If you’ve got Maya Bay on your bucket list, you may have to wait much longer than expected to check out its pristine shores and beautiful cliffs.
Despite being due to reopen the end of last month following a temporary tourist ban, Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) announced the bay will remain closed indefinitely.
Made famous by its appearance in “The Beach”, a Leonardo DiCaprio film that shows off the bay’s pristine waters and epic cliff faces, the tourism hot spot has been off limits since June to allow for an environmental evaluation to determine measures for sustainability of the Bay during future off-tourist seasons.
But according to the DNP, the ecosystem needs more time to recover, and the closure would be extended “until natural resources return to normal”.
“The ecosystem and the beach’s physical structure have yet returned to its full condition,” the department said in a letter, according to CNN.
Temporary closings of natural attractions are not new to Thailand. Each year, the DNP closes several national parks for a period to allow for ecological recovery time. Depending on weather and park conditions, dates vary as the closures are often due to extreme weather, especially during the rainy annual monsoon that may create unsafe conditions.
In Krabi, which has three national parks, the DNP closes Ko Rok Nok and Ko Rok Nai, Ko Ngai, Mu Ko Ha, and Kong Hin Daeng-Hin Muang in the Mu Ko Lanta National Park, from 16 May to 14 October every year. Furthermore, the Department has closed Ko Yung in Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Ko Phi Phi National park and the trekking trail of Khao Phanom Bencha National Park, until further notice.
Krabi Vice Governor Apinan Puakpong noted that only Maya Bay will be closed to visitors while neighbouring Mu Ko Phi Phi (Phu Phi islands) and its beautiful beaches remain open to the public.
Apinan also said that Krabi’s other famous beaches, including Mu Ko Phi Phi, Ko Hong, Ko Dam Hok Dam Khwan, Ko Poda, Ko Ngai, Ko Lanta, Nopparat Thara Beach, Ao Nang Beach, Thap Khaek Beach, Ba Kantiang Beach and West Rai Le Beach were all open and ready to welcome tourists.