Emerald water, sparkling sand, and not a single tourist in sight, you probably wouldn’t have even recognized Maya Bay in this new footage if it wasn’t for the bay’s unique rock formation.
Located off Phi Phi Ley, one of many islands in the Andaman waters, the once-pristine bay became a tourist magnet after it was made famous by the 2000 movie “The Beach.” In the wake of that popularity, however, Maya Bay became known for its throng of tourists — with photos of its packed beach becoming ubiquitous online.
Until the four-month closure that began on Friday, the bay welcomed approximately 4,000 tourists a day.
Marine biologist Thon Thamrongnawasawat, who is working with the government on Maya Bay restoration efforts, shared videos of the cove on Facebook after it was officially closed. It marks the bay’s first break from tourists in 30 years and a much-needed chance for damaged coral reefs to recover.
“The image that Thai people haven’t seen for decades — the day that Maya Bay doesn’t host boats, people, and chaos. Today at Maya Bay, you can only hear the sounds of waves, wind, birds … the whispers from the ocean that thanks us,” Thon wrote on Facebook on Friday.
Maya Bay will be closed until mid-October.