The dawning of the age of Aquaria

Central Phuket Floresta's massive new aquarium is an exciting addition to the southern tourist town's growing list of attractions

Inhabitants of Aquaria Phuket.

The sight of sea turtles, penguins, rays and hundreds of other marine species is a truly captivating one. The grand new aquarium Aquaria Phuket recently became a welcome addition to Central Phuket Floresta, boasting over 300 species of 51,000 creatures inside its gigantic total tank volume of 7 million litres.

Located on B1 Floor, Aquaria is the largest aquarium in Thailand at nearly 10,000m². Its theme, "An Ocean Of Myth And Legend", merges aquatic life with mythology, taking visitors on a journey from the mystical Himmapan forest to the ocean.

Aquaria Phuket is divided into zones: the Mystic Forest, featuring creatures from Thai folklore; River Giants, featuring arapaima, Mekong rays and Mekong giant catfish; River Caves with playful otters; Coastal Haven with adorable penguins; and the interactive Station Aquarius where visitors can have an educational encounter with the marine inhabitants in the touch pool.

Inside Andasi Restaurant and Lounge.

One of its main attractions is the South China Sea, the main exhibit tank, which also houses Andasi Restaurant and Lounge that claims to be the world's largest underwater restaurant, and the first underwater bar in Asia. Andasi serves contemporary global cuisine, with ingredients from Europe, Japan and Thailand. This fine diner can seat 130 people.

At the aquarium's launch last month, Dato Simon Foong, managing director of Aquawalk Group, which owns and operates Aquaria Phuket, was present with Dax Lee, CEO of Andasi, and Nattakit Tangpoonsinthana, executive vice-president of marketing of Central Pattana Plc (CPN). Foong was quick to inform the crowd of the impressive statistics of Aquaria Phuket as the largest aquarium in the country, adding that it doubles as a fantastic event space.

"You can have weddings and parties here. You can have a nice gathering. This is a unique place for people to visit in Phuket," said Foong.

Penguins.

His aim is for the aquarium to be a centre of education that inspires visitors to appreciate the marine ecosystem and work to conserve it. Aquaria has since partnered with Chulalongkorn University to ­develop its venue as a research and breeding facility.

Nattakit said that Aquaria Phuket and Andasi are the two final jigsaw pieces completing Central Phuket's world-class attractions to make it a must-visit destination that draws quality tourists from around the globe.

"Aquaria complements Phuket as one of the most complete and perfect beach cities that meets all travel lifestyles, similar to how Singapore has Sentosa, Marina Bay and other attractions. Most importantly, we're proud to be a part of a private sector that will elevate Phuket to be a global luxury travel destination, boosting Thailand's tourism industry and driving further growth in Thailand's economy," said Nattakit.

Aquaria Phuket

In addition to Aquaria Phuket and Andasi, Central Phuket Floresta is home to a few other notable attractions. Also on B1 Floor is AR Trick Eye Museum (not to be confused with Phuket Trickeye Museum), which claims to be the world's first Augmented Reality art museum. It employs the latest AR technology to produce realistic art that comes to life on your smartphone -- perfect for Instagram enthusiasts.

Meanwhile, on G Floor, is Tribhum: The Mystical Three Worlds, a 3D walk-through adventure theme park that brings visitors on a journey with mythical creatures like garuda and naga as they vie for the elixir of life. Within Tribhum, you can find an adventure cruise, 4D flying theatre, a maze filled with demons, talking trees, an animation show in a 360-degree dome and more.

The South China Sea tank.

Children fascinated by the colourful fish.

Travel info

  • Aquaria Phuket and AR Trick Eye Museum are open daily from 10.30am-8pm. Last admission is at 7pm. Tickets to the aquarium start from 490 baht for adults, 290 baht for children. Please note that prices are different for locals and foreigners. Check the website for current rates, special offers and combo deals with AR Trick Eye Museum. Visit aquaria-phuket.com and trickeye.com/phuket.
  • Andasi Restaurant and Lounge is open daily from 7pm. After 10pm, it becomes a night lounge that operates until 1am. Visit andasi.co.
  • Tribhum is open every day except Wednesdays from 11am-8pm. Tickets are 1,500 baht for adults, 750 baht for children, 750 baht for senior citizens and free for toddlers. An extra charge of 500 baht and 300 baht is applied for special rides such as the Silver Glider and the Adventure Cruise, respectively. For more information, visit tribhum.com.