An Andaman Sea Adventure
There is nothing like sailing on a shimmering azure blue sea, into a tropical secluded cove with palm-fringed, pristine white sandy beaches. A gentle breeze drifting you in under a billowing sail. All you can hear is the waves lapping by the side of the boat & the sound of your summer playlist! That’s the feeling you have when you go sailing on the beautiful Andaman Sea!
Friends & dreamers, today I invite you to come sailing with me to the most beautiful, exotic location of Southern Thailand. As well as stunning sailing & superb weather - there’s so much to see & do - you’ll discover fabulous food, festivals, nature, fishing villages, resort spas, beautiful beaches, water sports & adventure - plus temples & cultural centres to visit so you get a glimpse of the unique Thai values & heritage. The people of Thailand are easy going, gracious, with a great sense of fun. It’s important as a visitor to respect the generous & hospitable spirit of this beautiful Thai culture.
Phuket is in the southern part of Thailand, known as the pearl of the Andaman Sea. It is known for having some of the best sailing grounds in the world. It’s a tropical wonderland with more than 200 islands to explore. Imagine a place where you can wind your way through dazzling, mysterious, emerald waters, an exotic place where you can discover coves & caves, uninhabited islands, unspoilt white sandy beaches & breathtakingly beautiful scenery.
So, as you can see Phuket is so much more than just resorts, day tours & nightlife that most travel brochures offer. There are certainly fabulous resorts to stay at all along the Phuket peninsula. But have you considered yachting? My favourite way to visit a marine paradise is by a private skippered charter. The yacht becomes your hotel & transportation too, it’s just perfect, you sail on tropical sparkling waters from morning to evening. It’s the ultimate freedom, you can stop where you want, whenever you like. It is fantastic to have the option to dine on board or stop for lunch & dinner at a new restaurant or resort every day. Phuket is warm all year round, however, you must remember that Thailand has a wet & a dry season, based on the monsoons that influence the weather & wind directions. The premium time to visit Phuket is between November & April when weather conditions are generally at their best. May & October are considered the rainy monsoon season, but generally it only rains for a couple of hours during the late afternoon. The beauty of having a local skipper is he knows how to read the weather, the best place to be & where the hidden gems of the destination are.
For the real sailing enthusiasts, there are also the world-famous sailing regattas - with the most famous being the “Phuket King’s Cup Regatta” race held around the end of November or early December every year. It’s very popular amongst both the local & international sailing community.
The Andaman Sea is a fantastic place to snorkel, but for the divers, this is known to be one of the best locations for scuba-diving in the world. There is such an amazing variety of marine life to see including whale sharks, manta rays, tropical fish & elusive billfish. Divers & snorkelers can explore hidden caves & coral reefs with striking shades of auburn, yellow, orange, green & blue. Your skipper will take you to marine parks, set aside as natural reserves to protect the abundant sea life & tropical birds. Discovering this wildlife makes you really appreciate this unspoilt paradise.
As you continue to sail across the blissful expanse of the Andaman Sea, you can only marvel at Thailand’s many islands, as you sail past the glittering beaches & coves dotted along the crystal aquamarine & sapphire waters. One of the most famous & majestic places to see are the awe-inspiring pinnacles of limestone mountains that seem to magically emerge from the sparkling jade & emerald coloured water of Phang-nga Bay like a mystical dragon. This island was also immortalized in the James Bond movie “Man with the Golden Gun” & “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason”
There are just so many beautiful places to see, these are a select few that are also stunning to visit. Tonsai Bay is where you’ll find one of the best beaches in Southeast Asia. It’s a lively place at night. It’s a great place for adventurers who love to rock climb & scale the spectacular cliffs that border the bay. The island of Ko Khai Nok is beautiful to kayak, swim & snorkel, its shallow shores are teeming with marine life. There are stunning beaches for sunbathing too.
Ko Lanta is a relaxed, quiet atmosphere. You can visit traditional villages & hike through the rainforest, or find local restaurants with fantastic Thai food. Ko Lanta is a magnet for divers, with beautiful marine life gliding silently through the clear waters. There is a tiny islet of Ko Po that has dramatic rock formations & gentle swaying palms.
