Touted as the island’s largest man-made attraction, Andamanda Phuket will open its doors to the public on 21 May. The latest project from Thai property developer Proud Group whose portfolio already includes properties like the InterContinental Phuket Resort and the Holiday Inn Resort Vana Nana in Hua Hin, the project hopes to attract one million visitors a year by 2023.
Valued at 3 billion baht (US$86.5 million), the first phase of development covers eight hectares. In years to come, phase two, budgeted at 1.5 billion baht, will see the opening of a 300-key Holiday Inn hotel on site and the addition of a further 2,000 square metres of retail space.
Tradition and technology abound
The park counts 25 rides and attractions of varying levels spread across five themed zones named Coral World, The Pearl Palace, Emerald Forest, Great Andaman Bay and Naga Jungle. Other activities include a Double Flow surf simulator, Asia’s longest lazy river, a 10,000-square-metre wave pool that can generate waves up to 3 metres high and a toddler splash zone. The grounds also include over 300 metres of white sandy beach and a replica of Koh Tapu, better known as James Bond Island.
Andamanda Phuket is touted as the largest leisure and entertainment destination in downtown Phuket.
The theme park leans heavily on Thai culture and mythology, reflected in the architecture, characters and other visuals throughout the property. Interpretations of traditional legends are fluid, however, as illustrated by the presence of swashbuckling pirates beside winged nymphs and other mythical creatures. Thai culture will also be represented by nang talung shadow puppet shows and a floating market experience that features local arts and crafts.
State-of-the-art technology has also been built into the experience. An AI app generates tickets and allows for fast track entry, while an augmented reality game allows guests to collect characters and other treasures. VR equipment is available on some slides. And payments in the park are contactless, meaning that guests do not need to carry their wallets around.
Socially and environmentally responsible
The project has created over 400 jobs, primarily for people from local communities, including over 200 lifeguard positions. Retail outlets will offer items carrying the One Tambon One Product (or OTOP) label, a publicly financed programme that supports unique local products from individual villages or communities.
Andamanda Phuket states that it is free from single-use plastic, meaning that all retail and F&B outlets will ban disposable plastics like water bottles, cutlery and other packaging. The park uses water recycling systems and waste water management protocols to reduce water consumption and solar power will also reduce the need for non-renewable energy sources.
The park features 12 slides, 36 activities, a FlowRider Double surf simulator and a toddler splash zone.
At the ceremony held by Proud Group to unveil the project to the press, Thapanee Kiatphaibool, deputy governor for tourism products and business of the Tourism Authority of Thailand said, “One key factor in attracting visitors is the provision of world-class entertainment and activities. So the opening of Andamanda, Asia’s largest water park, is very important.”
She noted that “ease of travel has much improved”, referring to the loosening of testing and quarantine requirements that had been in place for the last two years. “We believe that the outlook will continue to improve.”
Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, president of Phuket Tourism Association, who also attended the ceremony, concurred. “We are seeing a positive trend that now brings an average number of 3,000-5,000 visitors per day to Phuket from India, followed by Australia, UK, Singapore, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia.”
He made the following forecasts. “For the last quarter of 2022, this trend should accelerate with 9,000 to 10,000 arrivals per day to reach 1 million visitors in Phuket. The southern island could receive a total of 3.5 million visitors this year.” This compares with the 10 million tourists Phuket welcomed in 2019 before the onset of Covid.
Proudputh Liptapanlop, executive director of Proud Group, called Andamanda Phuket “an iconic entertainment landmark” that is “as impressive as any in the world”.
She added, “As the planet recovers from the global pandemic, I am confident that Andamanda Phuket will […] contribute to the long-term prosperity of this destination.”