Thailand’s Maya Bay to open from New Year’s Day under strict conditions
Famous Maya Bay will be open to members of the public from New Year’s Day, but visitors will have to apply in advance and the number is capped at 4,125 per day. Furthermore, the visits are for just one hour with no swimming at all.
About 80 representatives of tour operators and guides from Bangkok, Krabi, Phuket and Phang-nga provinces were given a guided tour of the bay on Wednesday, to be informed of the rules and guidelines with which visitors will have to comply, or face fines.
According to Pramote Kaewnam, chief of the Noppharat Thara-Mu Koh Phi-Phi national park in Ao Nang sub-district in Muang district of Krabi province, the tour and guide representatives were satisfied with the improved environment and natural atmosphere of bay, after more than three years of closure for rehabilitation.
Maya Bay is open for visits daily from 7am until 6pm, arranged in 11 shifts of 375 visitors each. No swimming is permitted, due to the presence of more than 100 black-tipped reef sharks and the rare painted spiny lobsters (panulirus versicolor) in the bay area. Visitors can, however, stroll or rest on the white sandy beach.
Bookings for visits can be made through the department’s “QQ” application.
No boats will be allowed to enter the bay area from the frontal approach or to drop anchor. They must access the island from the opposite side, where a pier has already been built, and tourists walk a short distance to the bay itself.
Sukhon Nuchuey, president of the Guides Association in Krabi province, said that all tour guides must study the rules and regulations and pass on the information to their customers.
Maya Bay earned worldwide recognition after it was featured in a Hollywood adventure film in 2000, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.