Each of Phuket’s world-class marinas offers its own highlights and each one has its own attractions to offer marine enthusiasts and lifestyle aficionados.We take a closer look at the facilities available at each of Phuket’s marinas and sum up their unique highlights.
Phuket Royal Marina is home to luxury residences, sport and leisure amenities
Thailand, and in particular Phuket, has earnt a strong reputation for itself as one of Southeast Asia’s premier sailing hubs. The island attracts a plethora of seagoing visitors from amateur sailing enthusiasts to serious yacht owners, plus professionals that gravitate to the island to take part in one of its prestigious sailing tournaments. In fact, four of the Kingdom’s six main marinas grace the shore of Phuket.
Thailand’s marina complexes vary significantly in terms of their size and the array of facilities available, often offering a great deal more than just a safe point of anchorage for seagoing vessels. While some focus principally on in-water repair and maintenance services, others cater towards visiting motor cruisers and superyachts, with a range of exquisite onshore facilities to appeal to the luxury lifestyle crowd. Phuket Royal Marina, for example, boasts a selection of boutique stores, high-end residences and stylish restaurants, all fringed by a quaint boardwalk that looks out over the ocean. We take a closer look at the facilities available at each of Phuket’s marinas and sum up their unique highlights.
Ao Po Marina
Ao Po Grand Marina is ideally positioned to explore the beauty of Phang Nga Bay
Phuket’s Ao Po Marina (aopograndmarina.com) enjoys a position on the scenic northeast coast of Phuket, making it an ideal launching pad for sailing enthusiasts keen to explore the spectacular, otherworldly seascape of Phang Nga Bay. The marina is situated within a private bay, and is home to a total of 200 berths, in addition to haul-out facilities up to 90 tonnes and a hard-standing area for up to 60 crafts. The complex can accommodate vessels measuring up to 80m in length. Access to the berths is especially convenient, thanks to the availability of gulf buggy transportation.
Thanks to the lack of tide restrictions at Ao Po, plus 24-hour access, the marina has become a popular hub for superyachts. The complex is currently undergoing extensive development work to add to the limited range of leisure facilities that are currently available here. Once complete, the establishment will be home to a brand new luxury quayside hotel, in addition to private waterfront residences and two man-made lagoons.
Royal Phuket Marina
Royal Phuket Marina is situated in the middle of Phuket’s Eastern Seaboard
Whether you’re a serious sailor or an amateur yachting enthusiast, the Royal Phuket Marina (royalphuketmarina.com) is a destination in itself. This luxury lifestyle hub is home to restaurants, bars, cafés and boutiques, all peppered along the scenic Fisherman’s Wharf waterfront promenade. Celebrated as Thailand’s first ‘luxury lifestyle’ marina, there’s even a shuttle boat that provides transportation to a chic beach club on a nearby island and an exquisite health club with floodlit tennis courts.
Thanks to its strategic position in the middle of Phuket’s Eastern Seaboard, the Royal Phuket Marina has carved a reputation for itself as a superb gateway for those keen to explore the picturesque scenery of Phang Nga Bay. Access to the complex is via a natural protected channel. The marina itself is home to 100 wet berths and 50 dry berths, accommodating crafts spanning from 10m to 35m in length. Sophisticated sailing facilities include a boat lock and a non-tidal deep water basin, in addition to all of the private moorings.
Phuket Boat Lagoon
Phuket’s Boat Lagoon was the first marina complex to be established on the island
Positioned on the east coast of Phuket, next to the island’s Royal Phuket Marina, is Phuket Boat Lagoon (phuketboatlagoon.com) – the island’s very first complex of this type. Boat Lagoon is home to 182 wet berths to accommodate crafts measuring up to 42m in length. There is also a spacious hard-standing area that can hold up to 134 vessels, plus extra space for 24 boats in stack storage. The marina benefits from the broad selection of on-site marine-related service providers, including contractors and chandleries, that make it a bustling hub for re-fit work.
In addition to its comprehensive array of yachting facilities, Boat Lagoon also boasts a number of on-shore attractions, including an array of fine dining destinations. Eateries such as La Taverna, Watermark, The Baker, The Gallery and Spice Island all contribute to the Boat Lagoon’s status as a lifestyle destination, though it may lack the distinct luxury sparkle of complex’s like the Royal Phuket Marina. In addition to the fabulous array of restaurants and bars, there’s also two swimming pools, tennis courts, a fitness centre and a spa.
Yacht Haven Marina
The Yacht Haven Marina can accommodate over 300 vessels, measuring up to 80m in length
Situated at Laem Phro, Phuket’s Yacht Haven Marina (pyhmarina.com) is conveniently positioned for those who have just touched down at Phuket International Airport, which is just a short drive away. Yacht Haven is one of the island’s two superyacht marinas, and is a leading deep-water destination for larger motor crafts and sailing vessels. The complex currently has the capacity to accommodate more than 300 seagoing crafts measuring up to 60m in length. There is also a selection of fuel, water and provisioning services. However, dramatic expansion plans are currently underway thanks to Phuket’s growing popularity as a regional yachting hub.
While Yacht Haven may be somewhat out of the way of Phuket’s main tourist hotspots, the complex is home to a number of appealing lifestyle facilities. For example, The Haven restaurant is a sought-after eatery for those seeking the satisfaction of home-cooked comfort food. With sublime vistas over the ocean, The Deck restaurant is also a fine choice for a memorable meal out. The complex is also home to a number of apartments available to rent on a short-term basis.
Exploring the Gulf of Thailand
Koh Samui is an excellent base for sailing trips around Ang Thong Marine Park
Just because there’s no marina complexes on the island of Samui, that doesn’t mean the island isn’t an excellent launching pad for exploration of the surrounding seas. In fact, as boats can moor offshore, the island is a good base for sailing day trips to Koh Phangan, Koh Tao and the many tropical islands of the Ang Thong Marine Park. Situated to the northwest of Koh Samui, the archipelagic Ang Thong Marine Park covers an area of 100km2, and is home to 42 pristine tropical islands with a number of superb yacht anchorages. Koh Phangan is less than one hour’s cruise away from Samui, and Koh Tao is 45km to the north.
If you’re based in Phuket, these spectacular destinations are worth checking out if you’re keen to explore beyond the beauty of Phang Nga Bay:
- The Similan Islands are approximately one night’s sail away from Phuket. Celebrated as one of Thailand’s supreme diving hubs, they’re well worth a visit – especially if you’re keen to discover the magic of Thailand’s underwater treasures.
- The idyllic Surin Islands are located 100km north of the Similans, which are 65 nautical miles from Phuket. The Surins comprise a total of five stunning islands: Koh Surin Nuea, Koh Surin Tai, Koh Ri, Koh Khai and Koh Klang.
- For a shorter trip, the incredible Phi Phi Islands are a wonderful destination within easy sailing distance of Phuket. Hidden lagoons and silky ribbons of white-sand beach make these islands an ultimate tropical haven.