Thailand – Krabi’s world famous Maya Bay eyeing 1 January 2022 reopening
Bangkok – Maya Bay in Krabi’s Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park is expected to reopen to tourists on 1 January, 2022, having been off limits to the public for three and a half years to allow for environmental rejuvenation. The bay on the uninhabited island of Phi Phi Leh has been closed since June 2018, when it was determined the area’s coral and other marine life needed time to recover from the damage being caused by the thousands of daily tourists who were visiting the location. Maya Bay shot to international fame after it featured in the 1999 Leonardo di Caprio movie, The Beach. At its peak in 2017, tourist traffic to the location was recorded at almost 5,000 people a day.
Environmental authorities said the famous tourist spot would only reopen to visitors after an upgrade to facilities was carried out and an adequate system was put in place to manage visiting tourist numbers.
On 14 November, 2021, a high-level delegation of executives from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment led by H.E. Mr. Warawut Silpa-archa, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, and Mr. Jatuporn Burusphat, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, was given an update on the infrastructure improvements being made at Phi Phi Leh for the reopening of Maya Bay. This includes a new jetty at Loh Samah Bay on the opposite side of the island, which boats taking tourists to see Maya Bay will now have to use. Experts had advised that if the recovery of coral reefs in the area was to continue, the only access to Maya Bay must be via this new jetty.
Also, daily visitor numbers to Maya Bay will be controlled to protect the local environment and marine ecosystem, and a specific area will be designated for swimming. Terrestrial and marine ecosystem recovery has been seen at Maya Bay thanks to its closure since mid-2018. To aid the rejuvenation, officials planted a new coral reef area and more trees on the beach to help prevent shore erosion.