Maya Bay, Arguably Thailand’s Most Famous Beach, Shut to Tourists Indefinitely

Maya Bay, a tourist hotspot in Thailand which drew over 5,000 tourists per day, was closed indefinitely this week after the Thai Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation said the vegetation, fish, and coral reefs need proper time to heal from the damage caused by visitors.

Located near Koh Phi Phi, the stunning beach became a global travel destination after it became world famous thanks to the “The Beach”, a 1999 Hollywood blockbuster about a young backpacker, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

Although Maya Bay had been closed since June, many hoped that it would reopen in the coming months but authorities quelled those hopes with the decision.

“Four months’ closure was not enough,’ Songtham Sukswang, the director of the Office of National Parks said in an interview with Reuters. “We need at least a year or even up to two years or maybe more for the environment to recover – this includes the coral reefs, mangrove, and the beach.”

The closure of other beaches to protect coral reef have been a major success in the recent past, with off-limits islands regaining a huge amount of lost wildlife.

When Maya Bay reopens, a limit of 2,000 visitors a day will be enforced.

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