Maya Bay in Phi Phi Ley, Krabi.

Maya Bay from DiCaprio film The Beach reopens after 4 years

Due to the unexpected paralysis of the tourism sector by the COVID pandemic, the authorities extended the closure on Maya Bay for up to four years, the iconic coast of the island of Phi Phi Leh (in the Andaman Sea), which had been popularized by the movie ‘The Beach’ starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

But since January 1 it has reopened to the public.

The movie that had been directed by Danny Boyle, with a 26-year-old Leonardo DiCaprio, was about a secret beach that was a corner of paradise on Earth, with its green waters and white sands, surrounded by lush tropical vegetation.

Until things start to go awry, and what seemed like a summer dream turns into a nightmare.

Despite being more than two decades old, the film was a must-see source of reference for the hundreds of thousands of tourists who came to Maya Bay to see its beauty.

But such a flood of visitors ruined the fragile ecosystem at an alarming rate, especially its corals, which were damaged by the tourists who plucked them to take a souvenir, as well as the increase in water temperature.

The beach once received up to 5,000 visitors per day, arriving in small boats with outboard motors coming and going from Phuket, or sport boats left moored offshore.

The first closure ordered by the Thai government was in April 2018. Initially the measure was to extend for four months, but it was gradually extended, until in May 2019 they made a draconian decision: the beach would be banned to tourism until mid-2021.

The plummeting number of international travelers due to the pandemic was an indirect benefit to the Maya Bay ecosystem, so the government had few qualms about extending the ban until January 1, 2022.

The new year has arrived and Maya Bay can now be visited. But things have changed: from now on, only 2,000 people a day will be able to feel the warmth of its white sands, with a maximum of 300 simultaneous visitors, and from 10:00 to 16:00.

The speedboats that were plying the waters of the Phi Phi archipelago at full speed will not be allowed to enter these shores, and will have to drop off passengers at a nearby pier.

The governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said the sharks have returned, the coral reefs are growing back and the water is clear again.

-Thailand News (TN)

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