‘Secret’ Thai beach opens after years of blocking

Image copyright CORINTHIAN WELEU

A natural white sand beach famous in The Beach movie has finally opened to the public in Thailand after years of being blocked by human activities.

But officials admit the Grand Hideaway on Pak Klong Lai is still far from completely protected.

The beach on southern Krabi has been a beach paradise ever since French vacationer Leilani Munter accidentally swept it into the ocean while driving her car off-roading in 1967.

And the mysteries have never really ended.

I have stayed in hotels, at resorts and even on the beach, but I have never seen a beach that’s as pretty and untouched as Grand Hideaway. Markus Baker

Grand Hideaway was later blocked by civil rights campaigners until Mr Munter visited the area again and made it one of the largest and most well-known of Thailand’s many archaeological sites.

Now the government has finally allowed visitors the chance to wade into the cove.

President of the Golden Triangle Nature Society, Markus Baker, says this is a welcome development but he says visitors need to leave their mobile phones at home.

“I have stayed in hotels, at resorts and even on the beach, but I have never seen a beach that’s as pretty and untouched as Grand Hideaway,” he says.

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images Image caption Leilani Munter, who first stumbled upon the beach in 1967

Eskue Ngapunt, a local environmental official, says visitors are needed.

“We have to first treat it like any other species. But our government needs to educate people so they know how to respect natural resources,” he says.

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