
  • Water entranceEasy, from a sandy beach
  • Potential DangersUsual precautions
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersHigh
  • Access costsSnorkeling tour price
  • Restaurants nearbyNo
  • Public toilets & showersNo

MAP Spot

These snorkeling spots are accessible to beginners and kids. You will enter the water gradually from a beach, or in a less than 3ft. deep area. The sea is generally calm, shallow, with almost no waves or currents. These spots are usually located in marked and/or monitored swimming areas. It is not necessary to swim long distances to discover the sea life.

This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.