Thailand’s iconic Diamond Head park – immortalized in the 1999 hit film “The Beach” starring Leonardo DiCaprio – is set to reopen next month after months of work on earthquake damage, the Royal Thai Navy announced Thursday.
This may come as a bit of a surprise, because the site itself is not particularly well known outside of fans of the film. During filming, when DiCaprio’s character, Matt, rushed to escape the rising tide at dusk, he ran straight through a series of culverts under a city park named Bangkok. Though the plants, rocks and fences that eventually caught up with him were meant to blend in, they showered the area with an artificial tsunami as if it were real, doubling the imagery seen in the film. The similarities to the real site have only made the location more beloved, from fans who recognize it in walk of life, to celebrities to surfers seeking a lesson.
Around a year ago, the park was closed after new cracks appeared in the slope below a dam. Since then, the Royal Thai Navy has worked with local authorities to remove large rocks blocking the dam so that water can start flowing down to the sea. It will also receive a new sprinkler system and a security patrol to ensure safety, the Navy said in a statement.
More construction of new roads and shelter will follow, the Royal Thai Navy said, as well as widening of the marina where beachgoers can take on surfboards for free. The beach, which will be open to the public, will also have new fencing and a variety of lawns.
The resort, which was built by an Australian couple in 1968, originally opened as Diamond Head Beach, a private playground for movie stars.
After appearances in the Academy Award-winning “Titanic” and the gay love story “Brokeback Mountain,” DiCaprio put Thailand on the map with his own 2013 film, “Wolf of Wall Street.” He’s also tried his hand at Thai music as a dancer in 2009 and 2014 and in 2015, even bought a home there. While he claimed he would never swim here again for fear of an aftermath like the one in “The Beach,” he has a small boat on Maui, so it’s not out of the question.
But if he were to visit the surf scene and it starts moving, there’s always the “reappearance of old Matt,” said Matt MacGregor, the film’s editor. The beach hasn’t really changed much since, he said, other than maybe “a couple of pot holes.”