Thailand’s popular Maya Bay will be continue to be closed to tourists until the end of October due to unfinished restoration and dangers associated with the current monsoon season.The pristine beach on the southern island of Koh Phi Phi popularized by the 2000 movie “The Beach” was closed for the first time in June after it was discovered that most of its coral had been damaged by boat anchors. The part of the bay where damaged corals are rehabilitating and new corals are being planted has been closed to boats permanently, the National Park Department has said.
Initially, the beach had been set to reopen for tourists on October 1 but the temporary closure has been extended as a tourist bridge has not been completyed, according to Nopparat National Park chief Worapoj Lomlim. “We’re also concerned about the tourists’ safety amid the current monsoon season,” Worapoj said, adding that damaged corals “have rehabilitated fast” and officials have managed to plant more than 2,000 new coral colonies during the closure.
The temporary closure will continue each year to prevent further damage to the environment. Thailand’s overall coral damage has reached a “critical” level, with an alarming increase to 78 per cent from 30 per cent a decade ago, said Thon Thamrongnawasawat, a prominent marine ecologist overseeing the effort.