Maya Bay, the idyllic Thai beach on the island of Phi Phi Leh made famous in the film 'The Beach' starring Leonardo DiCaprio, has been closed since last year. The National Parks Department (NPD) closed the beach last year to stop further ecological damage to the beach area stemming from the influx of tourists.
The NPD decided to extend the closure of the beach area through at least mid-2021. The NPD believes that this will give the beach, and particularly the coral reef, sufficient time to heal. After the closure last year, blacktip reef sharks have been spotted in the water. This is a positive sign that the environment is gradually recovering.
Since the release of the film in 2000, Maya Bay has seen a steady increase in the number of visitors to the beach. What was once a private cove almost enjoyed exclusively by locals quickly turned into a tourist beach, with over 5,000 visitors daily.
The beach is absolutely stunning. It has crystal white sand, clear blue water and is surrounded by towering cliffs. It is a place that you would only imagine seeing in a movie.
The NPD will limit people traveling into the bay by water and will try to prevent as much foot traffic as possible on the beach until the restriction period is over. The NPD has stated it will limit the number of visitors to around 1,200 per day once Maya Bay reopens.