Perhaps the single most idyllic holiday destination on planet earth, the Thai island of Phuket is one of Asia’s most captivating destinations. Amongst Phuket’s considerable charms are the peace and quiet of island life, the tropical rainforests that hug gravity defying mountains, the golden beaches that stretch to infinity, the warm waters that maintain a crystal clear clarity, the aromas of wonderful street food that can be found in every town, and the sheer warmth of the friendly locals who always go out of their way to make sure your stay at their piece of paradise is as magical as possible. And the latest attraction to add to the list is that Phuket is quickly becoming a major international centre for yachting, rivalling Florida, Monte Carlo and the Amalfi Coast. Here is a look at why Phuket is the world’s next big yachting destination.
Asian Boat Buying
While the Caribbean, Mediterranean and Baltic seas currently lead the world for boat ownership, Asia’s rapidly growing economies are busy buying up boats. No more are super yachts solely to be found in exclusive marinas in Europe and America, instead you are just as likely to find luxury vessels in Singapore, Hong Kong and Hainan. And this burgeoning class of wealthy boat owners in the far-east are increasingly turning to Phuket for the most luxurious yachting holidays available. Mooring their yachts in shallow, azure waters and feeling the tropical ocean breeze on their skin, it is not difficult to see why Phuket is becoming so popular. And the options for luxury boat charters here is also increasing, meaning you too can sample a bit of the high life when visiting this astounding destination.
Phuket really exemplifies the idealised image of a tropical Asian retreat better than anywhere else on the continent. Pillars of rock rise abruptly from the turquoise waters, thickets of jungle perched on their top, all overlooking a hidden beach of almost impossible beauty. Swaying palm trees provide shade as you rest in your hammock, coconuts falling from heavy branches to provide hydration with their fresh, delicious milk. Every now and then a colourful parrot swoops overhead as the blood red sun sets, casting lurid rays across the cloudless sky and onto the jagged forms of hills and mountains. After a couple of days here, visitors all agree that Phuket really is paradise.
Value for Money
Despite its immense popularity Phuket never really feels over-crowded, perhaps because it is so isolated, and as a result it is still relatively inexpensive. Your money goes a long way here, whether eating at great restaurants or shelling out for a bareboat charter to take you out into the calm waters of the sea. Whereas many of the world’s top marinas are achingly expensive, a week or two with your vessel moored at one of Phuket’s well maintained ports will prove surprisingly affordable.
A Tropical Climate
Of course it helps that Phuket’s weather is nigh on perfect, with hot mornings ideal for walks on the beach, light rains cooling the air at lunch-time, and sultry evenings where one can linger lazily deep into the night. Whether you want to relax on deck, on the beach or in a beer garden, the weather here is guaranteed to be great. And with seas shielded from much of the worst weather that the rest of South-East Asia experienced, especially on Phuket’s mild east coast, you do not have to be an experienced sailor to navigate these waters.
John is a travel writer with articles published in dozens of online magazines who has travelled the world in order to locate the finest luxury boat charters around.