I occasionally hear grumbles from Cha-Am residents, some even have their own boat, that there’s nowhere to launch a boat trailer locally. That is unless you have a four wheel drive which you are happy to take onto the beach. Another alternative is the fresh water options at Kraeng Krachan. Over the years there have been some rumours about a launching facility north of Cha-Am, but not yet. No hard surface launching ramp, or ideally a real marina. The Colliers International 2011 Residential Report provided some comment on this issue. “The existence of a marina in Hua Hin – Cha am would invigorate the area as a premier high end resort destination and enhance its international profile. It would also allow greater sea access from the eastern seaboard.
Plans for a marina have been mooted for some time but have yet to come to fruition.” However about 15 kilometres south of Hua Hin at Pak Nam Pran (that’s Thai for Pranburi estuary) there is a facility available for boat lovers. The origins of the Phatra Marina are a little mysterious, but according to some sources entrepreneur Viroj Nualkair, at the time chief executive officer of Thailand’s Phatra Thanakit Finance Company was one of the originators. In any case Phatra Marina is a hidden treasure for any boat fanatic. A visit here mirrors a common sight in Thailand where modern developments often stand in stark juxtaposition with traditional culture. In Bangkok modern office towers rise beside old wooden Thai houses. At Phatra Marina Thai fishing boats mingle with Thai customs military boats, home designed tour boats (including the Siam Pearl) and luxurious private sailing machines. The Hua Hin Sea Discovery also berths at the marina.
The Marina itself has all the necessary facilities with lifting equipment, dry birth maintenance areas and other chandlery services. There are about 100 pens on site as well as dry boat storage areas. A sign states that use of the hard surface launching ramp is 300 THB although with no one in sight I’m not sure how payment would be made. During our visit the only visible activity was on board the Thai Customs boats. Our suggestion would be to make a visit to check out the scene yourself before you get into ‘sailor mode’.
There is an onsite office for Absolut Boat Services, but unoccupied. The given number (Thai and English) is 0835936523. That could be worth a try to learn the local protocol. WHERE: The marina is a 20 minute drive south of Hua Hin on the northern side of the Pranburi estuary. You need to turn off the main highway at the first main road towards the ocean after Suan Son Golf Course. Look for the Pak Nam Pran sign. We didn’t see any signs for the marina, including at the entrance.