After months of delays, Ko Phi Phi Leh’s stunning stretch of white sand, reefs and marine life is finally set to reopen Friday to the public.
Dubbed the world’s best beach by researchers for its diversity of fish and marine life, Ko Phi Phi Leh, also known as Phi Phi, is a popular cruising destination for wealthy residents and tourists who prefer living on sand and water to skyscrapers.
Niyamas Tunpo, a spokesman for the Thai Tourism Authority, said that with the reopening of the cove and the reopening of parts of the Rangheta National Park, all sides have agreed that Thailand’s Muang Niyamas would in the future promote the beach and the area and allow tourists to visit on boats, kayaks and snorkeling equipment, according to a CNN report.
“The recognition from the tourism authority and the Royal Thai Government is that the environmental issues in Muang Niyamas are not at all being dealt with properly,” Thannarat Leukthong, executive director of the Royal Society for the Protection of Nature, told the CNN.
The pristine beaches and pristine waters drew a flood of visitors for the filming of “The Beach,” a 1997 beach movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Beckinsale and Leonardo DiCaprio. The million-dollar production company was trying to replicate the pure, crystal-clear water that the Banyan Tree resort on Phuket Island offered, but had to keep the on-location production area a secret.
“The Beach” fell victim to Thailand’s climate change-driven effects on the sun-bleached water, which became so dangerous that French film crew members were forced to suspend filming.
Ko Phi Phi Leh’s beach will be under constant monitoring by National Park officials and boats will be banned from entering the Cangreak Bay area. The media advisory states the beach will be closed to vehicle access through December.