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Phuket Island in Thailand is developing into a major global marina hub. Superyacht visits have been increasing exponentially over the past 15 years and in the last year, 1,500 yachts and cruisers have visited the ‘Pearl of Andaman’.
Marinas are playing a more important role globally and marinas on the resort island of Phuket, Thailand can handle all the needs of a superyacht. The full-service marinas can provide berths for yachts up to 130 metres (427 feet)s in length.
Together with the aid of Thailand’s friendly hospitality, nearby cruising and beautiful white sand beaches, Phuket provides a perfect superyacht base any one of the island’s marinas.
Four marinas, located in the Northeast of the island, are operated by private companies: Phuket Boat Lagoon can serve 173 yachts and 135 other vessels on the ground for repair work, Royal Phuket Marina serving 76 yachts and 35 on the ground and Ao Po Grand Marina with space for up to 300 yachts and 100 on ground. Further to this, Phuket Yacht Haven can accommodate 300 yachts at sea only.
Wiwat Chitchoetwong, Phuket Marine Office, reported, “Between two and three new marinas are expected to open at Ao Po, Ao Kung, Ao Makham in the future.”
The Thai government also plans to develop Ao Makham into a deep-water superyacht facility so that superyachts can be hauled out and maintenance can be carried out at these facilities which are currently not located in Thailand.
Chitchoetwong added “The successful marinas in Phuket are being looked at now as models for marinas at Surat Thani province’s Koh Samui resort island in the Gulf of Thailand and Chon Buri’s Pattaya on the eastern coast”
In the high season, yachting visitors use Phuket as a base for travelling to nearby islands, while in the low season some dock their yachts at marinas so that they can carry out maintenance, ready for the next high season. A number of superyacht owners have also purchased residences in the area which are used when the owners are cruising the area.
Phuket itself is a big draw for yachties around the world due to it’s natural and man-made attractions. Its scenic beaches and water sports are a big draw, while the ancient Sino-Portuguese buildings are popular among tourists fascinated by this architectural style.
A wide variety of Thai and international food can be found at street stalls serving delicious classic Thai food and visitors will find the finest international 5-star dining with some Michelin stared restaurants available.
Just a short cruise to the outer islands, away from the busy landscape of Phuket, is a world of peace and tranquillity. Gordon Fernandes, Asia Pacific Superyachts (APS) Phuket and Myanmar GM, commented, “A perfect destination for superyachts, vessels can set off from one of Phuket’s marinas to journey to the Phi Phi islands, Similan Islands, Racha Islands, Coral Island, Koh Yao Yai & Koh Yao Noi, Koh Khai Islands, Koh Bon and in another Thai province - Koh Phangnga”, reports Asia Pacific Superyachts (APS) Phuket and Myanmar GM, Gordon Fernandes.
“Some yachting visitors choose to travel across the ocean to the Andaman Islands in India - and /or journey on to Singapore and Langkawi, Malaysia while being based in Phuket. Those traveling from Singapore find the destination sits pretty much in the centre of a passage from North to South and East to West in the region; and in Malaysia, superyachts also have the full-service Royal Langkawi Marina & Yacht Club while still viewing Phuket as the primary cruising destination.”
The upgrading of the International Airport (which can cater for any private jet and most commercial aircrafts including 747s), high-end villas, full-service marinas, beach clubs and 5-star hotels and dining has meant that Phuket is now a playground for the rich and famous.
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