Is Maya Bay open? Yes! Maya Bay, which is the most recognizable landmark within the Phi Phi Islands, is one of the most popular and gorgeous beaches in the world. It acquired its fame after the movie by Danny Boyle, “The Beach”, which starred Leonardo DiCaprio, was filmed there in the year 2000. After the movie was launched, the beach could bring over 5000 tourists every day.
May 2023 Update
Great news to all tourists looking to visit Maya Bay in the Phi Phi Islands. As of May 1st, 2023, Maya Bay is once again reopened to tourists. While it is likely that each year Maya Bay will close for a few months to ensure it is maintained, it is currently catering to the large number of tourists keen to explore the incredible scenery that is on offer.
With that said, if you’re thinking about visiting Maya Bay in the rainy season then it is best to contact the Simba team to ensure that the Bay is open to visitors as we are fully aware of the closure announcements and able to inform you of the current status.
Why did Maya Bay close?
The movie “The Beach” elevated the status and popularity of Maya Bay as well as the Thai tourism industry as a whole, increasing Maya Bay tours. That said though, such popularity also came with its disadvantages. With lots of tourists visiting the bay for like 19 years, the beach eventually became damaged as it could not sustain the massive tourism.
It was unfortunate when Maya Bay closed temporarily because that severe damage to the bay’s environment. A lot of the coral as well as plants died because of that drastic rise in visitors. So, the Thai authorities were forced to close it to allow for the recovery of the ecology.
Delays in reopening
The initial plan was that the bay be closed from 2018 to October 2018. Those few months wouldn’t have been enough for complete rejuvenation of the bay and the park. The marine required more time to recover from the pollution and littering that had been done for years by tourists and boats. The coral on the other hand grows about a centimetre in a year so for the bay to become fully restored, it will take a number of years. Luckily that temporary closure has brought about some positive results. People have started sighting blacktip reef sharks swimming at the bay.
Cause for Optimism
Is Maya Bay open or opening anytime soon? The thing is, since its closure Maya Bay has recovered tremendously. Conservationists’ efforts have really paid off. The coral nurseries that they planted really thrived in the undisturbed waters during the closure. The fish population has also increased by like 200% in comparison to 2018 and seabirds like egrets and herons have come back to the bay. Much as the beach still remains closed to visitors and boats forbidden from entering the protected turquoise waters of the bay, it’s the hope of both the locals and the Thai authorities that they will open soon and Maya Bay tours resume.