Most of the major tourism developments on Phuket has long focused on the island’s west coast bays and beaches. Max Vee recommends a trip to the east coast for an altogether more untainted island experience, far from the crowds and holiday cacophony.
Phuket’s east coast is exactly the type of tropical escape that first springs to mind when you visualise an island in Thailand. The pristine stretch of rugged headlands and wide bays is decorated with mangroves, tropical forest, waterfalls and stunning views of the many offshore islands peppered in this part of the Andaman Sea.
A refreshing lack of crowded tourist towns, heaving nightlife zones and packed shopping plazas also makes the sunrise coast a perfect choice if you prefer the sound of the waves to the sound of the suburbs. It’s surprisingly easy to reach from the airport – just 25 minutes by car – and also offers easy road access to the commercial side of Phuket if you ever need a blast of bustle.
Right in the centre of Phuket’s east coast, a modest headland sticks out like foot and is known as Cape Yamu. This is one of the few more built-up areas on this part of Phuket, but it is still far from over-developed, and offers some of the most magnificent surroundings and views on the island.
Cape Yamu boasts enough attractions and amenities to happily fill the holiday spaces between relaxing days doing nothing by the beach or pool. Dining out doesn’t require a lengthy journey, and golfers and sailing enthusiasts will find the immediate surrounding area particularly appealing with one of the island’s best golf courses just a short drive from the cape, as well as a modern, full service marina.
Several years ago, some savvy developers spotted the appeal of Cape Yamu and recruited top international architects to build what is now one of the island’s most exclusive oceanside communities. Cape Yamu Estate features sixteen stunning contemporary private villas, each set within its own generous grounds and taking full advantage of the sublime location.
Most of the villas are designed as a series of linked pavilions with landscaped spaces between the dining, cooking, relaxing and sleeping areas. The pavilions are constructed with large sliding glass doorsnto enhance the connection between indoor and outdoor spaces and maximizing views of the sea and sky while protecting the interiors from the heat of the tropical sun.
The Bay Villa 15 at Cape Yamu is available for rent as a superlative private holiday home and its cliffside position guarantees panoramic seascape views from every room. The stunning limestone islands of Phang Nga Bay pepper the horizon to the north and the calming waters and forested cliffs of Sapam Bay offer a soothing vista to the south.
Minimilism meets sophisticated luxury at The Bay Villa with teakwood floors, chic, comfortable furnishings and a wide sandstone terrace for sun-drenched relaxation right next to the villa's enticing 20-metre infinity pool.
( http://www.luxuryvillasandhomes.com/The-Bay-villa-15.html ) to take a closer look at one of Phuket’s most private holiday villas.
Life’s a Breeze
The clubhouse for the Cape Yamu Estate was recently re-invented as Breeze Restaurant, which has fast become known as one of the island’s best eateries. Talented Executive Chef Cheryl Johnson creates unique, delicious and healthy cuisine using fresh local and fine imported ingredients to create an ever changing menu of delectable dishes. She and her hospitable, professional kitchen team also come up with a vast array of delights every weekend for the special “Long Lazy Lunch”, which is a huge hit with residents and visitors alike. Advanced reservations are essential. www.breezecapeyamu.com
Expanding Culinary Choices
The recent soft launch of a new luxury resort on Phuket’s east coast – Point Yamu by Como – adds two more fine dining options for visitors. La Sirena serves Italian cuisine and Nahmyaa is inspired by Thai street food cooking. All the restaurants at the resort also specialize in a Shambhala Cuisine, a special style of cooking that uses organic ingredients rich in living enzymes, vitamins and minerals. www.comohotels.com/pointyamu
Though not really a towering cascade (18 metres at its highest section), the waterfall at Bang Phe is still an ideal spot for a day trip visit, especially for families. There’s a picnic area by a small lake from which to start or finish the climb, and the hike is relatively easy as it follows a rocky path by a babbling stream with plenty of opportunities for a cooling dip in the water. The entire walk is shaded by the surrounding tropical forest and there are vendors in the car park selling cold drinks, snacks and souvenirs. Try a fresh coconut juice as a refreshing and tasty way to rehydrate after the walk.
One of the best known east coast landmarks on Phuket is the stunning oceanside golf course at Mission Hills Phuket Golf Resort & Spa, which launched eight years ago. The 18-hole course was designed by Jack Nicklaus and boasts a number of tees that are literally next to the twinkling ocean. There’s a good selection of superior equipment for hire and private lessons can be arranged with a fully qualified PGA coach. In addition to a a driving range and putting green, facilities also include a fitness room, swimming pool and spa to keep non-golfing visitors entertained.
Ao Po Grand Marina
All of Phuket’s four main marinas are situated on the protected east coast and Ao Po Grand Marina is one of two facilities that can accommodate superyachts. The entry to the marina is 50m wide, and the berths can accommodate vessels ranging from 10m up to over 80m. The marina is also the permanent home for a number of luxurious charter boats, operated by companies that offer guests everything from a sunset cruise to longer voyages in the Andaman region, including private overnight trips to enjoy snorkelling and Scuba Diving in the spectacular Similan islands.
by MAX VEE