The Hollywood legend whose movie The Beach has inspired a generation of younger visitors to Thailand returned the country over the New Year to retrace his footsteps with the stunning 21 year old Italian American model Camila Morrone

He is probably the most influential and successful actor today in Hollywood. His eclectic and inspired choice of cutting edge movie roles make all his movies a must see for avid movie audiences. Leonardo Di Caprio was in Thailand for the New Year and retracing the footsteps of his younger self of 1999 when he portrayed a boy god in the fillming of The Beach which premiered in 2000. He was accompanied by 21 year Camila Morrone, with whom he has been linked with romantically since 2017. The Beach was an inspired move, not only for Di Caprio in 1999, since it has proved a huge vehicle for Thailand’s tourism industry and its growing following of younger western men and women.

The Hollywood star was filmed playing volley ball on a beach with friends and Ms Morrone while the model herself posted Instagram snaps featuring Thai food, a meditation pose at the luxury resort where the couple stayed and a photo of herself viewing Maya Bay from a boat. The Beach movie has inspired millions of visitors to Thailand, so much so that the beach itself, Maya Bay, had to be closed for 4 months this year to allow the environment to regenerate a it is overloaded with thousands of visitors each day and no signs of its popularity abating.

Leonardo Di Caprio welcomed in the New Year in Thailand in the company of his stunning Italian girlfriend, 21 year old Camila Morrone. A range of video clips and social media footage showed the couple enjoying the local tourist amenities near the famous Phi Phi beach, Maya Bay, the scene of the film The Beach, which has done so much to promote Thailand to new audiences since it first appeared all of 19 years ago.

In fact, the success of the film caused the Thai government last year to close of the beach for 4 months, a move that is expected to be repeated this year, in an attempt to preserve and protect the natural amenity and surrounding waters. It must be allowed recover from the huge numbers of tourists who come every year, in fact everyday, in their thousands, to experience the unparalleled vista and scenery that stunned worldwide audiences of the movie which continues to be a favorite with a new generation, long after it was first released and appealed to young backpackers originally attracted to the 1996 novel.

Young American Italian woman enjoys Thailand with older boyfriend Leo Di Caprio

Photos have emerged of the couple together featuring the stunning Camila eating Thai food, visiting a popular elephant sanctuary, another tourist favorite and playing volleyball on another Thai beach the day before New Years Eve. The coupled stayed at a luxurious resort near the coast with private pools adjacent to the coast and beach. Ms Morrone posted an Instagram photo from the resort showing her in a meditation pose on a walkway surrounding by beautiful greenery. In fact, it appears the Ms Morrone is in love with Thailand like nearly all 21 year old men and women around the world who make up the growing number of tourists that visit the kingdom. Thai tourism reports that the age profile of visitors to the country is getting younger with more young women, in particular, wanting to visit the land of smiles

The Beach, the book, the movie is behind the worldwide fame and popularity of Maya Bay

Maya Bay beach, located on Koh Phi Phi Leh island, shot to fame due to the shooting of The Beach film starring the then young Hollywood heartthrob Leonardo Di Caprio, 19 years ago in 2000. It helped build the image of a younger Di Caprio who had, even then, been appearing in movies since 1991 as a ‘boy god’. Hollywood movie personnel first appeared in the area in 1999 and identified Maya Bay as the perfect location to film for a movie project based on a hit novel by Alex Garland, entitled The Beach. The book was a huge hit with many young travelers, even before the movie was published and since, both have developed a cult following. The book, originally published in 1996, chimed with the emerging age of global tourism and still chimes with young people worldwide, many of them who have made Thailand a must see destination or part of many a young personage’s ‘bucket list’ in contemporary jargon.

The Beach was controversial when it first premiered in Thailand in 2000, even with calls to ban it

The movie was filmed in 1999 and, in fact, caused a certain amount of controversy in Thailand. Firstly, the movie studio 20th Century Fox physically altered the beach itself using heavy construction machinery to suit the director’s vision. The beach itself, it is reported, returned to its original  formation following the huge 2004 tsunami. The plot and its reference to drug culture upset many Thai people who are deeply conservative and suspicious of drugs. The appearance of a Buddha statue in one scene was also controversial. It resulted in calls by some Thai politicians, at the time, to ban the movie. Thai courts subsequently ruled that the movie studios had beached Thailand’s laws by altering the local landscape. The movie was directed by acclaimed director Danny Boyle.

