Maya Bay, Koh Phi Phi Ley

Just gorgeous beach

This small stretch of sand is the quintessential Thailand beach and might just have the best scenery of any in the country. Part of a little island adjacent to Ko Phi Phi, the beach is nestled in a small bay and surrounded by tall limestone cliffs. Maya Bay can only be visited on day trips by boat, since there are no accommodations here. Hordes of people visit during high season, but the beauty makes dealing with the crowds worth it.

Koh Phi Phi, a small island a couple of hours by boat from Phuket, is an island lover's dream. Clear water, majestic cliffs and soft sand make Koh Phi Phi a picture-perfect paradise. The only downside? Thousands of others already know about it and it's in danger of being overrun by boats, guest houses and tourists. Still, if you're not bothered by crowds or overdevelopment, you might find it the most beautiful place on earth.

What to Expect:

Koh Phi Phi was hard hit during the 2004 Tsunami but has bounced back in full force. The group of islands, comprised of Koh Phi Phi Don (where the accommodations are) and Koh Phi Phi Ley, plus a smattering of other small islands, is one of the most beautiful places in Thailand but can be very crowded.
It's traditionally be a back-packer destination, although Koh Phi Phi is increasingly going upscale as there are more and more luxury resorts every year.

Where to Stay:

There's no shortage of accommodations on Koh Phi Phi as parts of the island, especially around Ton Sai, are covered with guest houses. Some are very basic affairs with ceiling fans and no hot water. There are also upscale resorts on the island, especially around Laem Thong Beach. Check out this list of Top Phi Phi Hotels but keep in mind that because Phi Phi is so popular, accommodations are sometimes disappointing.

What to Do:

The islands surrounding Koh Phi Phi (including Koh Phi Phi Ley) offer fantastic hiking, snorkeling and swimming opportunities. Visitors can take advantage of the numerous day trips that leave from Ton Sai every morning, or venture out in a chartered longtail boat on their own. There are also many scuba diving schools on the island.

Getting to Koh Phi Phi:

By boat from Phuket: Boats leave the Rasada Pier in Phuket three times a day.