FROM Friday June 1, 2018, one of Thailand’s most popular day trip destinations, Maya Bay, will closed down for a period of four months in order to allow corals and the underwater world to recover from an influx of tourists that flock to the island every year.
Maya Bay is located at Koh Phi Phi Leh, the smaller island of Koh Phi Phi, and has been made famous thanks to the movie “The Beach”, starring Leonardo Di Caprio, shot in the late nineties. Since then, over 4,000 tourists visited the island on a daily basis to take some pictures and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
Earlier this year, the Chief of the Hat Nopparat – Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park asked the government to take measures in order to prevent the damage done to corals and other marine life, and the proposal of a four-month closure has seen the light.
Until the end of September 2018, no boat will be allowed to reach the shore of Maya Bay directly and will have to respect a no-go zone located in the perimeter of the island.
Visitors will still be allowed to take pictures from afar as well as visiting the beach where the movie was filmed; they will need, however, to use another path located on the other side of the island and walk across the jungle.
While a four months period may seem a bit short to allow wildlife to recover, it is already a step in the right direction, with the government stating that they will also limit the number of visitors in the future to a maximum of 2,000 people per day.
Failure to comply will result in heavy fines to the boat and tour operators, who will most likely focus on other islands for the time being.
Do you agree with this decision? Let us know in the comment if you think this is a positive step toward a more sustainable form of tourism for the region.
Top: The beautiful and very popular Maya Bay.
By Nattha Thepbamrung