Di Caprio’s Thai appearance in 2019 is not the boy god of 2000 but he is a bigger Hollywood star

Leonardo Di Caprio return to Thailand with his 21 year old girlfriend, Camila Morrone, who works as a model, and whose stepfather is Al Pacino, has also generated speculation both on the Di Caprio love life and his current physique. The beautiful young woman and the current state of the actor’s body, once perfectly honed and youthful, have captured the eye of many tabloid news editors worldwide. It is reported that movie producers for The Beach hired trainers and experts to get Di Caprio into perfect shape for the movie originally.

This year, it was an altogether different and more middle aged Leo, who as a 44 year old star was snapped wandering and retracing his footsteps on the beach in Thailand where the movie studios had filmed The Beach before it was released in 2000. During his sightseeing quest, the talented and accomplished actor, was seen wearing a plain white tee shirt and a scruffy beard.

Di Caprio shape shows the ravages of time but he has played his part in boosting Thai tourism

The UK’s popular and saucy tabloid, The Mirror, poked fun at the 44 year old Leonardo who they speculated looked like he is a great deal out of shape compared to his once-youth appearance in The Beach. In spite of reported new workouts and diets, Leo, it appears, cannot hold back the sands of time. However, there is no denying that the Hollywood star has become one of Hollywood’s true legends and highest paid actors. His careful choice of movie parts has led to some the most memorable academy award nominated movies of recent years including The Wolf of Wall StreetDjangoBlood DiamondThe Aviator and his long overdue academy award which he won in The Revenant. The Beach has also proved a hugely beneficial project for Thailand and Thai tourism. The success of Thailand’s huge tourist industry with over 35 million annual visitors with can be be traced, in the sands of time, to a worldwide movement that made the The Beach such a popular book and the movie such a success. The advent of global travel and tourism for everyone.

Maya Bay closed temporarily in 2018 due to huge visitor volume and environmental damage

The beach where most of Leonardo’s iconic scenes took place was temporarily closed by Thai authorities to halt environmental damage caused by the huge number of tourists, along with other national parks, in 2018. It was closed off from tourists for almost 4 months to allow the environment to recover including the coral reefs and sea life.

Leo was snapped with his girlfriend visiting the spot where he shot his famous film

His girlfriend, Camila, was reported to have snapped photos with her boyfriend, Leo, as they enjoyed their vacation in the luxurious Amanpuri resort situated near Phuket. Leo and his girlfriend first sparked romance rumors in December 2017 when they were pictured shopping together in Los Angeles.

His girlfriend shared a few photographs off the coast of Thailand where the secluded beach scenes from The Beach were filmed. The young model, with a stunning figure, seemed to want to connect with the aspirations of the original movie and perhaps the more youthful looking Di Caprio.

Maya Beach is a huge tourist attraction for Thailand and appeals to younger western adults

Maya Bay is a fascinatingly beautiful spot which is surrounded by a hundred meter high cliffs on 3 sides. In the bay, there are many beaches, most of which are small and some only exist at a low tide. The main tide is about 200 meters long with very soft sand; the underwater reefs are colorful, and the whole bay is deemed a single big reef.

The Maya Bay beach has become the major tourist destination in Phi Phi since The Beach was filmed in 1999. However, it was always a famous sight or tourist hot spot, even before the shooting of the film. People around the world who have never heard of Phi Phi, surely have heard of Maya Bay. The perfect time to visit Maya Bay beach is between November and April when the sea is calm and the weather is neither too hot nor too cold.

Today, Maya Bay receives an average of 200 boats and 4000 tourists each day. The enthusiasm for the location has not abated. After shooting The Beach and its success as a movie and Netflix favorite, the location overnight became a huge favorite among many of the tourists and visitors who flock to Thailand each year. Ironically, it is the controversial aspects of the movie that also have added to the appeal for this younger generation of tourists who seek authentic beauty but also something with an edge.