People hoping to visit famous Maya Bay are going to have to wait a while longer to take in its stunning white shores and towering limestone cliffs. The popular day-trip destination which has been closed to the public since last year to allow coral restoration and beach recovery, will remain closed indefinitely, the head of Hat Noppharat Thara–Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park, Woraphot Lomlim, has confirmed.
Following its closure in June 2018, Woraphot said that nature is now slowly rehabilitating itself, citing the return of reef sharks and ghost crabs to the bay, while some 23,000 pieces of coral are also growing once more. Located in the Phi Phi islands between Krabi and Phuket, Maya Bay is home to some of the most spectacular and idyllic natural scenery in Thailand. After Maya Bay was made famous by the 2000 Hollywood film “The Beach” starring Leonardo Di Caprio, it has been a must see destination for tourists visiting Thailand.
At its peak it was estimated that 5,000 tourists per day visited the beach, while 200 boats per day would anchor in the bay. Its popularity with tourists resulted in catastrophic and long term damage to the surrounding natural environment, with officials claiming up to 80 percent of the coral in the bay had been destroyed prior to it being closed to tourists. Despite the positive news of wildlife and coral returning to the bay, officials have now said it is likely Maya Bay will remain closed for at least the next 4 to 5 years.
Today, tourists wanting to visit Maya Bay are only permitted to go within 300 metres of the island. A special exclusion zone allows them to take photos of the bay and the surrounding area but they are unable to set foot on the beach itself.