Maya Bay, which reopened to tourists on Oct 1 this year after another period on “natural rehabilitation”, will be closed once again next month, but this time only for two days – Jan 15-16.
The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) announced the closure on its Facebook page at 9:51pm yesterday (Dec 29). The notice shared by the DNP had been signed by Theekawut Sriburin, head of Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Koh Phi Phi National Park in Krabi.
According to the notice, Maya Bay and Loh Samah Bay on Koh Phi Phi Ley would both be closed to the public on Jan 15-16. The official reason for the closure was given as repairing the floating jetty at Loh Samah, the only legally allowed gateway to Maya Bay now.
Entering the bay directly from the sea had been banned several years ago due to environmental reasons and the necessity to manage tourist arrivals to the landmark, which gained international fame after “The Beach” with Leonardo DiCaprio.
The closure is based on the provision of Section 20 of the National Parks Act 2563 (2020), namely – safety reasons.
Maya Bay was closed to visitors in 2018 by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. It reopened on Jan 1, 2022, but then was closed again to give the ecosystem extra time for recovery ahead of high season.
As many marine experts admit, the 2018-2022 break, which was three and a half years long, had helped turn back the clock and restore Maya Bay’s marine ecology, resulting in healthier coral reefs and the return of the long-absent blacktip reef sharks.
According to current guidelines and regulations, up to 380 tourists can visit the island every hour, and advance bookings are required. Visitors are required to get off their boats at Loh Sama Bay at the back of the island and walk five minutes along a wooden trail to Maya Bay. Swimming activity is prohibited in the bay, and no boats except for DNP’s vessels are allowed to enter the bay.