Maya Bay, on Koh Phi Phi Leh, in Krabi, has been voted the third best beach in the world by Lonely Planet.
The beautiful beach and bay, made popular by the 2000 Leonardo Di Caprio movie, The Beach, came in behind Australia’s The Pass at Byron Bay and world-famous Ipanema Beach in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
In awarding its ranking, Lonely Planet described Maya Bay as “a slip of a beach hidden by limestone cliffs” (neglecting to mention the 5,000+ visitors each day).
The use of Maya Bay in the Di Caprio movie placed it firmly and forever on the tourist map, drawing thousands of visitors each day. Eventually the overcrowding and uncontrolled visitor numbers led to the closure of the bay for several years, in order to allow the fragile ecosystem to recover. Covid also gave the beach an additional length of time to recover from the earlier ravages of tourism.
There is now a more organised system in place, with daily visitor numbers limited and access to the bay restricted. Swimming in the actual bay has also been banned, in an effort to protect the black-tip reef shark population, which rebounded during the bay’s closure.
A new walkway, from a pier at the back of the island, and over the vegetation, brings the guests to arrive at the back of the beach. Instead of, as previously. arriving on the actual beach by boat.
SOURCE: Thai PBS World