Dated – April, 2012
A picture is worth a thousand words, and Maya Bay is worth a million more. If you go to Thailand, this should definitely be on your to-do list. Camping at Maya Bay. This place became famous after ‘The Beach’ was shot here. Somehow, I can never remember what the movie was about!
So, Maya Bay is surrounded by cliffs on three sides. It is around an hour away from the Phi Phi island. The place is breathtaking. White sands and crystal clear water. Not even photographs can do justice to the place. You’ve got to really be there. Walk on the soft sand. See your feet way down below, while you take a dip in the crystal clear water. Snorkel and hold Nemo in your hands. If you’re lucky enough, you might just see Nemo’s aunt (remember the blue talkative fish!) circling around too! All I am saying is that you really have to see this place. Nothing I say comes close.
Staying overnight is prohibited there, and thousands of tourists visit in the day. The crowd completely takes away the charm of a place. To avoid the crowd, we booked an overnight camping trip to Maya Bay. This is the only tour operator which gets you permission for an overnight stay. Cost is a little on the steeper side (2500 Thai Bahts for food, boat transfer, snorkeling equipment) but the experience as the Mastercard ad goes, absolutely priceless!
We reached Krabi around 8 in the morning. You need to take a ferry to Phi Phi, for which tickets are available in the airport itself. There’s one at 9am, then 10:30 and then 1:30. We took the second one. Phi Phi island is really really touristy. Albeit crowded, the place has a very happy vibe. We barely saw any Indians here. Looks like our folks only go to Bangkok and Phuket, for some odd reason! The island is extremely lively. Colourful shops, restaurants in every nook and corner and dive shops everywhere. After dumping our luggage in the lockers, we headed to Phi Phi bakery for lunch. If you ever go there, please do order the Eggs Benedicte! It was delectable!
The boat for Maya Bay left around 4 pm. Note – Now onwards, everything was included in the trip cost. We were the only few who were sitting inside the boat. Something about foreigners and all the sun! Tanning for them is like air-conditioning for us. A luxury of sorts. So, while everyone frolicked (read got scorched) in the sun, we happily ate watermelon and chilled out. As you move towards Maya Bay, the green towering cliffs drastically change the view. In a good way. Our first snorkeling site was near Viking Caves.
There is something about jumping in the sea. Makes my heart go into my mouth. That first jump, in spite of the life jacket and the friends who are already in water, knowing that your feet won’t hit the ground, is always a toughie. At least for me. While most people jumped off the top deck without a life jacket or a care in the world, we geared up and jumped. Once you are in the water, it really isn’t about how you jumped or what you wore. You forget everything. The moment your face is in the water, the noise outside completely goes away. It is very difficult to describe that kind of calm, you know. The world seems like a really small and comfy place at that moment. And in that moment, you realize that there is no room for fear. You just can’t miss something as good as this!
We entered Maya Bay from the back. Floated right into it, snorkel gear et al. We walked for around 20 odd minutes amidst trees and random insects. And then, out of the blue, we were there! If pictures were pretty, the place was just unbelievable. Impending sunset gave a very warm hue to the place. Just 25-30 of us on the beach. We walked right into the sea, sat neck deep in the water and watched the sun set.
Evening was spent chatting up with everyone, drinking and listening to music (they had an ipod and a speaker). Dinner was just brilliant – chicken in Thai red curry, veggies in oyster sauce and coconut soup with chicken. I had three shameless helpings. We had a bottle of Jagermeister and to top it, each of us had two buckets of liqour. If you don’t know already, drinking in buckets is a Thai concept, and a great one at that! It is a heady mix of alcohol that you like, punched nicely and obviously, served in a bucket. Sometimes, mixing your drinks ain’t all that bad! So, we all picked our buckets and sleeping bags, and settled on the beach for the night.
The night spent at the Maya Bay beach was one of the most memorable ones. Not because we did anything special. We just sat, talked, drank – you know, the usual. But there was something about the place. Don’t know when I drifted off. Woke up to birds chirping. For a second, I had forgotten where I was. And then the most beautiful morning was unfolding right in front of my eyes. I am not a morning person by any stretch, yet I stayed awake willingly.
Breakfast was toast and scrambled eggs. Simple, yet quite yum! That and a hundred photo ops later, we left for Phi Phi. The camping trip was perfect in every sense of the word. We loved every minute of it. You would too! Next was a day in Krabi.