The tropical getaway you’ve been waiting for.
More than three years after it was closed due to overtourism, the Thai beach made famous by the Leonardo DiCaprio film The Beach is to reopen to tourists.
Maya Bay, on Ko Phi Phi Leh Island, was the setting for the 2000 movie directed by Danny Boyle. It became so popular afterwards that up to 5000 day-trippers would arrive every day. That led to the surrounding coral reef becoming badly damaged.
The initial closure in June 2018 was announced as a temporary four-month break, but that was later updated to be indefinite.
Now Thailand’s Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-Archa says the beach will reopen on January 1, 2022.
“Maya Bay has been continuously receiving interest from tourists around the world. But this has also caused (the natural area) to deteriorate, especially the corals,” said Silpa-Archa in the statement.
“After shutting down Maya Bay to revive and restore it, up until the present, it has returned to a good condition.”
The Washington Post is reporting several changes have been made to prevent a repeat of the damage to the beach and corals. Boats will no longer be allowed to enter the famous bay, and will be directed to a newly installed pier erected at the back of the island. Tourists were often taken here during the wet season, instructed to swim to a rope ladder and climb over the limestone rock and into a rockpool over the other side, walking across to Maya Bay.
There will be a maximum of 300 visitors on the island at any given time and visits will only be allowed between the hours of 10am and 4pm, capped at one hour.
Thailand relies heavily on the tourism industry, which has been hit hard by Covid-19. Tourism accounted for some 20 per cent of the economy before the pandemic. The country has started to reopen to fully vaccinated visitors without quarantine.
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