Leonardo DiCaprio Indirectly Caused a Beloved Beach to Get Shut Down
It may have been almost two decades since Leonardo DiCaprio's role in The Beach was in theaters. But the film is still a cult favorite — so much so that thousands of people flock to the small, secluded beach in Thailand where it was filmed every day. The overrun has gotten so bad, the Thai government is now having to shut the beach down for a third of every year just to clean up and let the ecosystem recover. Seriously, guys?
According to Thailand’s national parks and wildlife department, the remote beach in Maya Bay on Phi Phi Leh Island is seeing its coral reefs and sea life killed by the constant flood of tourists. One official told the Associated Press 4,000 visitors go to the beach, which is only accessible by boat, each day. The beach will now close for four months beginning in June each year to give the island time to recover from all the traffic.
"If we don’t do something today, it will be too late,” Thanya Netithammakum, head of the Thai parks department, told the Associated Press.
Thailand normally closes marine national parks for four months out of the year, but since The Beach was released, the demand to visit Maya Bay has been so high, officials have kept it open year round. This is a little bit ridiculous because Thailand is absolutely full of beaches that are just as remote and beautiful as Maya Bay, but with far less traffic. For the sake of Maya Bay's wildlife, tourists can visit Patong Beach (one of Thailand's top resort areas), Hat Chao Ley (known for its miles of pristine white sand) or Krabi (with a little walk, tourists can find remote, untouched beaches known for breathtaking limestone cliffs).
But let's take a look at other landmarks Leonardo DiCaprio's films have turned into visitor attractions — they could eventually face the same fate.
Kananaskis Country — Alberta, Canada
DiCaprio filmed The Revenant in Kananaskis Country — a park system situated to the west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, in the foothills and front ranges of the Canadian Rockies. Tourists can not only attempt to follow in DiCaprio's footsteps through the wintery wonderland, but ski, bike, backpack, hunt and fish.
V&A Waterfront — Cape Town, South Africa
This is where DiCaprio made that heart-wrenching call to Jennifer Connelly in Blood Diamond back in 2006. Situated on the Atlantic shore, V&A (shortened from Victoria & Albert) Waterfront is one of Africa's most visited cultural and historical hubs, attracting millions of visitors every year. It's an upscale area with lots of fine dining, shopping, boat trips and more.
Waverley Cemetery — Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
That beautiful funeral scene in The Great Gatsby was filmed at one of Sydney's oldest and most iconic cemeteries. Known for its Victorian and Edwardian monuments, Waverley Cemetery is the burial place of many influential Australian politicians and businesspeople.