Thailand’s Maya Bay closure extended indefinitely

Reopening of Thailand’s most famous beach to visitors has been postponed until “natural resources return to normal”

Travellers wishing to see one of Thailand‘s most famous natural landmarks will have to wait a little longer. The Maya Bay, best known from Danny Boyle’s movie The Beach featuring Leonardo DiCaprio as the main character, will extend its closure to time that is still to be clarified.

Thailand's popular beach Maya Bay has been closed to visitors since June — Harry Green / Shutterstock
Thailand’s popular beach Maya Bay has been closed to visitors since June — Harry Green / Shutterstock

The stretch of creamy white shores and towering limestone cliffs has been closed since 1 June and was supposed to reopen 1 October. The four-month rejuvenation program was implemented because the influx of tourism was destroying the area’s marine life and rare coral reefs.

However, according to Thailand‘s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, the area still needs a bit more time to recover.

“The ecosystem and the beach’s physical structure have yet returned to its full condition,” said a letter from the department signed by director-general Thanya Nethithammakul.

The statement also added that the authority would extend the closure from October onward “until natural resources return to normal”.

Maya Bay is not the only popular tourist destination that closed its gates to visitors because of their negative impact.

Recently, Boracay island in the Philippines was closed to tourists, which was named the world’s best island by the Condé Nast Traveler 2016 Readers’ Choice Awards.

“I will close Boracay. Boracay is a cesspool. You go into the water, it’s smelly. Smell of what? S***. Because it all comes out in Boracay,” Rodrigo Duterte, the president of the Philippines, said in typically forthright language at the time.

However, Boracay, closed on 26 April this year, should start to reopen this month in phases as a huge part of the local population is directly engaged in the tourism industry.