Iconic bay from Leonardo DiCaprio film The Beach closed to tourists until 2021

The beach which served as the location for hit film The Beach starring Leonardo DiCaprio is set to remain closed to tourists until 2021.

Maya Bay, on Thailand's Koh Phi Phi Leh island, has long drawn in tourists thanks to its cult status and spectacular white sands and crystalline waters.

Unfortunately, the crowds of visitors were taking its toll on the island's ecosystems and general environment, forcing authorities to close it to tourists in 2018 .

The beach was originally closed from June to September – during Thailand's monsoon season – in order to give its reefs time to recover, but authorities decided to keep it closed 'indefinitely'.

It was reported that overtourism was causing the island's coral reefs to suffer, with a few months not providing sufficient time for them to recuperate from any damage.

Now local authorities have revealed that the beach will be staying closed until at least 2021, with hopes that this will allow plenty of time for the environment to recover.

Songtam Suksawang, director of Thailand's National Parks Department, told CNN : "We will review again then if it is ready to open to tourists. We need more time to allow nature to fully recover. Our team will reassess the situation every three months."

Before it was closed, the beach was receiving around 5,000 visitors a day during peak seasons.

It's no surprise considering its convenient location a short boat ride away from popular Phuket.

With its idyllic surroundings, turquoise ocean waters and fine white sands, it's no wonder  that it captured the attention of the film's director Danny Boyle when he set about recreating Alex Garland's novel for the big screen.

Of course if you are travelling to Thailand, there are heaps of beautiful beaches that offer similar surroundings, not to mention there's plenty to see and do as well as the picture-perfect shores.

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