- Thailand’s Maya Bay, made famous in the 2000 film “The Beach,” is closing to tourists for the first time.
- The crowds it attracts have damaged the beach and its surroundings, according to Thailand’s national parks department.
- The beach now is also unlike the one depicted in the film because of crowds, litter, and the noise of boat engines, the BBC reported.
- It will close on Friday and is set to reopen on September 30.
Thailand’s Maya Bay, made famous in the 2000 film “The Beach,” is closing on Friday because it has been damaged by too many tourists.
A bucket-list tropical spot for travellers, the stunning beach became extra popular with visitors after Leonardo DiCaprio graced its shores in Danny Boyle’s film.
But all the trips to Maya Bay have damaged the beach and its surroundings, according to environmentalists.
The BBC reported that Thai authorities would close the beach, a short strip of land on the island of Ko Phi Phi Leh, to tourists for the first time to give it “a chance to recover from the strain of thousands of daily visitors.”
The beach today is also unlike the one depicted in the film, as it is much more crowded and “definitely not relaxing,” the BBC said, with the sound of boat engines in the background and some litter on the sand.
One 23-year-old tourist, Lara Vogelsberg, told the BBC: “The beach in the film is very relaxing, there are no people to be seen, and you get this idea of a very lonely place in the middle of nowhere. Then you come here and you think you’re in Times Square in New York.”
You can watch the trailer for “The Beach” here:
Thon Thamrongnawasawat, an adviser to Thailand’s national parks department, told the BBC: “We are a beautiful country, but we have to protect our natural resources.”
He added: “We have significant information that all the boats that come in and out really impact the coral reef.”
In a notice, the department also acknowledged “the deterioration of the ecosystem in the area of Maya Bay.”
However, as tourism is a massive source of income for Thailand – about 467,000 UK tourists visited the country in 2016 – the beach won’t be closed forever. It’s set to reopen on September 30.
“We won’t close it to tourism forever but have to do something to save our sea, and we have to start at Maya Bay,” Thamrongnawasawat told the BBC.