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Maya Bay is above all an exceptional setting: sheer green cliffs above the Andaman Sea, a small white sand beach with a dense encroaching jungle, and reefs adorned with hundreds of multi-coloured fish. This is indisputably one of the finest landscapes in Thailand. Maya Bay also offers great snorkeling, if you manage to leave behind the hordes of holidaymakers arriving in the bay each day.
Maya Bay is accessible by boat, mainly from Ko Phi Phi Don (20 minutes by long-tail boat, the traditional and typical Thai craft) and Phuket (45 minutes by speed boat). In either case, you will have no trouble finding a guided tour, since the visit to Maya Bay is one of the most popular excursions in the country. Most day excursions include stops at other snorkeling spots, especially Bamboo Island and Monkey Beach. The excursion (including a meal and refreshments) costs on average 1 500 bahts per person from Ko Phi Phi Don and 2 000 to 3 000 bahts from Phuket.
You can also organise your trip yourself (by renting a boat) from Ko Phi Phi Don. This will cost more, but you can set off early and make the most of the beach before the mass arrival of tourists (we recommend avoiding the 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. slot). An admission tax of 200 bahts per person is now required to land on the beach.
You enter the water generally from your guide’s boat, and day excursions all include a snorkeling stop at Maya Bay. The most popular area is in the north of the bay, along the spectacular sheer cliffs overlooking the sea. 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 (make your presence visible).
The depth of the water is the same in all the area (↕6-10ft/2-3m). When you are snorkeling, head for the coral and rocky areas, where the underwater life is more varied. The coral is quite badly damaged in Maya Bay, so don’t expect spectacular sea beds. Two species of clownfish are easy to observe at this spot: pink skunk clownfish, in large numbers, and ocellaris clownfish, a little less common. They live in enormous sea anemones that cover the sea bed in places, 6 to 12 feet deep. Anyone practicing free diving can pay them a visit with a few strokes of the swimfin and see them nestling in the tentacles of their anemones. Among the other common species, the sergeant major fish (which tend to group around the swimmers at the water surface), several species of butterflyfish, parrotfish, as well as a large number of particularly photogenic giant clams, in a wide range of colors.
Maya Bay is a symbol of mass tourism in Thailand. Each day, hundreds and even thousands of tourists pour into the little bay. The coral reefs have been particularly damaged in this spot (breakage, bleaching). The density of snorkelers can be impressive, not counting all the people who try out snorkeling for the first time at Maya Bay. Be attentive during your exploration to avoid collisions or swimfin strokes.
Maya Bay is a natural site. There are no hotels or restaurants. Most tours include meals, however. Ask your tour guide for details and at least take along a snack and something to drink.
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.
Maya Bay is currently closed to all tourist boats by the Department of National Parks until further notice, in an attempt to allow the coral reefs recover from overcrowding.
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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