The white sand beaches in Maya Bay, made famous by Leonardo DiCaprio’s 2000 movie The Beach, have been reopened in Thailand, more than three years after they were closed to allow their ecosystems to recover.
On the isolated island of Phi Phi Leh in the Andaman Sea, the beach is surrounded by high cliffs measuring nearly 100 metres (328 feet) high. The beach can only be reached by boat from nearby areas such as the islands of Phuket and Phi Phi, or the mainland of Krabi.
A ban on tourism was put in place in Maya Bay in 2018, citing the destruction of coral reefs and beach areas. However, since January this year, some people have been allowed back.
According to Yuthasak Supasorn, the governor of Thailand’s Tourism Authority, sharks have reappeared, coral reefs are growing, and the water is once more clear. All of these things demonstrate that nature will heal if we give it time, and we must work to keep it that way too.”
Authorities say that only 375 visitors will be allowed at a time, and swimming will be banned for now in order to preserve the preservation of the area. In order to protect coral reefs, boats will only be able to dock at a designated location at the back of the bay.