The bay with the turquoise waters of Ko Phi Phi Leh, which belongs to the Phi Phi archipelago, is only open daily from 7 am to 6 pm. The number of guests is limited to 375 tourists per hour, and 4,125 people are allowed to attend per day. Each visit is limited to 60 minutes.
In addition, swimming is allowed only in a separate area far from the famous bay – anyone who violates this should expect legal consequences. Moreover, boats are no longer allowed to head ashore from the bay side, but have to dock on the other side of the island, news website Thayger reported.
Serious environmental damage
After the global success of the movie “The Beach” in 2000, directed by Danny Boyle and starring young Leonardo DiCaprio, tourists from all over the world fell on the dreamy Maya Bay. More and more Thai travel companies were making big money offering boat tours and more. The newspaper “Thijer” that the number of tourists should have reached 6000 per day.
The carelessly dumped anchors inflicted severe damage on marine coral reefs in particular. Due to environmental damage, the Thai government imposed a visitation ban in June 2018, which should only last a few months. However, in May 2019, it was extended by two and a half years.
20th Century Fox has settled the beach
Oddly enough, “The Beach” is about a young man (DiCaprio) who wants to leave the trails crowded with mass tourism in search of a unique adventure. But later life on the island turned out to be a nightmare for him. To shoot the film, which is based on the novel of the same name by Alex Garland, production company 20th Century Fox leveled and cleared the island’s beach in order to artificially enlarge it.
After the shooting ended, efforts were made to reverse the interference, but much of the damage to the ecosystem remains beyond repair to this day. Accordingly, 20th Century Fox and some members of the Thai government have faced various lawsuits. In 2006, Thailand’s Supreme Court upheld an appeals court ruling that the shootings harmed the environment.
Still a lot of visitors?
The closure of the past few years should help nature – especially coral reefs – recover from the years of onslaught. Meanwhile, several new corals have been introduced, which authorities say is slowly but surely developing. For the island’s ecosystem, it is hoped the government’s environmental protection measures will have a lasting impact – or the younger generation won’t be able to reap much from 47-year-old DiCaprio’s paradise paths.
Sean Steening, who works for local boat company 5 Star Marine, told Thager that he is concerned about the reopening of Maya Bay. He told online media that the number of visitors per day is still very high. “There’s also a concern about the new pier, which is good for snorkeling,” said Steining.
Thailand remains with strict CoV . entry rules
The massive rush to Ko Phi Phi Leh from all over Thailand is currently unexpected for other reasons. Fearing the spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus, Thailand does not want to relax entry rules that have been tightened before Christmas until at least the end of the month. Anyone wishing to come anyway must remain in quarantine for seven or ten days – depending on the country of origin and vaccination status.
This means that the quarantine-free, holiday-friendly “Test & Go” model has been put on hold, in which fully vaccinated tourists only have to take a PCR test on arrival and then wait one night at the hotel for the result. However, Thailand’s largest island of Phuket has announced special quarantine-free rules for people who have been vaccinated. And from Phuket, on the other hand, at least for now, many tourists have made their way to Ko Phi Phi.
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