Why is Maya Bay closed in Thailand –

A lesson in Tourism vs Environment

Why is Maya Bay closed in Thailand

One of the best examples of the significance of ecotourism is Maya Bay of Thailand. The area has been closed to all tourists for the first time in history. This is the consequence of the destruction resulting from too much tourism. Maya Bay does need some valuable time to recover from the damage. At first, the closure was for an indefinite period of time. The potential reopening of the area is now sometime in the year of 2021. The basic definition of a tourist is the guest coming from another country. This means a tourists should always try to leave the destination in the same condition as when they arrived.

Up till now Maya Bay is still closed. Its original reopening date was set for mid-2021 sometime.


Maya Bay


Why was Maya Bay closed to tourism?

National Parks in Thailand often protect areas with a break for four months. This gives the area necessary time to recover from over-tourism. When Maya Bay was at its height of popularity, between 4,000 and 6,0000 visitors poured in every day. There were also about 200 boats every day. This number may appear quite small until all of the trash the tourists left behind is becoming a huge burden. This was simply more than the fragile Eco-system in the area were able to sustain.

The (DNP) Department of National Parks in Thailand is the governmental authority responsible for the closure of Maya Bay. The DNP announces the area will be closed until all of the natural resources have had enough time to return to normal. Before the closure of Maya Bay, the estimate was a potential 2.5 million tourists for 2018 alone. Marine biologists conducted studies to determine exactly how severe the damage had gone. The sea life was reducing to a fraction of the original population with considerable loss in the pieces of the coral reef. Years may be needed for the area to have the rich marine life to the original level.

How was Maya Bay visited by tourists?

Most frequently, tourists used Speed boats as forms of travel when visiting Maya Bay, Thailand. Prior to the closure of Maya Bay to fulfill ecological recovery, huge numbers of tourists visited in boats. Speedboats were one of the most chosen methods of travel, which was generally followed by a long ride on a tail boat. There used to be a lot of tours available departing from Koh Phi Phi Islands. Maya Bay could also be accessible from Krabi and Phuket.

The reason why so many visitors visited Maya Bay is that it is one of the most beautiful areas in Thailand. There even were so called early bird tours prior to the closure that visitors could enjoy the serene and tranquil beauty of Maya Bay before thousands of visitors flooded the sands on the bay.


Tourists on Maya Bay


How long is Maya Bay on Phi Phi Island closed for?

Maya Bay was at first planned to be closed from June 2018 to October 2018. But the four-month rejuvenation program was not enough for the complete recovery of nature in the area. This most-visited tourist destination in Thailand is to remain closed until sometime in the year of 2021. The marine ecosystem requires more time in order to recover from the great damage caused by millions of tourists, the pollution from litter, boats and etc.

Why has Maya Bay become so popular?

One of the world’s most popular and beautiful beaches, made famous by Danny Boyle’s movie “The Beach” in the year 2000 has been closed since June 2018. Leonardo DiCaprio made Maya Bay more popular than ever which brought some 5.000 visitors to the bay each day. “The Beach” might have become a blessing for Thai tourism, but also a curse for nature which has been continuously damaged by the unsustainable mass tourism during the last 19 years.

What was it like before the closure?

A number of tourists came to the shores of this lovely bay to witness a real paradise. They only needed to take a boat ride once arriving at Koh Phi Phi Don Island. The view when the boat arrived was much more amazing than any pictures could possibly depict. The waters were super clear, surrounded by golden sands. Long before it became obvious on the surface, a negative impact was happening owing to all the visitors.

Anyone watching the large number of boats showing up may think in mind whether any damage has been caused to this nice paradise. Actually, thousands and thousands of tourists came to the shores of this lovely bay every single day. Even early in the morning, you could see crowds of tourists descending in this area. As time passed, the beauty of the bay started to fade due to the impact of over tourism.


Maya Bay before closure


Where else can negative effects of tourism be seen?

Due to a big number of tourists visiting the beautiful islands, the monkeys started coming to the beach because they knew they could be fed by the visitors. The impact of over-tourism struck other islands as well. The saddest part of the story is that Maya Bay is not the only place being negatively affected due to human interference. An early bird tour is provided from Phi Phi Don. Monkey Beach is one of the most frequently visited destinations. This area is exactly going the same way as Maya Bay. The monkeys there are now fully relying on people because they have become accustomed to being fed by visitors.

The natural habitat of the monkeys should not be destroyed by rubbish. The monkeys have become so accustomed to plastic water bottles they are able to drink from them with no hesitations. Just as in the case of Maya Bay, the visitors should keep the idea in mind to ensure the natural beauty of the island.


Monkey on the Beach of Maya Bay


Maya Bay in Thailand – A case of tourism vs environment?

Maya Bay was once an amazing place for tourists to visit. Unfortunately, proper care was once not in place to ensure the area in the way of sustainable development.

There are a lot of reasons to make certain the environment should be give the priority whenever travelling in addition to monkeys unable to hunt for food naturally or rely on the trash on the beaches of Maya Bay.

Imagine if all of the most beautiful and inspirational places on the earth are fading due to over tourism, the marine and wildlife will have no choice but to relocate or even die. This means the future generations will be deprived of the right to experience the beautiful life.

The glamour of Maya Bay was fading so rapidly, there may have been nothing left for the very next generation to enjoy. Visitors should feel nothing but guilty when they leave any natural destination filled with rubbish among the waters and the sands.

The aspiration of the tourists should be to let the area even better than the way it was when they arrived. This would make a positive impact which is desperately needed. These types of places should be maintained for more people to enjoy and experience instead of being taken for granted. If this negative circle is to continue, there will be nothing left for anyone to enjoy at the end.
Tourism and nature must go hand in hand. There should be some efforts to develop toward ecotourism and the way tourists interact with nature. But this is possible only when locals and local businesses can grow environmental awareness.