Dubbed “a slip of a beach hidden by limestone cliffs,” Maya Bay skyrocketed to international fame when acclaimed director Danny Boyle handpicked it as the backdrop for his blockbuster hit The Beach, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
Despite its cinematic allure, Maya Bay has been embroiled in a series of legal battles stemming from its portrayal in the movie. Nonetheless, the film’s global success catapulted Maya Bay, also known as Ao Maya locally, onto the bucket lists of travellers worldwide, drawing a staggering 6,000 tourists daily.
However, concerns over the beach’s sustainability prompted the Thai Department of National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation to shutter its shores in 2018 for environmental rehabilitation. After a painstaking two-year closure, Maya Bay cautiously reopened in 2022, albeit with stringent regulations.
Measures such as prohibiting boats from anchoring in the bay and restricting beach access to just 375 visitors per hour were implemented to safeguard its delicate ecosystem, reported Thai PBS World.
While Maya Bay may claim the bronze medal in the global beach rankings, the top two spots were seized by The Pass at Byron Bay in Australia’s New South Wales and the iconic Ipanema beach in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
In related news, a violent disagreement escalated into a shooting incident between two employees of Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park in Krabi on January 3, leaving one critically injured. Yutthapong Damsrisuk, the park’s chief, revealed that the victim was shot twice during the dispute, which happened at their residence in Maya Bay, a beloved tourist spot.
In other news, a Thai man lost his life after taking a fateful dip into the sea at Jomtien Beach near The Now Hotel on January 25, possibly under the influence of alcohol.