Dropping anchor on Phuket
By Jules Kay
In the last 10 years Phuket has developed into one of the world's top yachting destinations. Sailing holidays are now a popular choice for visitors from around the world, whether arriving on their own private boats or chartering vessels from one of the island's marinas to explore the beauty of the dramatic Andaman Coast and experience the many deserted offshore islands from a unique, personal perspective.
Phuket's four full service marinas are busy for most of the year with berths booked well in advance and boating enthusiasts blowing through in large numbers during the high season. The marinas vary is terms of size and facilities, some catering more to recreational sailing enthusiasts, others focusing on luxury onshore amenities. Superyachts up to 60 metres in length can now regularly be seen filling Phuket's private berths and the range of services and facilities on offer to these floating palaces is expanding all the time.
Phuket Lifestyle Marinas
Boat Lagoon was the first full service marina to be built on Phuket some 15 years ago and has since developed into a self contained waterfront community complete with apartments, villas and a range of dining and entertainment options. Ideally situated on the east coast of the island just 20km from the airport, the marina offers berths for 180 boats. Onsite amenities for visiting yachts include a high pressure washing service, fuel delivery, shoreside electricity, water and wireless internet. The marina also offers a choice of dining options, including the award winning Watermark Restaurant, while for the more active, Boat Fitness Gym is well equipped and also offers yoga or martial arts classes, while tennis lovers can avail themselves of the onsite courts and those in need of down time can spend a lazy day basking in the hotel's free form pool or jacuzzi, while the children play in the kids zone or games room.
Almost next door to Boat Lagoon, Phuket Royal Marina is an award winning high-end lifestyle marina that combines sailing, sports and leisure with luxury residences and top brand dining and shopping facilities. The marina can accommodate 81 vessels from 10 metres to 35 metres and the serviced berths are complemented by a fuel dock and sewage pump out service. The Boardwalk at RPM offers a range of shopping, dining choices with gourmet restaurants and specialty stores, boating services, water sports equipment. Royal Phuket Marina is also offers a choice of super luxury residences for wealthy investors. Contemporary designs include a range of unique features including private swimming pools, rooftop gardens and Jacuzzis. The marina's unique penthouse 'Aquaminiums' even come with their own private basement yacht berth and entertainment lounge with pull down movie screen.
More modest in terms of luxurious amenities, but very popular with the global sailing community, Yacht Haven Marina on Phuket's northeast coast offers extensive shoreside facilities and deep water access with a capacity of 300 vessels plus alongside dockage for 30 superyachts measuring 80 ft. The marina overlooks Phang Nga Bay and enjoys fresh sea breezes throughout the year. Standard berthing facilities include shoreside electricity and water, fuel delivery and 24-hour security, with additional benefits such as phone lines at selected docks, a good restaurant and the popular Living Room coffee shop, which provides a pleasant dockside gathering point. On the practical side, there's also a chandlery with mechanics, electricians, woodworkers and dayworkers available, as well as care-taking and yacht management services. One of the features that helps makes Yacht Haven stand out from other marinas is a relaxed, personable approach. Marina managers Nick and Zara Wyatt are always available to provide help and advice to owners and crew and have become something of a local legend in the regional yachting fraternity.
Ao Po Grand Marina is a newer addition to the Phuket marina scene with a capacity of 200 vessels for boats up to 80 metres. Situated just 15 minutes from the island's international airport, the marina offers 24-hour access and zero tide restrictions, with extra wide pontoon walkways and pontoon transportation with golf buggies and hand trolleys. There's 24 hour CCTV security, with dining and entertainment options for guests and crew at the Quarterdeck bar and restaurant. Ao Po Grand Marina also boasts a deep water access fuel dock and recently added an onsite chandlery with a complete range of services and equipment for commercial and recreational yachts.
Thailand's Andaman coast offers visiting yachtsmen a wide choice of dramatic and appealing cruising routes with 67 islands to explore right off the Phuket coast. For larger vessels, some of South East Asia's least visited archipelagos are also within a few days' sail, with the marine wonders of the Similan, Mergui and Andaman islands all within easy reach for superyachts. Phuket is fast becoming the natural base from which to discover this incredible region by sea and the island's ever growing yacht services industry has also made it a popular onshore destination for superyacht owners, charter guests and crew members.