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Maya Bay will close to all boats during restoration period, Phi Phi National Park chief confirms

PHUKET: The Chief of the Hat Nopparat – Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park has confirmed that Thailand’s famous Maya Bay at Phi Phi Island will be closed to all boats from June to September this year in order to provide much-needed relief to the coral reefs and marine eco-system.

tourismmarineenvironmentnatural-resources
By Shela Riva

Thursday 15 February 2018, 05:00PM


Famous Maya Bay on Phi Phi Lei Island will be closed to all boats, and the number of people able access the bay on foot from landing at nearby Loh Samah Bay will be limited. Photo: DNP

Famous Maya Bay on Phi Phi Lei Island will be closed to all boats, and the number of people able access the bay on foot from landing at nearby Loh Samah Bay will be limited. Photo: DNP

However, visitors will still be able to access the bay on foot after arriving at another bay nearby, Park Chief Worapoj Lomlim told The Phuket News today (Feb 15).

“Maya Bay itself will not be closed to visitors, we do not use the word ‘closed’,” Mr Worapoj emphasized this afternoon.

“Maya Bay will simply be prohibiting all boats from accessing the beach via the bay during the period from June to September,” he said.

“There will be no boats allowed at all through Maya Bay. The marine life and corals need time to recover,” he said.

“However, the beach itself will not be closed to visitors because people can still access the beach on foot from an adjacent bay through the back, at which boats can park,” he added.

The bay where boats may land is called Loh Samah Bay, and is located on the south side of Phi Phi Lei Island. From there, tourists will be able to walk the 250 metres across the small isle to see Maya Bay firsthand.

However, Mr Worapoj stressed, as he said in late November last year (see story here), that the number of boats allowed to bring tourists to Loh Samah Bay will be limited.

The exact number of boats bringing visitors to Loh Samah Bay still has yet to be decided, he said.

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“We know there are many problems brought on from the number of tourists visiting the site, but it is difficult to regulate as the boats that bring tourists arrive from many different areas from different provinces, namely Krabi, Phang Nga and Phuket,” Mr Worapoj said in November.

“This issue is very important but right now I can’t give a number of how many [people and/or boats] will be allowed to visit the site each day,” he added.

“At our best estimate at this stage, we are looking to allow an average of 2,400 visitors per day, but this is not yet confirmed as we have yet to best balance the number of people visiting the area, the damage done to the environment and the livelihood of all the people who rely on bringing tourists to Maya Bay,” Mr Worapoj noted.

The confirmation by Park Chief Worapoj today follows the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) yesterday branding the news that Maya Bay will be closed to visitors this June-September as “false news” in a post on its Facebook page.

“News in the international media today that Maya Bay will close to tourists is false news. There has been no official announcement yet to close the bay or island. We will send out a press release soon,” the TAT said in its Facebook post. (See here.)

In answering queries from readers, the “TAT Newsroom” explained it was confident of its position “Because we called the Department of Parks and they said they never released any announcement to the media.”

The TAT Newsroom later posted, “It is possible that the Department of Parks will later decide to close the bay for a short period. But no decision has been made by them yet.”

 

 

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Kurt | 16 February 2018 - 09:54:51

'Destroyed' marine life Maya Bay. 
Now we start to destroy marine life Loh Samah Bay in the same way.

The thinking that a few months quietness restores Maya Bay is astonishing, and saying much about the marine life officials education and knowledge.
Half the time they don't know what they are doing.

Pauly44 | 16 February 2018 - 08:05:34

Yeah after years of abuse from extreme greed & commercialism, total mismanagement not to mention the natives simply don't give a toss about their own environment which provides them with livelihoods a few months recovery ought to do it, Thai band aid effect, how about managing the site properly to sustain tourism but that would take long term thinking and effort! 

BenPendejo | 15 February 2018 - 22:43:27

Ahhh... so now the environment at Maya Bay will still be trashed and over sold, but the bay on the other side will bear the brunt of being oversold.  Again, I have about ZERO confidence that Thai resource agencies know what the hell they're doing, nor will they be able to regulate the number of boats or tourists.  Also, marine environments do not become "restored" after a few mont...

Asterix | 15 February 2018 - 21:08:01

Well done, like this, Loh Samah Bay with beautiful coral reef and a beach will be unsuitable for snorkeling for the future.
Too dangerous for snorkelers with too many boats.

In fact it is just displacing the problem about protecting coral reef from Maha Bay to Loh Samah Bay without resolving reef protection for the sake to keep flowing the money into DNP's coffers (200 Baht per person).

Discover Thainess | 15 February 2018 - 18:20:53

This is great news, however I have a suggestion: as Maya Bay is one of the main tourist attractions in the region why not permanently ban boats from entering? This will keep the bay far more attractive for all visitors, I mean, who wants to see rows of parked speedboats? Boats can go to neighbouring areas and people can walk through.  Much better for everyone. 

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