Go now while you still can.
Maya Bay, on the Thai island of Koh Phi Phi Leh, will be closed to tourists from June to September this year as authorities try to mend years of environmental damage.
According to the Guardian, Maya Bay receives up to 5,000 visitors a day, with most tourists arriving by boat from Phuket or Koh Phi Phi. Much of that tourism is reportedly inspired by the 2000 film, “The Beach,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
As an environmentalist himself, we assume Leo would be very disappointed by this news.
The movie, oddly enough, is about an American backpacker who travels to Thailand to find something “real” — a paradise to connect with. A perfect beach, if you will.
However, the actual beach is not perfect. Thon Thamrongnawasawat, deputy dean of the faculty of fisheries at Kasetsart University in Bangkok, told the Guardian that 80 percent of the coral reefs have been destroyed by construction, boat anchors, and plastic waste.
Thamrongnawasawat said that the “ideal solution” would be for the bay to be closed permanently. However, the three-month closure, during the beach’s off season, will help.
Thailand’s economy is fairly reliant on tourism, which accounts for 18 percent of its GDP. While Leo fans won’t exactly be turned away from Thailand forever, they will at least have to wait for a while.