Krabi Governor Phutthiphong Sirimat and Pramote Kaewnam, Chief of Hat Noppharat Thara – Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park, led a ceremony to officially reopen the-world renowned beach on New Year’s Day.
“Maya Bay reopened to tourists on January 1 as a New Year’s gift to the people in accordance with the government’s policy," Mr Pramote explained.
Tourists have been allowed onto the beach since last Sunday (Jan 2).
Since then, most of the tourists have been Thais, Mr Pramote said.
“More and more foreign tourists are coming in, which is now full of reservations to visit the bay all day,” he said.
The number of tourists allowed onto the beach is limited to 375 at a time, and visits are restricted to one hour only, to avoid congestion and maintain the sustainability of natural resources, Mr Pramote said.
The beach is open to visitors each day from 7am to 6pm.
Tourists arrive on the island via a dock built by the national park at Loh Samah Bay, on the other side of the island, and walk the few hundred metres across the island to visit the beach made famous by the Leonardo DiCaprio movie ‘The Beach’.
Boats are not allowed to enter the bay, but may hover at the entrance so tourists can enjoy the view.
In order to be allowed to join a tour to visit the bay, which has been closed for three years to allow the environment to recover from heavy tourism, people must register through the QueQ app (on Google Play and Apple’s App Store).
Of note, the National Park listings on the app are in Thai language only.
“Closing the bay for restoration has been a success because the ecosystem around the beach is better. A large number of Blacktip reef sharks have returned to Maya Bay,” Mr Pramote said.
Swimming in Maya Bay is strictly prohibited to avoid the dangers of blacktip reef sharks, he added.
The opening of the bay is strictly under the measures to prevent COVID-19 in accordance with the measures of the Ministry of Public Health, Mr Pramote said.
All tour guides must be fully vaccinated and must ensure that tourists have their temperatures checked before allowing them to join a tour to visit the beach, he added.
“We also require that all visitors help keep Maya Bay’s beach clean,” he said.