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Maya Beach in Thailand, made famous by the 2000 movie “The Beach” with Leonardo DiCaprio, has officially closed to tourists
One of the most popular places to visit in the backpacker haven of Thailand has to be Maya Beach. It’s located on the small island of Koh Phi Phi Ley in the south of the country. Since 2000 when the movie was released it has grown in popularity to the point of bursting, which has ultimately lead to its downfall.
Maya Beach lived up to its potential of becoming the perfect location to represent Alex Garland’s vision of an idyllic island paradise in his novel. As a result droves of backpackers have wanted to follow in the footsteps of the main character, Richard played by Leo in the movie, and experience what the beach has to offer for themselves.
Even now, 18 years after the release of the movie, 5000 people per day visit the white sandy tropical beach. It’s popularity hasn’t all been positive for the location and it’s now closed to tourists due to environmental concerns.
The main reason given for completely closing the popular beach is that the surrounding coral reefs are being damaged at a faster rate than they can grow back thanks to the fact you have to take a boat to get there. Officials say the closure is only temporary though (June – September) and that it should give them enough time to get the area back in good shape and allow the coral to repair a lot of the damage.
As Thailand relies so heavily on tourism you can be sure that the closure will be temporary and not permanent. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is still open for debate.
With more and more companies offering overnight camping trips on the beach where drinking and partying are a common theme, will being closed for 3 months be enough to save this one pristine environment?
Featured image credit: Peter Reid
I’m a professional travel photographer, and I’ve been living the digital nomad lifestyle since 2016. I make money by working on client assignments, selling stock photography and helping other photographers by sharing my experiences on this website. I move around at my own pace (I hate fast-paced travel) and like to spend a few months getting to know each place I base myself in.
My writing and photos have been featured on industry leading websites such as Digital Photography School, Atlas Obscura and the world’s leading underwater photography resource The Underwater Photography Guide. I authored an eBook called “Breaking Into Travel Photography: The complete guide to carving out a career in travel photography” that has been published on Amazon. My stock images have also appeared in ads promoting destinations and companies that sometimes has been a surprise, even to me. But I guess that’s the nature of stock photography, you never know who will license them!
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