Famous Thailand beach reopens to visitors for the first time in four years

After an extensive period of ecological restoration, Thailand's beautiful Maya Beach is now welcoming back tourists, but with new protective measures in place

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One of Thailand’s iconic beaches has reopened to the public after nearly four years of closure.

The idyllic Maya Beach was made famous by one of Leonardo DiCaprio’s early films named the ‘The Beach’, a Hollywood hit released in 2000.

Located on the island of Ko Phi Phi Leh, the beautiful 250 metre bay is only accessible via boat, most arriving from Phucket and Krabi.

The film's star attraction became an instant hit with tourists, flocking from all from over the world to see the stunning sand, sea and scenery, with the towering limestone cliffs providing a mystical and awe-inspiring landscape.

However in 2018, Thai Authorities decided to close the beach as overtourism was causing the environment to suffer and deteriorate. More than 5,000 people were visiting the tiny bay every day.

Maya Beach is only 250m wide (Shutterstock)

Maya Beach is only 250m wide (Shutterstock)

The beach returns

Ever since its closure, the ecosystem has made a strong recovery. Litter has been cleared, the coral reef has regrown, the water has returned to its crystal-clear state, and marine animal populations have increased, including black-tipped sharks.

Conservationists confirmed nature had restored itself sufficiently enough for visitors to return from January 2022.

Although tourists are now welcome to experience the stunning location, restrictions have been put in place to ensure the beach’s good health is sustained.

A limited amount of people can visit Maya Beach each day with a cap of around 300 people at a time. It is now only open from 10am to 4pm.

Furthermore, a boardwalk has been built to avoid damage to the natural surfaces, boats are only allowed to dock in certain areas to protect the coral reefs, and swimming is currently prohibited. 

Find out more information about visiting Thailand, including current entry requirements here.

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