Thailand to give the beach from ‘The Beach’ film a breather

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BANGKOK (AP) – Authorities in Thailand have ordered the temporary closing of the beach made famous by the Leonardo DiCaprio movie “The Beach” to halt environmental damage caused by too many tourists.

Maya Bay, on Phi Phi Leh island in the Andaman Sea, will be closed to all visitors annually for four months starting this June to allow for the recovery of the island’s battered coral reefs and sea life. The decision to keep visitors away was made Wednesday by Thailand’s National Parks and Wildlife Department.

Many Thai marine national parks are closed from mid-May to mid-October, but because of tourist demand, Maya Bay has remained open year-round since a Hollywood crew set foot there in 1999 to film the dark backpacker tale based on a novel by Alex Garland.

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This story has been corrected to show that many, not all, Thai marine parks have annual closings.

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