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Last updated on September 8, 2022
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.
After its reopening in January 2022, Maya Bay is temporarily closed again to all tourist boats by the Department of National Parks in August and September 2022. Please check the last updates before traveling as this closure might be extended for an undetermined time.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Maya Bay is a natural site. There are no hotels or restaurants, but most tours include lunch, however.
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.
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Snorkeling spots are part of a wild environment and their aspect can be significantly altered by weather, seasons, sea conditions, human impact and climate events (storms, hurricanes, seawater-warming episodes…). The consequences can be an alteration of the seabed (coral bleaching, coral destruction, and invasive seagrass), a poor underwater visibility, or a decrease of the sea life present in the area. Snorkeling Report makes every effort to ensure that all the information displayed on this website is accurate and up-to-date, but no guarantee is given that the underwater visibility and seabed aspect will be exactly as described on this page the day you will snorkel the spot. If you recently snorkeled this area and noticed some changes compared to the information contained on this page, please contact us.
The data contained in this website is for general information purposes only, and is not legal advice. It is intended to provide snorkelers with the information that will enable them to engage in safe and enjoyable snorkeling, and it is not meant as a substitute for swim level, physical condition, experience, or local knowledge. Remember that all marine activities, including snorkeling, are potentially dangerous, and that you enter the water at your own risk. You must take an individual weather, sea conditions and hazards assessment before entering the water. If snorkeling conditions are degraded, postpone your snorkeling or select an alternate site. Know and obey local laws and regulations, including regulated areas, protected species, wildlife interaction and dive flag laws.
Fringing reef with colorful fish
Tiny island fringed by shallow coral reefs with many fish
Shallow bay with blacktip reef sharks
Free shore access