This part of the chapter deals with all the islands and mainland points of interest north of Phuket and south of the Burmese border. The two main island groups are The Similan Islands, approximately 50 miles northwest of Patong and The Surin Islands, a further 50 miles north.
These groups of islands offer a beautiful contrast to the towering limestone monoliths of the Phang Nga / Krabi region. The huge granite boulders that form the Similans are clear evidence of an entirely different geological process from that which left us with Phang Nga Bay. Smooth, weather-worn rocks the size of cars and houses tumble down the islands? shorelines looking like some ancient giant?s left-behind marbles.
Continuing their interesting formations to the seabed, these rocks create a wondrous underwater world that helps support a sizeable liveaboard diving industry. Water clarity here is legendary and the coral reefs are considered the most colourful and diverse in Thailand.
These offshore islands are therefore the first destination on the way to the Burmese dive sites and are constantly busy with liveaboard vessels during the high season.
In the north, and the largest of the three beaches on the headland, Naithon Beach offers offers good holding in the centre of the bay in 6-10 metres on a sandy bottom.
Good snorkelling may be found on either point. Ashore, you will find Andaman White Sands Resort, which extends the length of the bay and a road which leads to the airport.
15 miles from Patong Bay
Anchor in approximately 8-10 metres on a sandy bottom to the north or south of the reef outcrop in front of the hotels visible behind the trees. Good facilities are available at the hotels and there are some local restaurants ashore. Transport to town or the airport may be arranged.
MAI KHAO BEACH. 8° 11.148N, 98° 17.189E
Look for anchorage 100 metres offshore about one mile or more south of the bar marking the entrance to the channel between Phuket and the mainland. The sand bars around the channel entrance are constantly shifting, and entry is not recommended in a keeled vessel. It should not be attempted without local knowledge even in a shoal-draft boat.
The beach is steep, and the sand coarser than that on other west coast beaches. The road runs close to the beach in the north, near the restaurants local buses can be hailed heading to the bridge or main highway.
As part of the government drive to ‘beautify’ Phuket’s beaches, this beach has lost all the ‘coconut’ seafood restaurants which used to nestle under the casuarina trees at the back of the beach. Once a favourite with locals for lunch it is now deserted.
Although anchorage is possible anywhere along this beach, do not anchor within half a mile of the airport runway, which is clearly visible from seaward.
While every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained in this book is accurate, the charts of anchorages are based on personal experience and satellite imagery and are intended as a guide only. They should not be used for navigation. Please refer to Official Hydrographic Charts of the respective countries.
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