Thailand’s Maya Bay, location for The Beach, to shut to vacationers | Travel

The bucket-list seaside on the island of Koh Phi Phi Leh turned well-known when it featured within the Leonardo DiCaprio film, however environmental issues imply it’s going to near vacationers from June

Maya Bay is one in every of Thailand’s most well-known seashores however worries over injury to its coral reefs will shut it throughout off-season to assist it recuperate.
Photograph: ColorPlayer/Getty Images

It is among the world’s most well-known seashores, because of its starring function in Danny Boyle’s movie of Alex Garland’s bestselling novel, and is usually referred to easily as “the beach”. However, this summer time Maya Bay, on the Thai island of Koh Phi Phi Leh, will likely be closed to vacationers as authorities try to reverse many years of harm completed to the area’s marine atmosphere.

The closure will happen from June to September, throughout the island’s off-season, with a purpose to give its coral reef time to recuperate. While related measures have been launched on different Thai islands – in 2016 native authorities closed Koh Tachai – it’s the first time vacationers will likely be forbidden from visiting Maya Bay.

Maya Bay will get as much as 5,000 guests a day, with most vacationers travelling by boat from Phuket or Koh Phi Phi. Much of that tourism has been spurred by the movie The Beach, launched in 2000 and starring Leonardo DiCaprio. It is a film that, paradoxically, tells the story of a backpacker on a quest to search out the right, untouched. seaside.

Leonardo DiCaprio, centre, Guillaume Canet, right and Virginie Ledoyen, left, n a scene from The Beach.

Leonardo DiCaprio, centre, Guillaume Canet, proper and Virginie Ledoyen, left, in a scene from The Beach. Photograph: Peter Mountain/AP

Almost 80% of Thailand’s coral reefs have been destroyed, in keeping with Thon Thamrongnawasawat, deputy dean of the school of fisheries at Kasetsart University in Bangkok, with the first causes being beachfront inns, boat anchors and plastic waste being dumped within the sea.

Speaking to Deutsche Welle, Thamrongnawasawat stated that whereas non permanent closures may help to an extent, the “ideal solution” can be for the bay to be closed completely. Thon has lengthy been outspoken about the necessity to shield Thailand’s marine parks and has warned concerning the threat from tourism. During a go to to the bay in 2016, he described the seaside as being so densely crowded he was left speechless.

Those conversant in the area are conscious of overcrowding on the bay. Sam Clark of Experience Travel says the tour operator ceased suggesting its visitors go on boat journeys to Maya Bay “long ago”.

“While it’s a very pretty bay and recognisable from The Beach, visiting it with a flotilla of boats and hordes of other tourists rather detracted from the magic,” he stated. “If the bay needs to be closed to allow for recovery time in the low season, I can only welcome that.”

Clark added: “The Thai authorities have the benefit of seeing what unchecked development over a 40-year period did to regions of Spain and other places, so they can hopefully learn from that.”

Photo of Maya Bay taken from a seaplane.

Photo of Maya Bay taken from a seaplane. Photograph: Jamie Monk/Getty Images

Luke Finch, 27, visited Maya Bay final Christmas, contemplating it a “bucket list” vacation spot, not least as a result of he counts The Beach amongst his favorite movies. To keep away from the crowds, he took one of many earliest boat journeys, arriving at Maya Bay at 6.30am.

“By the time we were about to leave, more and more boats were streaming in and the noise levels beginning to grow,” he stated. “I used to be happy to be heading elsewhere, and it was solely 7.15am.

“I don’t think it’s drastic enough just closing it for three months. The numbers need to be permanently limited. I’m sure people would still go if they charged a premium to visit.”

Kaushambi Bakshi, 31, a digital media employee from India, visited in 2013, and was additionally impressed by the movie.

“It was very busy, as I went during peak tourist season but my husband and I had prepared for a swarm of tourists, so it wasn’t that rude a shock,” she stated.

“The downside was that we did find litter floating around at many spots in the sea. But overall, the beauty was too breathtaking and made us slightly less bothered about the crowds.”

Tourism is vital in Thailand with some experiences estimating it accounts for 18% of the nation’s GDP. Visitor numbers have tripled since 2004 and in 2017 exceeded 35m arrivals.

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