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Life

Two decades on, 'The Beach' faces fresh problems

Thailand's iconic Maya Bay, battered by mass tourism, attempts a comeback

The newly reopened Maya Bay -- famously featured in the Leonardo DiCaprio movie "The Beach" (2000) -- limits the number of visitors per hour to 300. (All photos by Tom Vater)

"Oh, it's so f---ing beautiful," exclaims Etienne, one of the characters in the Hollywood blockbuster "The Beach" (2000) as a group of travelers that includes a young Leonardo DiCaprio reaches Maya Bay, a white sand crescent on Thailand's Andaman Sea coast.

A close-up of DiCaprio's beatific smile, as he sits in the sand, conveys the awe visitors feel to this day as they enter one of Thailand's most magnificent natural wonders. In the movie, the temporary inhabitants lose their youthful innocence. Much the same happened to Maya Bay.

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