Where Is 'The Beach' in Thailand?

The Beach is หมู่เกาะพีพี in real life. Photo via Mr Bullitt

In his 1996 novel The Beach, Alex Garland fancied an outrageously beautiful island in Thailand where wild spirits run free—and marijuana runs wild. 

Danny Boyle made it a breeze to find this unnamed hippie heaven with his movie adaptation. To him, Garland's Thai paradise had to be Ko Phi Phi Ley Island. It has since been known simply as The Beach; such is its ineffable beauty (or the immense popularity of Leonardo DiCaprio). 

MAYA BAY, KOH PHI PHI LEH. One of the most photographed places in Thailand. During peak season, however, the beach becomes the one thing Richard denounced. Photo via Ultimate Travel Experiences

Were you one of those who stayed put in the cinema long after the credits have rolled on The Beach? Were you afraid to reenter the prosaic world then? Did you book the next flight to Thailand?

You were right to be ensnared. Nineties girl group All Saints couldn't find a better name of endearment for Ko Phi Phi Ley: "Pure Shores."


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