One of the most visited beaches in the world—the one made famous by the film The Beach featuring Leonardo DiCaprio—will close, indefinitely, because it needs to recover from damages caused by millions of visitors over the years.
Maya Bay, known for its incredibly blue, clear water and golden sands, surrounded by the Ko Phi Phi Leh Island cliffs, is one of Thailand’s highest volume tourist areas since it made its Hollywood debut in The Beach.
Up to 5,000 visitors and 200 boats a day would visit the relatively small beach which, over time, has caused incredible environmental damage. Authorities are now calling for a one-year minimum closure of the beach.
Tourism has caused a laundry list of issues from the pollution caused by litter, boats and sun screen to the Maya Bay coral of which only about 20% remains alive, according to estimates. However, the beach brought in a little over the equivalent of 12 million USD each year, thus authorities were reluctant to close it even though there was evidence of the grave damage for years.