Thailand's Iconic Maya Bay From 'The Beach' Movie Set To Close

It's a rite of passage for any 'Travelgrammer' and a must-see destination on the classic South-East-Asian backpacking route. I mean, if you didn't get a candid shot at Maya Bay, did you even go to Thailand?

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

But you might want to hold your horses on that one for the time being because the famous Thai island - made famous by Danny Boyle's film The Beach - is being closed to visitors after being completely exhausted by years of mass tourism.

Maya Bay on Phi Phi Leh Island will be off limits for four months starting 1 June in an effort to give it a chance from recover from a 10-year influx of holidaymakers fumbling around with selfie sticks and cameras.

And rightly so - honestly, the place looks like a scene from a Where's Wally book these days.

Kerri Arnold and Kendal Corgile, tourists from Atlanta, Georgia, described Maya Bay as 'hectic' when speaking to the BBC about the planned closure.

"I didn't realise how busy the beach would be. Shutting it temporarily is a great idea. It's crazy how many boats there are," they said.

The island receives 5,000 visitors a day, so the constant arrival of boats is significantly impacting the coral reef, according to Thon Thamrongnawasat, an advisor to Thailand's national parks department.

Tourists fill the beach at Maya Bay. Credit: PA
Tourists fill the beach at Maya Bay. Credit: PA

He told the BBC: "We won't close it to tourism forever but we have to do something to save our sea, and we have to start at Maya Bay."

When the park reopens in September, the Guardian reports, the government have set a limit of 2,000 visitors per day - half the amount of the current cap - and boats will be made to anchor on a dock rather than the shores of the island.

This could please the likes of 23-year-old tourist Lara Vogelsberg, from Cologne, who thinks the hectic island is slightly more than deceiving.

She told the BBC: "The beach in the film is so relaxing and you get the idea of a very lonely place in the middle of nowhere. Then you come here and think you're in Times Square."

But lucky, the catalogue of bucket-list tickers in Thailand is endless - so if you're a tourist with your heart set on exploring the country's many must-see destinations, I wouldn't worry too much.

Credit: Megan Walsh

Featured Image Credit: PA

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