By Alison Fox
Nov 24, 2021
THAILAND’S FAMOUS MAYA BAY, which has been closed for three years, is finally reopening on January 1. The beach cove, made famous by the 2000 Leonardo DiCaprio movie “The Beach,” was shut down in 2018 after overtourism started destroying the cove’s coral reef. Scientists then set to work trying to restore it, even using superglue to regrow coral.
Now, Thailand is finally ready to open the popular spot to tourists again, CNN reported this week, citing the country’s Department of National Parks. But there will be a few conditions.
Only eight speed boats and 300 tourists will be able to dock by the cove at any one time with each visit limited to an hour. And the cove will only be open to visitors from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.
The boats won’t be able to enter the actual bay either, instead, they’ll be dropping passengers off at a nearby pier.
“Maya Bay has been continuously receiving interest from tourists around the world. But this has also caused (the natural area) to deteriorate, especially the corals,” Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-Archa said in a statement to the network. “After shutting down Maya Bay to revive and restore it, up until the present, it has returned to a good condition.”
The popular cove, still one of the most Instagrammed beaches in the world, sits off the coast of Phuket, and is part of the Phi Phi islands in Krabi province.
While tourists can’t currently reach Maya Bay, they can view it from a boat or snorkel in front of the bay in specific areas.
The move to reopen the famed movie-star beach comes as Thailand overall has started welcoming foreign visitors, lifting quarantine requirements for vaccinated travelers from a growing list of countries. The country has also made plans to implement a proposed 500-baht tourism fee for next year, which would be used to subsidize tourism-related projects.