Jan 1 reopening of Maya Bay confirmed

Maya Bay in Krabi, closed since June 2018, will be reopened with restrictions on Jan 1, 2022. (Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Koh Phi Phi National Park photo)

Maya Beach will definitely reopen to tourists on Jan 1 but swimming will be off-limits, according to the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation.

The famous tourist attraction in Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Koh Phi Phi Marine National Park in the southern province of Krabi will begin welcoming a limited number of tourists from New Year’s Day, department director-general Thanya Netithammakul said on Sunday.

Mr Thanya said the number of tourists visiting the beach on Phi Phi Le Island would be limited to 375 per hour.

However, swimming would definitely not be allowed because the sea around Maya Beach is home to a large number of blacktip reef sharks. A recent survey found there were 161 blacktrip reef sharks in the area, he added.

According to Mr Thanya, the department was pondering collecting an additional fee from tourists.

Apart from paying an admission fee to enter the marine national park, tourists would have to pay extra for visiting Maya Beach itself.

The matter was being considered by an advisory committee of the park, he said.

The department closed Maya Bay in June 2018 after it was overwhelmed by tourists, leading to the destruction of reefs and marine ecology in the area.

Although small in size — just 250 metres long and 15 metres wide — the bay has drawn global attention since it featured in the Hollywood movie The Beach, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, filmed there in 1999.

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