Maya Bay to reopen for tourism on Jan 1

Aerial view of iconic Maya Bay. File photo

Officials have announced plans to reopen one of Thailand’s most famous beaches.

Maya Bay in Krabi, which of course was made famous by the movie The Beach starring Leonardo DiCaprio, will reopen for tourism on January 1, 2022, Thailand’s Department of National Parks has announced.

Maya Bay’s closure wasn’t related to the pandemic.

Instead, it had been ordered closed to tourists at the request of the Thai government and related agencies for environmental reasons.

Back in June 2018, the government closed Maya Bay and embarked on a program which aimed to restore the natural environment and the bay’s decimated corals and sea life population.

Initially, the bay was to be closed for a period of four months but this was further extended to two years.

Following the global pandemic, it will be more than three years since tourist visited the bay following its closure.

Maya Bay is arguably Thailand’s most iconic and recognisable beach thanks in no part to the huge success of the The Beach, where it played a starring role.

Prior to its closure, around 5,000 tourists per day visited Maya Bay, which while generating huge sums in tourism revenue, severely damaged its natural environment.

But now officials say Maya Bay has been restored to a good condition and can reopen to tourists.

However, there are strict entry rules in place with regards to visitors.

The days of thousands of tourists descending on Maya Bay each day appear to be over.

Instead, only eight speed boats can bring tourists to the bay at any one time.

And rather than docking near the shore, as they did previously, they will now be required to dock on a pier located at the back of the island on the opposite side to the bay itself.

Tourists can also only visit the bay for a maximum of one hour and no more than 300 tourists will be allowed to visit the bay at any one time. The bay is only open to tourists between 10am and 4pm daily.