Shimmering along over 740 km of coastline off Thailand’s exquisite west coast, the Andaman Sea is the jewel in the crown of Thailand; a glorious marine wonderland and home to some of the most achingly beautiful island gems, such as Phuket, as well as Thailand’s iconic limestone karsts.
The marine playground of the rich and famous, the Andaman Sea is one of Thailand’s most treasured natural resources. Prepare for a whole new world of marine adventures and natural beauty that invites you to explore, discover, and experience the best Thailand has to offer; the effect is refreshing, energizing, and inspiring. To travel to Phuket is to embrace the extraordinary atmosphere and lifestyle of The Andaman.
The Pearl of The Andaman
If the Andaman Sea is Thailand’s crown, then the island of Phuket, with its glitzy and glamorous vibe, is the pearl in that crown; a picture-postcard oasis of pristine and soft white-sand beaches bordering turquoise waters. The marinescape extends to gorgeous islands, marine national parks, and beautiful dive and snorkel spots, whilst Phuket is renowned for its excellent sailing, island hopping and many marine and beachfront activities.
Adding to Phuket’s attraction, is the fact that as well as outstanding natural features, the island is a hub of gourmet dining with lots to see and do for visitors from boutiques to water parks and interesting attractions. Since The Andaman is about leisure and lifestyle, it is perfectly fitting that luxury villas on Phuket should also reflect this sense of relaxation and outdoor living, with infinity pools looking out to the horizon across beautiful bays.
Rich Marine Life
The rich biodiversity of The Andaman and its coastline has created a spectacular ecosystem of diverse marine life, including areas of translucent waters and coral reefs. The coast is renowned for its mangrove forests and seagrass meadows, where hundreds of fish species thrive in Phuket alone; a natural shelter that needs to be protected with sustainable tourism and responsible travel.
It is no secret that the popularity of the Andaman Sea has led to some marine parks being closed, at least temporarily, revealing the fragility of this beautiful underwater landscape. Coral bleaching is destroying the reefs and seeking out tours and expeditions that respect and protect the region is a fantastic way to support conservation; giving back to a place that you will have undoubtedly fallen in love with.
Four sea turtle species can be found in the waters, notably the green, Olive Ridley, hawksbill and leatherback turtles. All are under threat with protected nesting areas on the beach in Phuket where tourists can capture the special sight of turtle releases back to the sea and enjoy conservation activities too. Another endangered species is the strange-looking dugong or sea cow, with only around 150 living in the Andaman Sea; a rare sight indeed.
Off the coast of Phuket and other Andaman islands such as Phi Phi, divers can spot giant manta ray and if they are really lucky the rare whale shark. ‘Finding Nemo’ clown fish, black tip reef sharks, as well as leopard sharks, are also found; adding to the diverse array of sea life.
The climate and breezes around Phuket make for perfect sailing conditions and the island is a hub of maritime sports and events. Sailing off the island is world-class and Phuket hosts a full calendar of well-known competitions and shows. These include Phuket Raceweek over on Cape Panwa off the eastern edge of the isle; the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta which has been running for over 30 years off Kata Beach on the western shore; Thailand Yacht Show; Phuket International Boat Show; and the Bay Regatta.
Superyachts impress, whilst yacht charters, upmarket cruises, and speedboat trips take you into a whole other world. With fine-dining lunch spots and a fabulous choice of professional sailing companies, setting sail on The Andaman is an unforgettable experience and certainly a must-do during your villa vacation stay on Phuket. A sunset cruise or an adrenalin-fueled motorboat ride to a castaway island are bucket-list worthy.
Phang Nga Bay and the Ao Phang Nga National Park is mainly made up of the Andaman Sea and is one of the most renowned destinations in the whole of Thailand, and easily reachable on a daytrip from Phuket. Here, you can visit James Bond Island with its caves and lagoons and marvel at the jungle-covered limestone island beauties jutting out of the turquoise waters of The Andaman. The conservation area protects Thailand’s largest remaining mangrove forest and boasts waterfalls and caves; a marine wonder that dazzles in all its natural glory.
Island-hopping to smaller islands such as Koh Phi Phi is possible within a day as is reaching the Similan Islands, also a Marine National Park location and a group of nine islands famed as being home to some of the best dive destinations in the world with crystal-clear waters. There is also opportunity within the region to enjoy game fishing trips in the abundant waters.
Whilst some sands bordering the Andaman Sea are still secluded, there are many beaches on popular islands such as Phuket that are brimming with life and enhance the sense of marine adventure with a huge range of watersports and beachfront activities. Jet skis, banana boats, snorkeling, and kayaking are just a few, with cool underwater scooters, scuba diving, kitesurfing, and wakeboarding.
Such is the beauty and importance of The Andaman that the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Southeast Asia is looking into getting Phang Nga Bay and the Andaman Sea coastline surrounding Phuket and further south listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.