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Countdown to reopening – contracts awards for new Maya Bay infrastructure

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by Sawat, Five Star Thailand Tours

New plans are now being enacted which will lead to the re-opening of Maya Bay to tourism again. With a new development project in the works, it won’t be long until visitors will once again be able to visit ‘The Beach’, according to sources with knowledge of the matter. Maya Bay was shut down to tourist traffic in June of 2018 by Thailand’s Department for National Marine Parks. The Beach was initially closed to due concerns that unregulated mass-tourism was destroying the bay and the beach.

But as of now, construction plans are being put into motion in a bid to re-open the beach to tourists while preserving the hard work that has gone into the restoration project over recent years.

Thailand’s DNP has brainstormed a number of creative solutions which will allow the famous, and highly popular, Maya Bay to begin welcoming tourists as early as November 2020.

“Sustainability is at the forefront of the re-opening in order to allow the bay to continue to recover.”

The plans, which have recently been announced, will see new infrastructure built on Koh Phi Phi Leh. The new plans include a viewing platform that looks over the beach, and a new rigid pier to be built on the back-side of the beach, at Loh Samah Bay. A boardwalk will also be built which will allow tourists to move between the new pier at Loh Samah Bay and Maya Bay beach itself. To prevent further damage to the environment, tourist will be limited to the designated boardwalks when navigating the island – they won’t enter the bay by boat, they won’t walk on the beach.

Last month a development contract was awarded to improve the facilities at Maya Bay. Two projects have been commissioned and awarded to the Suchardti Karnchang Company (สุชาติการโยธาจำกัด).

The first project is called… ‘THE MAYA BAY AREA FACILITY DEVELOPMENT PROJECT’ and involves construction of a rigid wooden pier at Maya Bay’s back entrance. The new pier will provide a safe area for speedboats and long-tail boats to moor. A ramp will then lead away from the soon-to-be-built pier which will extend out, into a ramp. The ramp will be a walkway, allowing access to Loh Samah Bay, in between cliffs of Koh Phi Phi Ley.

The new infrastructure will provide a more sustainable area for tour boats to park, in an essential bid to preserve the Maya Bay beach and bar area for future generations.

By utilising Loh Samah Bay as the new entry point to visit Maya Bay, the need for tour boats to enter the bay and dock on the beach will be eliminated.

Initial plans were to install a temporary floating pier, however, in order for the bridge over Loh Samah’s Cliffs to remain stable and safe, a rigid structure fixed to the sea bed is necessary.

The Maya Bay pier will provide a proper and permanent mooring spot for Koh Phi Phi tour companies in order to further preserve the coral inside the bay. The new pier is expected to have the capacity to dock a maximum of eight boats at a time. This is part of the bid to limit visitor numbers and preserve the environment.

Thailand’s Department for National Parks has invested 6,050,000 baht (around US$200,000) for the construction of the new pier. Work is about to begin and will be finished before the end of 2020, according to sources.

This 3D rendering shows the soon to be constructed rigid pier, which will be constructed at Loh Samah Bay incorporating a ramp elevating over the cliffs at Loh Samah Bay.

Boats will be able to dock on the rear of Maya Bay and tourists will be guided over the bridge, leading directly onto a new boardwalk. The boardwalk will pass through Loh Samah Bay and out onto a viewing platform at Ao Maya.

This 3D render shows designs for the new pier, set to be installed behind the bay. The new pier will make recording and limiting visitor numbers to Maya Bay, a much easier task for Thailand’s Department of National Parks. The number of boats able to stop here each day will be limited. And only pre-registered, approved and licenced tour companies will have access to use the new facilities.

The second project also awarded to Suchardti Karnchang Co., Ltd. comes at a cost of ฿11,580,000THB (375,000USD)

Countdown to reopening - contracts awards for new Maya Bay infrastructure | News by Thaiger Countdown to reopening - contracts awards for new Maya Bay infrastructure | News by Thaiger Countdown to reopening - contracts awards for new Maya Bay infrastructure | News by Thaiger

Codenamed the ‘LANDSCAPE IMPROVEMENT PROJECT’ the project will see the construction of an elevated boardwalk running right through from Loh Samah Bay, leading out onto Maya Bay beach, a large viewing platform will overlook the bay, and smaller terraces will look out over the beach, new seating areas, bathroom facilities and food and drink kiosks will be built.

This boardwalk will replace the existing infrastructure and, keeping all tourists on the designated walkways will ensure that nature in the area will not be destroyed and can continue to grow. It still remains unclear as to whether tourists will be allowed to swim in the ocean (potentially damaging corals) or have access to Maya Bay Beach.

An ideal scenario would see all tourists keeping to the boardwalks at all times, however, it is rumoured that a limited number of visitors will be allowed access onto the beach by paying an additional charge.

The new plans have been widely praised, the genius solution from the Department of National Parks should allow the beach to open again, alow their revenue to return (estimated at a whopping 35 million Thai Baht per month) and all whilst protecting the fragile beach, and maintaining preservation works.

3D rendered graphics show how the new boardwalk is predicted to look. The boardwalk will run from the pier on Loh Samah Bay all the way through the mangrove jungle before emerging at Maya Bay. Keeping tourists on the boardwalk will help to maintain the environment and will assist with the long-term preservation of the beach, while still allowing tourists to visit the famous tourist magnet.

It is unclear, and plans have not yet been revealed, on whether tourists will have full access to the beach, or if restrictions will be enforced to stay on the designated pathways and lookout points. Let’s hope it’s the former rather than the latter.

With thanks to Five Star Thailand Tours

Countdown to reopening - contracts awards for new Maya Bay infrastructure | News by Thaiger Countdown to reopening - contracts awards for new Maya Bay infrastructure | News by Thaiger

 

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