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Phi Phi’s Maya Bay to be closed this June. Or maybe not…

Tim Newton

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According to AFP, Maya Bay is going to be closed in June this year.

“The once-pristine Thai bay which became a tourist magnet after the 2000 movie “The Beach” will be closed to boats for several months to prevent further damage to its coral, an official said Wednesday.

Hordes of tourists flock daily to Maya Bay on Koh Phi Phi Ley for selfies in front of the famed limestone cliffs and blue waters, leading to complaints of environmental damage to the water and sand.”

Story HERE.

Yes, it was the beach used in ‘The Beach’ (as the On On Hotel in Old Phuket Town was used as the gloomy Bangkok back-packer accommodation at the start of the film) and, yes, they’re right about the ‘hordes’. The poor beach is being raped daily by the onslaught of tourists, both on the beach and the hundreds of speedboats that either pull up on the sand or anchor in the bay.

But the Tourism Authority of Thailand has denied the story quoted in many prominent international media, saying…

“News in the international media today that Maya Bay will close to tourists is false news. There is no plan to close the bay or island. #Thailand #ThaiTourismNews”

News in the international media today that Maya Bay will close to tourists is false news. There has been no official…

Posted by TAT Newsroom on Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The media tit-for-tat will continue as news editors and TaT officials scramble for clarity on the matter.

Last September we published this story…

“Park officials say they’re going to close Phi Phi island’s famous Maya Bay from June for three months next year.

Officials of the Koh Phi Phi National park authority held crisis talks yesterday where they were told that the bay has been ravaged by too much tourism.”

This may be where the overseas editors have got their information.

Story HERE.

And just last month, this…

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Gen Surasak Karnjanarat said he agreed with restorative closure of the islands.

“If we close the island, people can’t come in and disturb the marine life, and we’ll have more time to get that restoration work done,” Gen Surasak said. “It’s not a question of money. Everything needs to be within a sustainable balance.”

Story HERE.

The question ‘is Maya Bay going to be closed in June?’ is still up in the air (but not according to the TaT). The question ‘should Maya Bay be closed?’ seems fairly cut-and-dried when it comes to a long-term plan to better handle the world attraction.

If the tourists still want to come and the money flow from tourists to tour boats to tour companies to… whoever keeps continuing its hard to see them killing off the golden goose.

The bottomline can probably be summed up in this exert…

“Had Nopparat Thara – Phi Phi Island National Park has officially reached the highest income among the national parks across the country this year with 669 million Baht.

The statistic were revealed by the Department of Nature, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) yesterday (October 9), when they released the profit generated by all 147 national parks across the nation from October 2016 – 2017; a new record of 2.4 billion Baht for Thailand’s national parks.”

Story HERE.

The commercial realities will over-ride any pressing environmental concerns, just about every time. If they actually do close Maya Bay this June we’ll be as surprised as the tourists who’ve already booked their trip to visit the iconic ‘The Beach’ beach.

- Tim Newton

Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2012. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for nearly 40 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program, presented 2,800 radio news bulletins in Thailand alone, hosted 330 daily TV news programs, produced 1,800 videos, TV commercials and documentaries and now produces digital media for The Thaiger and Phuket Gazette.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. fact not fiction

    February 17, 2018 at 3:09 pm

    Once upon a time, not that long ago, before the Chinese mass tourism hoards, you could visit Maya Bays & appreciate its pristine world class beauty. BUT THAT VISION IS DEAD!

    We, along with many others, used to moor our boats there in the afternoon once the 20 or so long tails or speedboats finally left for the day at around 4:00pm. On my last visit I stopped counting at over 100 speedboats alone. It’s simply dangerous & quite frankly why would you bother. It’s ugly, noisy & chaotic. Save your money, the hoards & their ferryman have raped pillaged & plundered it to destruction.

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Phuket

Phuket man arrested with 20,000 methamphetamine pills

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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A man has been arrested with methamphetamine pills, crystal methamphetamine, a gun and ammunition.

