PHUKET: Phuket’s tourism is very much West coast focused. The beaches are whiter and sandier, resorts and hotels aplenty.
The East coast, however, is more of a year-round destination. What it may lack in beaches, it makes up for in islands, most of which are easily accessible by boat. This renewed interest is driven by the marine industry.
Phuket’s four marinas are all on the East coast. The two largest – Phuket Yacht Haven and Ao Po Grand Marina – can accommodate 620 boats between them.
The Phuket Boat Lagoon and Royal Phuket Marina (RPM) are also reshaping Koh Kaew and are development clusters and market generators in their own right. The Villa Market at Boat Lagoon draws people to the area, and the space for offices and businesses in the Boat Arcade has been a welcome addition as well.
The high season ‘Boat Lagoon Weekend’ event has also become a huge success and a monthly magnet of activity.
Next door at RPM, there has been a surge in events due to the addition of the ‘Regus Royal Phuket Marina Business Center’, ‘Kids Mania’ and ‘Dry Stack’ facilities which are attracting a new demographic.
Here are my top five reasons to check out the East coast.
The East coast is home to Phuket’s four marinas: Phuket Yacht Haven, Ao Po Grand Marina, Phuket Boat Lagoon and Royal Phuket Marina.
All provide easy access to an archipelago of islands off the East coast. More than 30 islands are a short boat trip from any marina and Phang Nga Bay is right on the East coast’s doorstep, with its waters being accessible all year round.
The marinas, with their impressive boats and array of dining and drinking outlets, are destinations in their own right and can make for a great day out.
The East coast offers a diversity of cuisines and ambiance – fine and casual dining, patisseries, coffee shops, street vendors, lounge bars and more.
Health and wellness
Phuket’s East coast is home to the island’s leading sports facilities. The RPM Health Club is the island’s top health and wellness center, while a little further north is the multi-million dollar Thanyapura Health & Sports Resort.
Phuket City has undergone a resurgence in recent years and now offers an eclectic mix of dining and drinking experiences, as well as temples, culture, historic buildings and so much more.
The bird’s-eye view from Khao Rang, Thai food restaurants, the Trick Eye museum and the Sunday night market are just a few of the reasons that this is a top spot.
The residential options are now better than ever. In comparison to the West coast, the East has been slow to develop, but there are now many affordable housing and condominium developments located just inland from the coast, as well as the marina offerings which provide private gated communities with facilities on your doorstep unrivaled by traditional stand-alone developments.
Next time you’re thinking of somewhere new to go or a new place to eat, head to the East coast and explore. You’ll be sure to find something to your liking.
Duncan Worthington is a long time Phuket resident and through Infinity Communications (infinity-comms.com) consults to leading consumer brands, hospitality and marine clients in Thailand. In his ‘spare time’ he runs the marine portal Marine Scene.asia. #OnDeckPhuket
— Duncan Worthington