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Phuket’s Boat Lagoon rebrands, sets sail for lifestyle destination

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PHUKET: Do you know why the iPod succeeded? After all, it’s just another MP3 player. Yet it’s so much more than that: a fashion accessory, an icon of a certain lifestyle, a symbol of fun and, of course, a music player. It looks beyond the obvious and expands the concept that leads to such a hit.

Here in Phuket, it’s the Boat Lagoon that’s aiming to be more than you expect.

You hear the name Boat Lagoon Marina and you probably think boats – row after row of shiny yachts waiting to be taken to sea – with packs of sea dogs taking care of the vessels. Is there a place there for non-sailing types?

Yes, there is, and there will be more. The Boat Lagoon is opening up and showing its new, true nature – that of a lifestyle destination reflected in its new name – Boat Lagoon Marina Village.

This current expansion is a consequence of steady and sustainable development, which the Boat Lagoon has been undergoing since its founding almost 25 years ago. While other marinas in Thailand have tried to enter the lifestyle market from the outset, the Boat Lagoon’s owners chose to build strong foundations in the marine business and then add to the concept.

It has grown into more than just a yacht marina, as it now boasts a large number of permanent residents, hundreds of meters of retail space, a big hotel and more. Expansion into the lifestyle and events market is yet another step in its evolution.

This transformation, fitting perfectly with a recent wave of dynamic development on the east coast of Phuket, is already visible at the entrance to the complex, where a massive steel sculpture is catching the eyes of everyone passing by. If they ever slow down, they will notice a row of boutiques and bistros inviting them to enjoy the Boat Lagoon and find out more.

In addition to a variety of restaurants now servicing the marina, the area provides space for an enjoyable walk down a leafy promenade – something that cannot be said about many other spaces in Phuket. And now, thanks to a new footbridge – opened a weeks ago – it just got better.

“We want this space to be more dynamic and lively; the bridge will allow people to move around the Lagoon more freely”, explains Boat Lagoon Deputy Managing Director Boon Yongsakul.

The bridge does just that, allowing pedestrians to cross from the Admiral Prince Abhakara Kiartivongse statue – the father of the Royal Thai Navy – to the Boat Lagoon’s lighthouse that offers fantastic views from its top. And when a boat needs to pass, the bridge opens up like a gate to the seas.

It was next to the statue that a ceremony was recently held to ask the much revered prince and deities for good luck with the Lagoon’s expansion – an ambitious project that includes even more lifestyle outlets as well as an ongoing series of events, such as a stylish weekend market, to take place within the complex.

Named after the Lagoon’s iconic lighthouse, the market aims to bring Thais and expats together to enjoy a more tasteful kind of weekend event. With hand-picked vendors manning the stalls, live performances and different themes for each event, its goal is to bring new quality to the market concept and even more life to the East coast of the island.

Speaking after the merit making ceremony at the foot of Admiral Prince’s statue, Boat Lagoon founder Kanit Yongsakul said, “If you ask Abhakara for help with something positive, it’s sure to succeed.”

“Income is secondary to us. What we want is to give Phuket residents a place for leisure time – a space where they can take a walk with their families, have a good meal and enjoy themselves,” he added.

— Maciek Klimowicz

 

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