It’s 6pm and we’re not on a beach we are on the Beach! That’s right the infamous beach from That Movie! So what’s the big deal right? Well the beach is not actually open to tourists after 5pm.
How did we do it? With Maya Bay Tours! They have a package tour called the Maya Bay Sleep Aboard Tour which starts out on Phi Phi Don (the main island of the group that make up Koh Phi Phi) and, along with about 50 or so other people, makes the short trip to Phi Phi Leh to Maya Bay where the movie The Beach was filmed. It is an incredibly beautiful bay with a stunning beach.
Once the boat made it to to the bay, we “parked” for about an hour and were invited to jump into the water to snorkel, swim, or kayak. About half the people on the trip were only there for the day Sunset Cruise and Plankton Tour and left to go back around 5pm, while the rest of us took a smaller boat to get to the beach and spent the night there. We had time to wander the island, swim, or just have drinks with new friends while watching the sunset and then we were given an early Thai dinner (Panang chicken, rice, and vegetables) before our late night follow up of BBQ chicken wings! Afterwards, those wishing to indulge were given a “bucket” (literally a sand bucket filled with a drink of their choice and a straw) and we played card games and chatted until it was time to go swim with the bio luminescent plankton. This was really an incredible experience – imagine swimming with glowing jewels!
The next morning (which was early given that we were sleeping in the open air on the beach) we boarded the small boats back to the main boat for breakfast, followed with more time to swim and snorkel and then eventually made our way back to Phi Phi Don. Overall, it was an amazing experience and an incredible tour! We definitely highly recommend it!
The trip to Phi Phi Leh is on board a large, clean, well-maintained boat – not a long tail boat! It comfortably fit the entire group (in fact, for most of the way to Maya Bay, we were sitting by ourselves on the roof of the boat) and there were both shaded and non-shaded areas. There was one bathroom aboard, which neither of us had to use, but we heard it was decent and did the job! The beach also had bathroom stalls – not the best, but usable (just don’t forget your toilet paper!). The group area on the beach had a raised area for us to put our bags on and then a large BBQ area. The staff set up mats in the middle for the group to sit on during dinner and for games, with a bar on one side and the food stations on the other. We really had a great time hanging out in this area and felt completely private and comfortable.
Depending upon conditions you will either be able to sleep on the beach or on the boat. At first we were a bit hesitant about sleeping on the beach, but this is an extremely secluded island (there weren’t even any stray animals running around), the beach is clean, and it is a rare opportunity to get to sleep on this beach, so we took it! It was pretty amazing to fall asleep to the sound of the waves and wake up to an empty beach before any of the tour groups arrive! They gave us sleeping bags (very clean) and beach mats. It did get a bit chilly at night due to the breeze so it is worth maybe bringing a light sweater or doubling up.
They made sure we were fed! Fruit galore. Pineapple and watermelon seemed to be never ending which was great after snorkeling or swimming in the bay. The dinners (yes, two!) were tasty and again, there was more than enough for second or third helpings! Water was always available (on the boat and on the beach) and if you wanted a drink, one bucket was given with dinner and more drinks could be bought after that. (I think our group pretty much went through the ENTIRE supply of drinks available!).
When we first arrived at the Bay, it was pretty full with party boats and excursion groups on the beach. Luckily, this is when we stayed back and got to snorkel/swim in the Bay. By the time we arrived onto the beach, most of the tour groups were already leaving and the beach was slowly becoming ours to own! By dinner time the beach is completely deserted and you can pick anywhere to place your sleeping bag! It is also pretty great that nobody else is there while we are swimming with the plankton. With a group of only 20 or so people, not everyone wanted to go swimming and/or people went at different times so you could potentially end up having the water to yourself! In the morning you can jump into the water as early as you’d like, but if you need your morning coffee first, then there is time to go swimming and snorkeling after breakfast. In fact, we would highly recommend snorkeling at this time as the amount of fish in the water is breathtaking! All snorkeling equipment and even kayaks are provided.
The staff is above and beyond helpful and friendly. JoJo and Jessica (our guide) were a riot and made sure the entire group was having a great time. It didn’t hurt that Jessica was also from Toronto (woo hoo!). We really felt that we could ask the staff anything and they would do their best to help us out.
Glam and Glitz
It’s hard to beat having a chance to sleep on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world! Maya Bay Sleep Aboard is the only group that is allowed to access the beach in the evenings — sunset and sunrise!
We didn’t know what to expect when booking originally – this turned out to be one of our favourite nights. The unexpected delights are the best ones!
Have you been on this tour? What were your thoughts?
*Disclaimer*: This review is a personal review, and has not been commissioned or edited by Maya Bay Tours. We do not have any affiliation with Maya Bay Tours other than being big fans!