Both Thai and foreign visitors are returning to Krabi’s Maya Bay after the popular tourism spot re-opened on Sunday, October 1. Maya Bay, located on Koh Phi Phi Leh, was closed for two months to allow the ecosystem to recover – now an annual two month break designated by the marine national park.
Maya Bay is arguably one of the world’s most famous beaches, thanks to its starring role in the 2000 Leonard DiCaprio movie, The Beach (which also featured other Phuket locations like the On On Hotel in Old Phuket Town).
Sadly, the bay’s popularity threatened to destroy it, with, until recent years, up to 6000 tourists descending on the beach each day. Officials now close the bay, part of the Hat Noppharat Thara Mu-Ko Phi Phi National Park, each year to allow for environmental recovery.
Officials have also installed a new arrival pier and walkway at the back of the island to keep boats from entering the bay, where their anchors and propellers were causing damage to the coral and bay floor.
Visitor numbers are now limited to 375 people per one-hour trip. When the hour is up, they must leave the bay to allow the next group in. Swimming has also been banned in the bay, and boats can no longer enter the bay, with tourists accessing it from a special pier at Loh Samah Bay, on the opposite side of the island. The bay closes to visitors at 4pm each day.
Anecdotally, the ceiling of 375 tourists each hour was often exceeded before this year’s closure.
Meanwhile, the Phuket Express reports that the President of the Krabi Hotels Association, Wichupam Pukaoluan Srisanya, says occupancy is on the up, helped by additional direct flights from Dubai being added this month. She says around 80% more tourists are expected to visit the province this high season, compared to the numbers seen at the same time of year during the Covid-19 pandemic.
SOURCE: The Phuket Express