The unexpected beauty of Maiton Island
Maiton Island is an understated paradise with a long and exciting history. It’s a fantastic day out, only 15 minutes from Phuket by speedboat. The island is small but with a large and quiet beach and a green hill as a backdrop. Maiton is a private island with a small hotel and just a few bungalows that used to be the ultimate luxury in Phuket. If you visit on a day trip, you can have lunch, drinks or even a massage at the hotel.
Update: Access to Maiton Island has been suspended until further notice. We found a tour that included snorkeling around the island but we are not yet sure if you can walk on the beach of Maiton. Have a look at this tour here
There is not much to do on this small island, but it feels like a total escape from busy Phuket. Swim, relax, explore a bit, eat and drink, go snorkelling, and enjoy the peace in a lounger under the trees; the day feels perfect.
How to go to Maiton Island
We booked with Love Andaman tour online via QBIC Travel just the day before. While the company provides a hotel pick-up, we prefered to drive to the Panwa pier on the east coast of Phuket (near the Phuket aquarium). This pier is quieter than the big Rassada to Phi Phi Islands and the Chalong pier to Coral and Racha Island.
We had coffee and a light breakfast offered in a surprisingly comfortable aircon waiting room by the water as we arrived very early. The staff was amicable and helpful, giving the small groups a clear and concise description of how the trip and the day would be. Our Thai guide spoke excellent English, and his enthusiasm didn’t feel rehearsed. The team was great for the whole day.
Our small group of about 20 passengers boarded the big and comfortable speedboat. The 5 minutes ride went smoothly (which may not always be as quiet in the low season), and we arrived at a large and very photogenic pier sooner than we expected. If you look at the photo, it feels like going to the Maldives again. At this point, you choose to stay on board to go snorkelling a little further or disembark to enjoy the island. We decided to leave the speedboat and explore.
As soon as you arrive, the beauty of the place puts a smile on everyone’s face. The water is so clear and blue, the sand so white with the green hill in the back; it’s a real tropical dream. The beach is immense, and it’s a relaxing walk to go all the way to the end with your feet in the warm water.
This place was a 70-bungalow luxury resort for wealthy Japanese travellers. But only 7 to 10 rooms are still in operation. The hotel is a bit surprising, and I hope people who book one of the expensive bungalows know the situation.
The problem is that the 60 other rooms are still in wreck condition. Some are converted into abandoned storage rooms, dilapidated staff houses and total wrecks by the sea; it’s so surreal! Imagine going to your villa at night and having to walk along with a few wrecked cottages. That’s a little creepy. (Look at the photos lower on the page). We suppose that running such a big and expensive resort so far from the main island was not profitable in the long run.
The main building and the once iconic swimming pool are still beautiful but a little run down. The best spot is the small wooden beach bar where you can buy a beer for 120 baht.
At noon, the visitors can enjoy a small but good lunch buffet in an open restaurant by the sea, with tables under the trees. It’s a relaxing moment and a chance to meet and talk with other visitors. The food is good and the atmosphere pleasant. You can buy beers at the hotels, but as recommended by our guides, you can bring your own too, it’s a lot cheaper (you can buy them at the pier!)
The viewpoint at the top of the hill behind the hotel is not difficult to reach but not impressive. There is a small shrine up, and the hotel set up a little selfie spot to take a couple of photos.
Surprisingly, Maiton is somewhat unknown. Perhaps people think it’s far (but it’s not really)? Maybe it’s a little more expensive than Coral Island (2,900 baht)? Or maybe the illusion of a once very private and exclusive island remains from the past. However, we believe that despite its beauty, people don’t talk much about it.
More Photos of the abandoned hotel
Maiton Island Map