A team of the Border Patrol Police last week arrested 22 year old Tanaset ‘Fluk’ Kraimaneelert  from Songkhla at a housing estate in Rassada. Police seized 1.06 grams of crystal methamphetamine, 20,000 methamphetamine pills, a gun and 21 bullets.

Tanaset was taken to the Phuket City Police Station and been charged with possession of Category 1 drugs with intent to sell and illegal possession of firearm and ammunition.

The arrest of Tanaset came after police first arrested 24 year old woman Wichada Jamnongjit who was caught with methamphetamine pills. Wichada told police that she bought the drugs from a man named only as ‘Fluk’. Apparently Fluk comes to her house every day.

Police arrested Fluk at the housing estate in Rassada. Tanaset (Fluk) told police he stores the drugs at a house in Koh Kaew. Tanaset told police that he bought the drugs from Weerayut ‘Mo’ Kutcharat. He claimed the gun and bullets belonged to him.

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Phuket

Every Phuket tour boat is being checked

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Deputy Commander of the Tourist Police Bureau, Maj Gen Surachet Hakparn, with the help of the Marine Department, are checking about 400 tour boats in Phuket. Any boat found not fully compliant to leave port with all its safety equipment in working order, will remain at port.

Maj Gen Surachet says, “All about 300 to 400 tour boats in Phuket are being checked. Boats must be fixed if they are found with incomplete safety equipment or are unsafely heading to sea in any way. We have to get back tourist confidence when they are travelling in Phuket.”

“If there is any boat that leaves port and then later capsizes, boat inspectors will have to take responsibility too.”

“In addition we’re also checking for any encroachment in Phuket as well as the safety and registration of other tour buses and taxis. These are also part of Phuket’s tourism business. ”

“I can confirm that any government officer who ignores land encroachment, or allows unsafe boats to leave port, will face legal action.”

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Chiang Rai

“They’ll grow up to work for country’s benefit” – Dr Pak

The Thaiger & The Nation

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“I’m confident that the Mu Pa boys will grow up to be excellent citizens of the country and work for the benefits of the country’s future and reputation,” wrote Dr Pak Loharnchun in a Facebook post. The Army doctor played a leading role in helping the boys.

The doctor also posted photos of himself giving the boys goodbye hugs in Chiangrai Prachanukroh Hospital where they received medical care after being rescued.

Pak praised assistant coach Ekkapol Chantawong for having “a good heart” and having made sacrifices to help and comfort the boys during their entrapment.

The doctor, who has multiple certifications including for SEAL operations, joined the footballers in the cave after they were discovered by British divers on July 2, and remained with them until the last of them were extracted on July 10.

Pak says the innocence and optimism of the boys impressed him, as did their remaining in high spirits during the time of crisis.

“I was told that after they were trapped inside the cave … every day they used pieces of rock to dig to find a way out despite having no food. The hole they dug was quite deep, about five metres.”

They were also disciplined, collecting their rubbish and placing it in a black bag, he wrote.

They also listened to Ekkapol and followed his instructions, the doctor wrote. He told them not to pick up things or remove anything from the cave.

25 year old Ekkapol, or ‘Ake’, was the eldest of those rescued, with the rest aged 11 to 16.

“I secretly noticed since day one that the coach would make sure that the boys ate first and he usually gave his portion to the boys,” the doctor said.

“I’m confident of the coach’s excellent care of the boys before they were located, as their mental and physical conditions were way better than I had expected,” Pak said.

Some netizens have criticised Ekkapol for leading the boys into the cave where they became trapped on June 23 when the water quickly rose after flash floods. However many others have given him their moral support, while encouraging him not to blame himself

Pak and other SEALs were discharged on Sunday while the boys were scheduled to be discharged on Thursday.

Get out your handkerchiefs…

ORIGINAL POST: The Nation

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