Ao Maya

Bay in Ko Phi-Phi

Dramatically flanked by green-clad cliffs, majestic Ao Maya sits on Phi-Phi Leh's western shoreline. In 1999, its beautiful sands were controversially used as a set for The Beach, based on Alex Garland's cult novel. Natural sand dunes were flattened and extra palm trees planted to increase the paradisaical backdrop and, although the production team restored things before they left, many claim the damage to the ecosystem has been permanent.

The level of boat traffic here nowadays somewhat detracts from the serenity, but the setting is still spectacular.