The sun sets in front of Maya Bay on Phi Phi Leh island, Krabi province, Thailand, Thursday, May 31, 2018. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
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Once a pristine Thai paradise, the secluded bay made famous by the Leonardo DiCaprio movie "The Beach" has been exhausted by mass tourism.Thailand has promoted unfettered tourism for decades and the onslaught on Maya Bay, which is on Phi Phi Leh Island in the Andaman Sea, has only picked up pace in recent years.Thailand had about 35 million international visitors last year, a five-fold increase in little more than two decades.Shi Pengfei, among the last tourists to visit Maya Bay before its closure, said he had no idea that there would be so many people on the beach.The head of the Phi Phi Tourist Business Association, Watrapol Jantharo, said he was surprised when the closure was announced in March by Thailand's National Parks and Wildlife Department.He said locals were under the impression that Maya Bay would only be closed to boats, while visitors would still walk to the bay from the other side of the island.At Maya Bay, park rangers have been preparing a coral propagation program, attaching it to rocks that will be placed in the bay once the tourists are gone.
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