Update October 1st, 2022
Maya Bay has reopened starting 1st of August 2022 after being closed to the public for 2 months, Speedboat trips are now running daily from Phuket to Phi Phi Island
If you have ever been to Phi Phi Islands or intend to visit then you may have often overlooked the Similan Islands day trip from Phuket Similan islands are located in another National Marine Park and are equal in beauty to the Maldives but are only open from mid-October to 14 May
Update 29th of July 2022 Maya Bay will stay closed for 2 months starting 1st of August 2022
After just 6 months of reopening to tourists, the Minister for Natural resources and the environment has announced that the Maya bay area will no longer accept tourists.
In January 2022 Maya bay reopened to allow tourists access to the beach but made it difficult to drop off the visitors at the islands using the new pontoon pier, this caused many delays getting on and off speedboats as they had to queue for a slot to allow visitors off and on speedboats. In the last 7 months, it’s been quoted more than 100,000 tourists have visited the famous beach.
The decision was made by the Department of National Parks after they took strict measures to limit visitors to Maya bay to 380 tourists per hour, however over the Songkran holidays 2022 it escalated over the maximum set capacity of 3000 visitors per day limit, previous years had seen as many as 4500 tourists per day arriving on hundreds of speedboats that often dropped anchors on coral in the bay.
While the last long-term closure disappointed many visitors the natural marine life has returned back with the bay having approximately 160 black tip sharks.
Boats can still visit Maya bay Phi Phi Island & Bamboo Island by speedboat from Phuket but viewing the Beach is strictly confined to travelers while they stay on the boat at the buoy line zone limit that stretches from one side of the bay to the other. No one is allowed to walk on the beach or swim in the Bay area.
Update:2nd of October 2018 – Maya Bay closed indefinitely
The four-month conservation closure order for Maya Bay on Koh Phi Phi has failed to restore the beach area as anticipated. The Krabi national parks authority has issued a letter extending the closure of the bay, with no date announced when the famous bay would be reopened to tourism other than ” the area needs to recover first”.
The order refers to both Maya Bay and Lo Sama Bay in the Hat Nopparat Thara – Moo Koh Phi Phi national park, Krabi.
Worapot Lomli, the chief of Hat Noppharat Thara–Mu Ko Phi Phi says, “more than 1,100 corals are being planted at Maya Bay. Experts realise that the short 4 month conservation order wasn’t enough and it is too fast to open Maya Bay at this stage.”
May 2018 Officials close Maya Bay 1st June – Sep 31st 2018
Maya Bay has been closed with access to the beach between 1st June – Sep 31st
The original order closing the bays was announced in May 2018
The General Director of the Department of National Parks, Thanya Neti Thammakul, has visited Maya Bay, which is expected to be closed to visitors for four months from June 20181. Officials of the Koh Phi Phi National park authority held crisis talks on Thursday, Sep 28, 2017, they were told that Maya bay has been ravaged by excessive tourism.
During the closure, no tourism activity will be allowed on the island; only academic research will be permitted. However, tourism companies will be able to park their boats outside the blocked area and allow tourists to take photos of the bay from there.
The Thai Government considers this a temporary low-season closure of Phi Phi Islands’ most popular tourist location “Maya Bay – The Beach” the reason given was to allow the bay, as well as the waters in the bay, to recover ahead of the 2018 high season.
“Phi Phi Ley” is located 1.5 km from Phi Phi Don, the small Island saw a huge surge in popularity after the Leonard DiCaprio movie “The Beach” came out in 2000. Parts of the movie were shot on the beach in Maya Bay.
More than one million people visit Phi Phi islands last year, with as many as 5,000 visitors each day during the high season, according to the National park authorities.
on average 4,000 to 5,000 visitors per day
Recent Media attention for Phi Phi Islands
Photos and global media stories have shocked some environmental officials into doing something about the massive crowds heading to Phi Phi lei and the famous “Maya Bay”, sometimes leaving standing room only for the thousands of daily visitors on the iconic beach at High Tied.
Heavy tourism involving Human activities and boat engines has degraded the quality of the water at Maya bay and, therefore, has a serious effect on Marine life and natural corals.
The planned closure of the first Maya Bay could be introduced as soon as the second half of 2018 (June-September) and is expected to last three to four months according to Sarayuth Tanthien Haad of the Nopparatthara Mu Ko Phi-Phi National Park.
The closure plans are designed to protect corals damaged attributed to human activities, a result of sea anchor deployment indiscriminately causing damage to the bay floor, as well as any remaining corals, allow them to rehabilitate and grow. It got to the point that so many boats were visiting the bay that the coral and marine are at serious risk of being badly affected.
In order to help rejuvenate the park, the bay will be closed to all boats, however, tourists will still be able to visit the famous beach via Loh Samah Bay, allowing tourists to then walk across the island to Maya Bay.
Other national Parks like the Similans Islands close each year during the Western monsoon (low season) to allow corals & the environment to regenerate.
The collection of the National Marine Park fees have had little effect on reducing tourism levels to May Bay
Also under consideration is the limitation on the number of daily visitors to all of Thailand’s national parks, but no such decision have been drawn up.
March 28th 2018 local media published details of a meeting announcing that MAYA BAY will close to all visitors during the monsoon period for JUNE – SEPTEMBER – four months.
Dr Thon a prominent activist for coral reef & marine conservation and general adviser to Government highlighted that the the bay needs to close and access to the beach from the main entrance should be prohibited – tourist and visitors can still access the bay from boats as long as they don’t pass over any coral but not access to the beach will be allowed from the main entrance to the Bay.
This would then technically mean that tourist can still access the beach from the south side of Phi Phi LeI called Loh Samah Bay
Maya bay is a tourist trap everyone wants to visit it parks officials want to reduce the volume to 2400 per day from 4500 per day – in peak times around 10- 11 am there are over 1,000 tourists on the beach.
Best way to visit Maya Bay from Phuket.
The only way to avoid the mass tourist doing the cheap trips and avoid the mass invasion that spoil the ambience is to take the sunrise trip that departs at 6am this trip wont be available between 1st June – Sep 31st
Best times to visit Maya Bay
Maya bay has specific periods each month at the full moon where the water is higher than normal meaning that many of the day trippers visit the beach when it has a smaller area of exposed sand – more people is a good reason to avoid overcrowded paradise.