The famous Maya Bay on Phi Phi Island in Krabi province, celebrated in the US movie “The Beach”, will be closed four months from June to September to help nature to recover from degradation due to tourism overcrowding.
The closure of one of the world’s most famous bay was agreed upon at a meeting of the marine national park consultation committee following studies over pollution assessment. Samples of water in Maya Bay were taken last year for examination . The result showed the water was murky and the reefs were covered with sand sediments.
With the closure – a first in the history of the Bay-, authorities hope to revert decades of degradation of the coral reefs and the environment. Similar measures have been introduced before on other Thai islands such as Koh Tachai in 2016.
Maya Bay gets up to 5,000 visitors a day, with most tourists travelling by boat from Phuket or Koh Phi Phi. Much of that tourism has been stimulateed following the release of the US movie “The Beach” released in 2000 with US actor Leonardo DiCaprio.
According to Dr Thon Thamrongnawasawat, deputy Dean of Kasetsart University’s Faculty of Fisheries, the meeting agreed to close the bay from June to September. In an interview with international media, the Dean indicated that almost 80% of Thailand’s coral reefs have been destroyed. Primary cause to the degradated environment are beachfront hotels, boat anchors and above all, plastic waste dumped into the sea.
As the bay reopens after the four month closure, visitors to the bay will also be limited to only 2,000 per day, half the previous number recorded on the site.
Moreover, not all boats will from now be allowed to access to the beach passing the coral reefs to try to strictly protect the environment.
Earlier the chief of the Hat Nopparat Thara– Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park Mr Worapoj Lomlim has said Maya Bay at Phi Phi Island will be closed to all boats from June to September this year in order to provide much-needed relief to the coral reefs and marine eco-system.