Thailand’s Maya Bay, a popular tourist island in the Andaman Sea, was made famous by the 2000 movie The Beach starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
The Beach became so popular that 200 tourist boats were disgorging upwards of 4,000 visitors every day. But earlier this year, it earned a different sort of notoriety.
Due to rising pollution levels on the beach, coral reefs and sea life were disappearing. The Thai government had announced it would be temporarily closed between June and September 30. During this four-month closure, the government also announced a special rejuvenation program for the beach, part of the Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park, to try to repair some of the severe environmental damage.
But the government has now admitted that the damage was actually greater than first thought.
Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) has now announced that the closure would be extended from October “onwards until the marine natural resources return to their normal condition.”
The DNP had estimated 2.5 million tourists would visit the bay this year, but a reopening date remains uncertain.
By Rosalyn Oshmyansky for PeterGreenberg.com