Indian Ocean - Thailand
Do you yearn for ‘exotic’ destinations? You can no longer stand sailing where all the others go? You dream of the unique atmosphere that only Asia can offer? Well look no further: Thailand is for you!
Charter companies who offer Thailand as a destination are still rare. Yet the cruising area around Phuket is really exceptional. The seabed is sumptuous, the islands and anchorages numerous and almost always deserted: in a word, it is a cruising paradise. The white sand beaches bordered by lush vegetation on one side, have water on the other side which is sometimes turquoise, sometimes emerald. A destination which is still confidential and one which should not be missed for all the world…
The south of Thailand (Phuket region) is probably one of the best places in the world to spend your holidays, and in six days, you will just have a brief glimpse. Here is a typical itinerary offered by Amaia, an owner’s version Nautitech 47 which is available for charter in this area:
After the traditional briefing and provisioning, you will cast off and set a course for Phang Nga bay. After two hours uneventful sailing you will start to catch a glimpse of the first islands in Phang Nga bay. Magic…
Phang Nga bay is a site comparable to Halong bay in Vietnam, with imposing scenery and a particularly well-protected anchorage.
Day 2: The next day, after a totally calm night, a small excursion to Koh Pannyi, an island where the Moken live. These ‘sea gypsies’ are a community of Muslim fishermen from Malaysia who live in a real floating village on piles which is dominated by a small blue minaret, with a school, shops, restaurants and houses, all linked by precariously balanced pontoons.
In the middle of the afternoon you will leave for Koh Hong, where a ‘hong’ awaits you (a Hong is a collapse in the roof of a rocky peak open to the blue sky, where a lagoon has formed over the centuries)…
Day 3: Direction Krabi for a pleasant 3 or 4-hour cruise, depending on the wind.
Krabi is an old fishing town open to the Andaman Sea; it is the gateway to a collection of fine sand beaches and uninhabited islands. The Krabi region offers scenery which is absolutely unique in Thailand, with huge cliffs, colours which range from pastels to bright red and a sea which is more and more turquoise.
On arriving at Chicken Island (or Poda Island) it is time to get out the diving masks, as a multitude of fish surround swimmers…
Day 4: The next morning, departure under sail for the Phi Phi Islands, with a diving stop en route to discover Bamboo Island and its fabulous coral.
These two islands (koh in Thai), Koh Phi Phi Don, the larger and Koh Phi Phi Lee, which is inhabited, are a foretaste of paradise – lush tropical vegetation covers the hills down to the sea. Here there are no roads and no cars. Koh Phi Phi is marvellous, with dream beaches and transparent water which invites you to anchor – this evening it will be in Ton Sai Bay.
After a superb cruise under full sail, you will arrive at Racha Yai and Racha Noi: after having found an anchorage on sand, close to the beach (beware of the numerous coral heads in the bay), you can leave for a short walk and several hours with the mask and snorkel.
Day 6 : It is time for you to return to the marina, so you will head north, with a few swimming stops…
Formalities: Valid passport. No visa necessary if staying for less than thirty days..
Weather: The best season from a climatic point of view is between November and May, the period when it rains least and it is still not too hot. It is pleasant in the south when the rest of the country is too hot (between April and June) and the north is preferable from mid-November to February.
Seasons: Nov-April: 8/15 knots of wind from the NE, no rain (March and April: higher temperatures; December and January: the lowest temperatures).
May: Inter monsoon, with intermittent rain. June – Sept: 10/18 knots of wind from the SW, with occasional localised rain. Oct: Inter monsoon with intermittent rain.
Average temperature: 25/32°C.
Water temperature: 26/29°C..
Sailing conditions: Be careful with navigation, which, although it does not pose a problem with bearings (navigation always on-sight), is made tricky by strong currents and very many shoals in Phang Nga Bay. But once the navigational problems are well assimilated, a 400 kmÇ cruising area with around forty islands opens its doors. A skipper is recommended for those with little experience.
Buoyage: Random. As is often the case, avoid sailing at night.
Diving: The water surrounding the island contains a great variety of marine life, including the coral; there is also a great number of wrecks which will delight diving enthusiast.
Getting there: Phuket airport. Daily flights from Bangkok and numerous towns in Asia.
Languages spoken: Thai and English..
Money: Thai Bath (1 Euro = 47 THB). USD and travellers cheques are accepted. Most credit cards are accepted in restaurants and hotels, and you will find bureaux de change nearly everywhere..