Want to know why Maya Bay is getting so popular? Keep reading.
Thailand has long been popular as a tourist destination all over the world because of the tasty Thai food, low prices, outstanding hotels, cheap hostels, history and culture, beautiful natural landscapes, easy access from many countries, and various adventure activities.
You can also explore all… the beaches, jungles, wildlife, museums, and water activities in a single trip to Thailand without breaking your bank account.
Understanding Maya Bay Popularity
Maya Bay, Thailand’s iconic cove, was made famous by “The Beach” — a 2000 film starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
It has finally re-welcoming visitors after four years of closure, since 2018. The reason behind the closure is to revive and restore the area’s decimated corals and natural habitat.
After the opening, Thailand Government is making strides toward its sustainability goals with new visitor rules. Let’s get deeper inside!
The Beach Movi
It was based on the 1996 novel “The Beach” by Alex Garland. The story is about young travelers who drop out of society and go to live in a hidden lagoon in Southern Thailand.
Filmed in 1999, ‘The Beach’ was one of the most eagerly anticipated films of 2000.
The film becomes an inspiration for many tourists on their trip to Thailand. That’s why Maya Bay was getting so popular.
With its sugary fine white sand, picturesque karst cliffs, turquoise-hued waters, and coin-shaped bay, Maya Bay is a part of the Hat Noppharat Tara – Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park.
This tropical paradise meets Hollywood’s standards for choosing it as the film set. It was getting popular since then, however, its peak of popularity lies in 2018.
As it’s estimated that in 2018, over 6000 visitors were rolling into Maya Bay per day.
Reason Behind the Closure
Only 15 meters wide and 250 meters long, Maya Bay had become a victim of its vogue. After visiting, people not only left their garbage behind but also damaged the plants and spooked animals.
The anchors of rushing boats have destroyed almost 50% of Maya Bay’s magnificent coral. This all led to an outrage among Thai locals and unfortunately in 2018, park officials suddenly closed the bay for four months.
However, officials realize that it would take much longer to revive the bay’s nature and to install the required infrastructure to protect it.
Thus, they gradually extended the closure to four years.
During the Closure
During the four-year closure of the iconic Maya Bay, it was entirely cleaned of trash and rubbish. Many trees, plants, and coral were planted under the restoration program.
They planned to install a completely new and sustainable tourism infrastructure in and around the bay. Eventually, they constructed a boardwalk to lessen the damage to sand and plants.
They have designed a floating dock to limit the use of boats, behind the karst cliffs to help future visitors reach Maya Bay.
Reopening and the Current Scenario
Finally, after four years, officials decided to reopen it on January 1, 2022. Just two months after Thailand began welcoming fully-vaccinated tourists. That’s the reason why Maya Bay is getting so popular, these days?
Thailand’s Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-Archa stated on CNN “Maya Bay has been continuously receiving interest from tourists around the world. But this has also caused (the natural area) to deteriorate, especially the corals”. “After shutting down Maya Bay to revive and restore it, up until the present, it has returned to a good condition.”
Eventually, the closure works. The rehabilitation program results in a seemingly pristine, untouched, and green bay. Wildlife and marine life have returned to Maya Bay.
From an installed underwater camera in the bay, they have seen over 100 black-tipped sharks, which were only six in 2018. Thus, the restoration program works!
Sustainable goals and New entry rules for Maya Bay
After creating access to Maya Bay through a floating dock behind the karst cliffs, boats will no longer be allowed to anchor in the bay itself. Swimming allows only in the designated area on the bay.
Most importantly, officials have decided to limit the number of visitors to only 300 people in one of seven or eight shifts per day from 10 am to 4 pm.
After capping the number of daily tourists, still, the daily tally crossed 3000 visitors per day.
In exploring the God-gifted natural world, take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but footprints.
Currently, this attitude of reverence towards the environment is crucial for the good health of the world around us.
As Dalai Lama said: “The planet does not need more successful people. The planet desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of all kinds.“
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She started BeachXplore as a traveling blog covering particularly amazing beaches which she was lucky to visit and research about. Here you can find her writings on the best beaches, guides on beach wear, items, and more.