Thailand: That Famous 'Beach' of Leonardo DiCaprio

Can you hear the soundtrack of ‘The Beach’?, my buddy quirked as we jumped off our speed boat. Our feet touched the powdery white sand of Maya Bay as we scouted a place for our base camp but found none. The famous bay was literally packed with tourists and boats that no trace of the movie scene can be found. And then the British couple we were with at the boat shouted at us, It is beautiful right here!, in which I replied, Philippines is more beautiful, and then smiled back.

Koh Phi Phi was our fourth stop in Thailand on our two-month Beach Hop Asia 2016 backpacking trip. After exploring Melaka, Langkawi and Penang in Malaysia, me and my buddy headed to Koh Pangan, Krabi and Koh Lanta in the southern part of Thailand before our pit stop on the famed islands of Koh Phi Phi.

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My buddy once mentioned that Filipinos are hard to get pleased on beautiful beaches as Philippines’ 7,107 islands are surrounded with great shorelines and underwater scenery. I couldn’t agree more as we’ve seen fairly enough of our Asian neighbors’ counterpart and nothing could seem rival the ones we have, something we can totally brag about.

During our island hopping tours in Ao Nang, Krabi, we were brought to some snorkeling sites and nice beaches but everything seemed normal which frustrates us as we have really high standards for beautiful beaches. So we’d rather enjoy the moment than comparing it.

Koh Phi Phi Thailand
Maya Bay tour on board a traditional Thai long-tail boat
Staying at Koh Phi Phi Don, we felt suffocated on the overpopulated island that a sweet escape on our resort, Phi Phi Bayview Resort, was the perfect idea. We did a little walking around town and saw a great deal on a sunset tour around Maya Bay which we grabbed right away (THB300|US$6 each person).

Koh Phi Phi Thailand
Tonsai Bay
We hopped on a long-tail boat filled with tourists (we’re the only Asians) and navigated Tonsai Bay for an afternoon of sea excursion.

First stop was the Monkey Beach. Our boat was anchored near the shore as guests jumped into the water towards the narrow shore. Monkeys were everywhere but nobody seemed to get alarmed as almost everyone wanted to take snaps of them.

Monkey Beach Koh Phi Phi Thailand

Monkey Beach Koh Phi Phi Thailand
Monkey Beach
As for me, I enjoyed the crystal clear water as I jumped off the boat and floated away until I saw some monkeys swimming towards me. I immediately went back to our boat as I panicked on the mere sight of them (remembering my close encounter with monkeys at Singapore’s MacRitchie Park).

Monkey Beach Koh Phi Phi Thailand
They're totally not scared with humans
Next stop was the famous Maya Bay. Ever since the movie The Beach was released in 2000, this bay became a famous go-to beach place for those who want to experience a tropical paradise. In the movie, which we intentionally watched again before this trip, everything was beautiful and peaceful but in real life (like the 2016’s real life), everything is frustrating.

Maya Bay Koh Phi Phi Thailand
The famous "The Beach" | Maya Bay
From the lined boats to the hundreds of tourists trying to take the perfect selfie, everything was chaotic that you couldn’t have a peaceful time on your own (I suggest the administrators should place a number of tourists per day quota).

A THB200 (US$6) entrance fee was collected from each person for the ‘conservation’ of the place. We, of course, paid that amount while some of the tourists decided to stay on the boat (either they didn’t have the money to pay not knowing there’s a fee or maybe they got upset on the huge number of visitors).

Maya Bay Koh Phi Phi Thailand
Smoking area
Me and my buddy waded our way into the deeper part of the island and saw a smaller lagoon. There’s a smoking area and toilet in this part but expect no snacks sold here. Going back, I enjoyed looking at the tall karsts and lush vegetation that seemed to be tended very well.

We did take a dip for a while until we were herded for our next stop, a snorkeling site in Loh Samah Bay right at the back of the Maya Bay.

Snorkeling Koh Phi Phi Thailand
Snorkeling at Koh Phi Phi Leh
Fish feeding is common here (which I detest) therefore, schools of fishes are not uncommon. Coral gardens weren’t as healthy like in the snorkeling site of Koh Rok but it was okay.

Snorkeling Koh Phi Phi Thailand
They do fish feeding, me hate it,
Next stop was the Pi-Leh Lagoon.

The entrance to the lagoon looked like the ones in El Nido, Philippines minus the clear water that provides a clear view to the coral gardens. The tourists jumped off the boat and did some snorkeling. I plunged into the water but nothing interesting caught my eye.

Snorkeling Koh Phi Phi Thailand

Tours Koh Phi Phi Thailand
Pi-Leh Lagoon
We passed by a limestone mountain with small caves where some people make a living from getting nido or bird’s nest used for a pricey Asian soup dish, again, just like in El Nido, Palawan.

Tours Koh Phi Phi Thailand
Bird's nest (nido) can be found inside those limestone caves
We circled around Koh Phi Phi Leh once more as the sun started to set. The choppy ride made it more fun as our boat driver turned off the engine and let the waves carry us. Suddenly, everyone was quiet, focusing on the huge sun as it burst into its magnificent orangey glow. And then the British guy mentioned, F*ck, this is f*cking amazing! You can never get this lovely sunset in the UK. Laughter everywhere.

Check here for discounted hotel rates in Koh Phi Phi


  1. I do think for the most parts Pinoys are beach snobs given that we have great beaches; but at the same time curious what the other countries' beaches are like.


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