Thai bay made famous by 'The Beach' to stay closed to 2021

The Thai bay known around the world as the location of ‘The Beach’ will stay closed until 2021.

Maya Bay, on the island of Phi Phi Leh, was closed temporarily to allow it to recover from the thousands of tourists that visited every day.

Since the bay featured in the 2000 film blockbuster movie The Beach, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, it has attracted visitors from across the world.

It was closed last year amid concerns over the damage to its wildlife and authorities have now extended the ban by two years to allow it more time to recover.

Thousands of visitors each day had led to damage to the beach, prompting its closure by authorities to allow it to recover (Picture: AP/Sakchai Lalit)

In November, footage showed reef sharks returning to the bay - hailed by conservationists as a "positive sign" of recovery thanks to the closure.

The video showed dozens of blacktip reef sharks swimming close to the beach - something that hadn’t been seen while the bay was overtaken by thousands of visitors.

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Prof Thon Thamrongnawasawat, who advises the Thai department of national parks, previously told the BBC that when the park reopens the number of visitors will be restricted and boats will be banned from mooring within the bay's waters.