There is trouble in paradise. Unchecked tourism has damaged Southeast Asia’s pristine beaches

Hordes of tourists clamber across the white sand with selfie sticks as Thai park rangers wade into turquoise waters to direct boats charging into the cliff-ringed cove. Made famous by the 2000 movie, The Beach, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Maya Bay on the western Thai island of Koh Phi Phi Ley is now a case study in the ruinous costs of runaway tourism, swamped by up to 4,000 daily visitors. “There is too many people here, it’s bad,” lamented Saad Lazrak, a 61-year-old from Morocco, as crowds around him swallowed the…

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Puducherry travelogue: What to eat, where to stay, and when to visit the pristine paradise

It had rained the previous night. It was 9:30 am. The bus that would take us to Puducherry was about to leave in an hour. We were in 10 kilometres away, navigating through narrow lanes, in an alien city, driven by a man who couldn’t understand us, and who seemed to be harbouring a personal grudge against Google Maps. After ignoring the robot lady’s soothing tones for the tenth time, and swerving into yet another muddy lane, he dropped us at what seemed like the outskirts. This was Koyambedu Bus…

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