What Does The maya bay Closure mean to Phuket Diving
Maya Bay is probably the most famous beach in Thailand, unfortunately it’s become a victim of its own success. It’s been 18 years since the release of the movie that brought Maya bay its fame but the popularity hasn’t diminished. Thousands of tourists alight everyday to visit the stunning location portrayed in ‘The Beach’ but most leave a little disappointed.
Where Da Beach?
Maya Bay really wasn’t recognisable from the movie because speedboats and longtail boats squeezed together covering every inch of the waterline. You simply couldn’t see the beach as you approach and the sand was jam packed with tourists. You had to arrive very early in the morning or near sunset to get any idea of what all the fuss was about.
The star of the movie – Leonardo Di Caprio is an avid environment and wildlife campaigner and so we would imagine devastated to see what’s happened to this beautiful location. However all is not lost.
Signs Of Recovery?
The initial Maya Bay closure was planned for 5 months during the low season. Anybody who knows anything about coral knew that this was a woefully inadequate time frame and much more was needed. Sure enough as the reopening date approached the Thai authorities realised this resulting in an indefinite closure.
The coral is starting to grow again and the amount of sand covering and suffocating the corals has been reduced. A recent video from a marine park officer shows Blacktip reef sharks are back cruising the shallows. Something we haven’t seen for a long time.
Maya Bay Closure For The Diver
To be honest we’re happy about it. We never dived inside the bay because it was simply too dangerous. The speedboats whizzing in and out of the bay are a major hazard. A diver lost his leg in 2016 even though he had his surface marker buoy deployed.
We cruise into the bay on our Phi Phi diving tour but it wasn’t exactly a draw dropping scene because of hte boats and crowds. At the moment it really looks like the special place its reputation was built on.
A plan for a new floating pier on the back of the island will enable tourists to visit Maya Bay in the near future. This could potentially work very well. Instead of your first impression being of a boat parking lot and huge crowds. You could emerge from the lush jungle to a white sand beach, crystal clear water surrounded by 100m high cliffs. Chuck in a handful of sharks cruising around in the shallows and you definitely do have a little slice of paradise.
We do hope the Thailand National Parks office doesn’t bow to the inevitable pressure from tour operators. Stay true to their recent good work and so give Maya Bay a chance. For the moment Maya Bay is getting a little relief from too many tourists suffocating the coral and washing toxic sunscreen into the water and long may it continue.
We visit the Phi Phi Islands every Sunday and Wednesday. We have other great trips that you can find on our Phuket diving schedule
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