Thailand’s Maya Bay, Made Famous by 'The Beach,' Is Reopening After 3 Years

Tourists will soon be able to visit the famous attraction again

Longtail Wooden Boat at Maya Bay, Thailand
AleksandarGeorgiev / Getty Images

Just a few weeks after opening national borders back up to tourists, Thailand officials have announced a reopening date for one of its most iconic attractions—Maya Bay, made famous by the movie “The Beach” (2000), starring Leonardo DiCaprio. 

Unlike many closures we’ve seen in the past couple of years, the tourism restrictions around Maya Bay had nothing to do with the pandemic. The site (located on Koh Phi Phi Island) closed back in June 2018 due to overtourism's negative impact on local ecosystems. At the time of its closure, the bay was receiving up to 5,000 visitors each day—visitors who were leaving trash on the beaches and destroying the surrounding coral reefs with boats and sunscreen.

Park officials and environmental campaigners have spent the last three years reviving Maya Bay, including planting new coral and upgrading visitor facilities. Their work seems to have paid off: According to a statement issued by Thailand's Department of National Parks, the bay's reopening date is set for January 1, 2022.  

"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," said Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-Archa. "After shutting down Maya Bay to revive and restore it, up until the present, it has returned to a good condition."

The news does come with some stipulations. The biggest change is that boats will no longer be able to enter the bay (the site received about 200 boats per day back in 2018). Instead, visitors will get dropped off at a pier near the back of the island, where one of eight speedboats will transport them to the cove. Once they arrive, they will be allowed to stay at the bay for up to an hour; numbers will be capped at 300 people per hour, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. However, boats will still be allowed to navigate the outer limits of the bay, and people can still snorkel in designated zones and view the famous beach from their ships. 

All tourists will also have to adhere to Thailand’s current pandemic requirements. On November 1, the country eased quarantine restrictions for tourists coming from “low risk” countries and territories, including the United States and Canada. Travelers are only required to stay one night in a government-approved hotel while they wait for their RT-PCR test results. Non-vaccinated travelers, however, will need to quarantine in a pre-approved hotel for 10 days.

Article Sources
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  1. Tourism Authority of Thailand Newsroom. "Krabi's world famous Maya Bay eyeing 1 January 2022 reopening." November 16, 2021.

  2. Royal Thai Embassy, Washington, D.C. "Regulations on entering Thailand from 1 November 2021 onward and list of countries and territories where individuals are permitted to enter Thailand." October 28, 2021.

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