Ko Phi Phi Le

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Island landscape

Ko Phi Phi Le or Ko Phi Phi Leh (Thai: เกาะพีพีเล, rtgsKo Phiphi Le, pronounced [kɔ̀ʔ pʰīː.pʰīː lēː]) is an island of the Phi Phi archipelago, in the Strait of Malacca. It is in Krabi Province of Thailand and is part of Hat Noppharat Thara–Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park[1]


Maya Bay panoramic view

Ko Phi Phi Le is the second largest island of the archipelago, the largest one being Ko Phi Phi Don. The island consists of a ring of steep limestone hills surrounding two shallow bays, Maya Bay and Loh Samah. Maya Bay cannot be accessed directly from the sea via boat, due to shallow waters and coral. Therefore, boats must anchor at the deeper Loh Samah, requiring people to walk through a short section of rocks and jungle to reach Maya Bay itself. There is also one large shallow fjord like inlet called Pi Ley with a small coral reef at the entrance. The Maya Bay area harbors bioluminescent plankton.[2]

Filming The Beach[edit]

Maya Bay, Krabi

Controversy arose during the making of the film The Beach due to 20th Century Fox bulldozing and landscaping the natural beach setting of Ko Phi Phi Le to make it more "paradise-like". The production altered some sand dunes and cleared some coconut trees and grass to widen the beach. Fox set aside a fund to reconstruct and return the beach to its natural state. Nevertheless, lawsuits were filed as many believed the damage to the ecosystem is permanent and restoration attempts failed.

The lawsuits dragged on for years. In 2006, Thailand's supreme court upheld an appeal court ruling that the filming had harmed the environment and ordered that damage assessments be made. Defendants in the case included 20th Century Fox and some Thai government officials.[3]

Environmental issues[edit]

Maya Bay, Krabi
Boats in the bay of the island
Longtail Boat, Maya Bay, Krabi
Speedboats, Maya Bay, Krabi

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation claims to be investigating ways to control tourist numbers amid concerns that visitors are destroying the environment at marine tourism spots. The move was prompted by marine scientist Thon Thamrongnawasawat, who posted photos of large numbers of low-season tourists packed onto small Maya Beach. According to Mr Thon, during low season 2016, about 5,000 tourists a day crowd onto Maya beach, which is just 250 metres long. The beach has 14 available toilets. The tourists are worth 1.6 million baht a day to the park. Thon said that state agencies were running campaigns to drum up tourist numbers with no regard for the environment's carrying capacity.[4]

Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Ko Phi Phi Marine National Park as a whole, from October 2015 to May 2016 generated revenues of 362 million baht from 1.2 million tourists, 77 percent foreign.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Hat Noppharat Thara - Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park". Department of National Parks (DNP) Thailand. Retrieved 15 June 2015. 
  2. ^ Hagerty, Colleen (12 May 2015). "A crowded Thai island's secret side". BBC. 
  3. ^ "SUPREME COURT RULING: Filming 'damaged beach'". The Nation. 2006-12-01. Retrieved 15 June 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Wipatayotin, Apinya (19 July 2016). "Parks Department to curb tourist visits to marine sites". Bangkok Post. Retrieved 19 July 2016. 

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