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The Beach

Phi Phi Island Culture | Leonardo DiCaprio and the making of The Beach in Phi Phi

Movie poster for The Beach
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The production team for "The Beach" starring Leonardo DiCaprio, landed on Phi Phi Le Island in Thailand late 1998. The producer of "The Beach", Andrew Macdonald, chose the Phi Phi Islands because of the breath-taking limestone cliffs that surround the beach like a fortress. This seemingly paradise-like location also appealed to Leonardo DiCaprio, as well as the other actors in the film.

The two main islands of Phi Phi, located in Krabi Province in southern Thailand, are Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Ley - both famous for their spectacular landscapes. Phi Phi Ley is uninhabited and flawless. Boats from the larger island, Phi Phi Don, transport tourist to Phi Phi Ley to see the infamous Viking Cave (known for its swiftlet nests used for bird nest soup). The islands are also noted for the incredible diving and snorkeling excursions that many find to be the best in the world.

Controversy on Phi Phi Ley Island

Leonardo DiCaprio, the production team and 20th Century Fox had no idea that by filming The Beach on Phi Phi Ley Island - they were adding to a brewing environmental controversy over coral damage, over-fishing and overall damage caused by an increase in tourism. 20th Century Fox's plan to make changes to the great crescent of beach inside Maya Bay on Phi Phi Ley Island and to the extravagant beauty of Loh Samah, a snorkeling spot that many believe to be one of the most beautiful places in existence; had many in an uproar.

However, much to the contrary, Anne Miller and Robert Cogen, National Coordinators dispelled these rumors for Reef Check, a non-profit, global project to monitor coral reefs worldwide. In fact, they found that before production began, movie crews had removed all the trash and debris that had accumulated on the beach and in the water.

Any "movie-related" construction was done, so that it could be easily dismantled and removed, and all natural environmental gifts to the island like driftwood, brush and grass were left in place or were being tended to at a local Phi Phi Island nursery. No coral was damaged and no sewage from catamarans was pumped into the water.

Leonardo DiCaprio's Island - Phi Phi Island

The commotion regarding the environmental issues on Phi Phi Ley Island caught the attention of Leonardo DiCaprio.

While shooting the film "The Beach," on Phi Phi Ley Island, Leonardo DiCaprio expressed an interest in Reef Check and Reef-World (training arm of Reef Check). DiCaprio wanted to become involved in helping the community of Phi Phi Ley Island to protect local resources.

He actually joined one of the training courses in order to gain a clear understanding of the issues. Leonardo gained valuable information about initiatives to protect the reefs of Phi Phi Ley Islands. In 2003, Leonardo DiCaprio co-chaired Reef Rescue a benefit for UCLA'S Reef Check Program.

Maya Bay The Beach resort

There are no hotels or resorts on Maya Bay, The Beach as it is a National Park. There is however a Maya Bay Camping tour that stays one night. On this tour your will experience the full majesty of the Maya Bay..


Last Updated: 29 Feb 2012


Photos for The Beach