Thai conservation authorities are not backing down on the decision to close famous Maya Bay in Krabi to tourists indefinitely, saying the marine ecosystem there needs time to repair damage caused by hordes of day-tripping tourists.
The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) had earlier announced a temporary closure but later changed this, announcing on 28 September that Maya Bay and nearby La Dalam beach would close for an indefinite time as of 1 October.
The closure has drawn heavy opposition from tour operators. One of the country’s most visited national park sites, Maya Bay generated some THB 400 million (USD 12.17 million) in tourism revenue last year. In the peak season the beach – which is just 250 metres long and 15 metres wide – sees a deluge of thousands of visitors that significantly exceeds its capacity.
The DNP said tourists could instead visit three other beaches in Krabi that were equally as attractive – Pileh Bay, Loh Moo Dee Beach and Koh Hong.
Situated in the Phi Phi Islands, Maya Bay shot to international fame for being the main location in the 2000 film The Beach starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
It and other nearby bays in Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park are usually closed for the monsoon season from the beginning of June to the end of September.