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  • Maya Bay closed from Aug | Oct 2022

    Krabi’s Maya Bay temporarily closed again

    Just four months after its epic reopening in January, officials are announcing that Thailand’s Maya Bay, located on Koh Phi Phi Leh in Krabi, is planning to temporarily close again from August to September. The bay had reopened in January after closing in 2018, before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, because of how much tourism had damaged the ecosystem. Since the reopening, almost 100,000 people have visited the bay this year, raking in over 20 Million THB of income, according to the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment.

    But the ministry announced the bay will temporarily close again in order to further protect its fragile wildlife. The minister said that even though the ministry had taken strict measures to limit the number of visitors to Maya Bay, over 3,000 visitors came every day during Songkran. The ministry allows 380 tourists per hour to visit the island, and requires them to book trips there in advance. The ministry has banned swimming in the bay. Maya Bay’s 3 year closure was successful at bringing back plant and animal species that had disappeared due to tourist overrun. The most notable animal to return to breed in the bay is the blacktip shark. In March, a park ranger told NPR that before the park closed, when there could be over 6,000 tourists a day, no one would ever think of seeing the local sharks. He said now, on a good day, 160 sharks can be seen.

    Developing Story

    Thailand’s iconic Maya Bay – located on Koh Pi Pi Leh in Krabi province – will be off-limits to tourists for the duration of August and September for another period of environmental restoration. The bay, made famous by “The Beach” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, reopened to tourists on January 01.2022 after a three and a half year closure. All tourist activities will be temporarily suspended between August 1 until September 30 to give both onshore and offshore ecosystems at Maya Bay a chance to recover from a busy seven months of tourism since the bay’s reopening on January 1.2022

    Maya Bay reopened under strict environmental protection measures. For the past seven months, tourists could visit the bay for a period of one hour only between 10am – 4pm. The number of tourists allowed on the 250-metre long stretch of beach was limited to 375 people per hour. After one hour, national park officials would escort tourists away and bring a new group of tourists onto the beach. Swimming was limited to a designated area and boats were asked to dock on the pier side of the island only, with a maximum of eight boats allowed at any one time.

    Temporarily closures of Maya Bay are expected to become an annual occurrence to protect the bay’s sensitive ecology. As much as 50% of Maya Bay’s coral was destroyed by years of unrestricted tourism, with as many as 6000 people visiting the bay every day at the bay’s height of popularity, prompting its sudden closure in 2018. The closure of Maya Bay was a contested and somewhat unpopular decision for local tour operators who depended on the influx of tourists to make an living. But with the fish population in tatters, dead coral and a polluted beach, the bay’s closure could not wait any longer. Initially, authorities planned to close the bay to tourists for four months. It soon became clear that if any real environmental progress were to be actualised, it would take years, not months.

    Rubbish was removed from the beach and animals returned to the bay in abundance, most notably, black-tipped sharks returned to the bay’s waters in their hundreds. Whereas in 2018, only six black-tipped sharks were thought to have visited the bay. The coral also became significantly healthier. Maya Bay currently has an entry fee of 400 THB, but there are rumours that the fee will be increased once the bay reopens in October. With Maya Bay being a world-famous tourist destination, a price hike is likely, according to Thailand’s Minister of Resources and Environment Varawut Silpa-archa.

  • #2
    Maya Bay reopens once again to the public

    After a two-month hiatus, Maya Bay on Koh Pi Pi Leh in Krabi province has reopened to the public. The iconic bay had been closed to tourists to allow for environmental recovery. The closure will be an annual occurrence to try to protect the ecology and wildlife living or visiting the iconic bay. Maya Bay exploded in popularity after serving as the picturesque backdrop to the 2000 film “The Beach” starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Millions of tourists flocked to the site doing significant damage to the nature they were coming to see.

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    As much as 50% of Maya Bay’s coral was destroyed by years of unrestricted tourism, with as many as 6,000 people visiting the bay every day at the bay’s height of popularity, prompting its sudden closure in 2018. After nearly 20 years of environmental abuse and damage, the bay remained closed for three and a half years, in part during the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Officials for the national park said that the climate during this season was also considered in the decision to close for two months each year. The time off facilitates proper tourism management and a breather from humans would allow nature to heal itself.

    The idyllic bay reopened on January 1 of this year and was quickly flooded with tourists, this time more carefully. Swimming was limited to a designated area and boats were asked to dock on the pier side of the island only, with a maximum of eight boats allowed at any one time. The number of tourists allowed on the 250-metre long stretch of beach was limited to 375 people per hour. Between the hours of 10am and 4pm, after one hour, national park officials would escort tourists away and bring a new group of tourists onto the beach.

    All tourist activities were temporarily suspended between August 1 and September 30 to give both onshore and offshore ecosystems at Maya Bay a chance to recover. During that time, the healing seemed to be working. Last month, a group of about 10 bottlenose dolphins were spotted in the south of the Maya Bay by Hat Noppharat Thara – Mu Koh Phi Phi National Park staff.

    Maya Bay’s three-year closure was successful at bringing back plant and animal species that had disappeared due to tourist overrun. The most notable animal to return to breed in the bay is the blacktip shark. In March, a park ranger told NPR that before the park closed, when there could be over 6,000 tourists a day, no one would ever think of seeing the local sharks. He said now, on a good day, 160 sharks could be seen.
    Last edited by Virus; 10-03-2022, 02:07 PM.

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