18 Feb Maya Bay: Movie Set, And Home of The Bioluminescent Plankton
A small, beautiful deserted island with a (now iconic) crescent beach with brilliant turquoise water nestled in a near 360 degree set of limestone cliffs. No wonder this was the set used in cult classic film “The Beach.” Not only is it incredibly beautiful and serene as it’s portrayed in the book, and in the movie, but it also actually is home to the glow in the dark plankton. These bioluminescent creatures light up the sea when they are disturbed, making the already picturesque setting feel like a fantasy land.
There are two ways in which you can visit Maya Bay (The Beach). One being a day trip where you are there from early morning to around early evening. Maya Bay is an incredibly busy spot during the day, so if you can at all avoid the crowds, do it. If not, it’s still worth it, just cheapens the experience a little. The other way to see the island it to sign up for the Maya Bay Plankton Tour. There’s only one company that does this (Here’s their Facebook), and the prices are ambiguous on the mainland, so it doesn’t really matter where you sign up. The beauty of the plankton tour is that you get to the beach about 3pm, as the crowds are on their way out. Instead of there being 500 people ruining your photos…there’s only about 30 people on your boat. Making your chance of taking pictures as if you found paradise that much easier, and making your experience feel that much more seclusive.
The tour costs $3000BHT($98 USD). This includes all meals, and a bucket. Of course, the option to buy more buckets exists though. You will also snorkel on the way to Maya Bay, and the way back, as well as at Maya Bay. The night starts off with a meal, a delicious meal I might add. After that there will probably be some games and a couple guitars going around. The crew is awesome, and create a feeling like you would expect and want from The Beach. At some point, and this is all a little blurry due to obvious reasons, you get back on the boat and get ready to dive in and experience the bioluminescent plankton! I will say this was one of the coolest nights of my life. After the plankton we all climbed back on the boat, and found a mat and a spot to lay down. The mats are actually quite comfortable, and if I could recommend; get a spot on the roof of the boat. My new friends and I drifted off to sleep, the boat rocking us back and forth, while starring up at a completely natural blanket of stars, not even remotely touched by artificial lights of any kind.
As if the previous night wasn’t amazing enough, waking up on a boat in Maya Bay, Ko Phi Phi Leh, Thailand seriously made me question what I was doing with my life. We woke pretty early due to the sunrise, which was amazing to watch from our make shift beds. After it had peaked, what better way to wake up then jump off the boat, 20 feet into the sparkling blue waters. We grabbed some breakfast, and were back to the island for a bit while the crew got ready to head back to Ko Phi Phi Don. The only ones on The Beach for a short period, basking in the memories of the night before, wishing we had the time to do it again. I contemplated sneaking away from the group, and living in the mountains, and starting my own version of The Beach. What more could I want? There was a roof I could sleep under, fish I could eat, and good times I could have. I might have to make a trip back for alcohol and rice every once and a while, but…wait I’ve heard this before.
Make sure you don’t forget your bug spray, you’ll need it. Shoes, however, are optional, I ended up not using mine once. If you haven’t read the book, or seen the movie, I highly recommend it. Not only will it get you more excited for this trip, but it will feel surreal once you round the corner and tkae your first glimpse at this amazing place, “The Beach.” If you want more info on Ko Phi Phi Don, click here!