Ko Muk is part of a group of islands offering a sheltered place to anchor, with gorgeous beaches & pristine sand. It’s fantastic to kayak through the spectacular Emerald Cave, serendipitously materializing on the other side is a secret lake complete with its own inland beach!
Ko Racha Yai is a favourite for fishing – if that is your thing – you can catch sailfish, mahi-mahi & giant trevally. For divers, Ko Racha Yai has a submerged sculpture park where you can see the awe-inspiring giant stone elephants & other incredible underwater art.
Maya Bay is the beautiful place where the movie ‘The Beach” was filmed, starring Leonardo di Caprio - it was chosen as its natural harbour creates a sense of seclusion to the rest of the world. The ominous mountains make an enclave around the beach creating the most breath-taking scenery.
Ko Panyi is a village built entirely on stilts by Malay fishermen. No one really seems to know how the concrete & wooden piles hold up this small settlement village, it’s an informal fascinating engineering feat! The village has a school, mosque, souvenir shops & restaurants all looking out to the Andaman Sea. It was also featured in “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason”
Similan & Surin Islands marine preserves are an archipelago of eleven islands that are internationally recognised to be one of the world’s top scuba diving sites. It’s an exceptional place to snorkel too! There are marine park fees you need to pay to enter, but well worth the visit. The water is a breathtaking, crystal-clear blue with pristine beaches, exquisite coral reefs & marine life.
In the south you’ll find the Phi Phi Islands known as the jewels of the Andaman Sea. This area is also known for its all-night parties; however, this is the advantage of having a yacht, you can escape this side of tourism. The region has so many beautiful beaches & coves to visit. You can hike up to see the island’s famous iconic view, from the top, you are rewarded with an amazing vista of the coast formation between the mountains.
Many of the resorts you find along the way have sumptuous spas & healing centres. When you arrive at a luxury spa in this tropical paradise you feel like you’ve arrived in an oasis of calm. There is an instant feeling of tranquillity created by ancient healing herbs & floral fragrant oils. The gentle healing hands of your practitioner make you feel like a pampered princess. The modern beauty treatments & ancient holistic remedies are often sourced from beautiful local gardens.
Enjoying the culture & local cuisine is a delightful aspect of a Phuket sailing holiday. You’ll experience authentic Thai cuisine from the street food vendors, beach bars, through to fine dining in resorts & restaurants – there is certainly so much variety to delight everyone & every budget. Thailand has 5 main regions of food with a rich heritage. In the south, the local traditional cuisine has origins from all ends of the exotic tropical seas including Malaysia, Indonesia & India. The food features fresh seafood, coconut, spices, herbs & vegetables, all skilfully put together for flavoursome feasts. It’s hot, spicy & totally delicious, but watch out some of this food is so fiery it will take you to the moon! If you are catering for yourself onboard, you may even consider hiring a cook for your charter, the Thai cooks will be able to make you the most wonderful meals onboard.
If you are considering experiencing this fantastic destination by yacht charter - I highly recommend Moorings & Sunsail. They have a gorgeous fleet of Yachts available to charter in Phuket, you can hire a skipper & cook too if you need. Charters typically include a fully equipped yacht including bed linen, towels & snorkelling equipment.
The Catamarans are built by renowned & award-winning boat builder, Robertson & Caine. When you step aboard you will discover spacious cabins with en-suite bathrooms, innovative features, a roomy saloon, fully equipped kitchen, spacious outdoor dining areas - the perfect platform for an unforgettable holiday - Available in 4 & 5 cabin yachts The Monohulls are built by Beneteau, a favourite for sailors as they work harmoniously with the elements, designed for comfort, precision & speed. Including an equipped kitchen, saloon, outdoor seating area, comfortable cabins & bathrooms - Available in 3 or 4 cabin yachts
Amazing Thailand is known as the Land of Smiles, there truly is something for everyone to enjoy. Sailing the beautiful, jewelled waters of the Andaman Sea, its natural beauty & warm hospitality of the people, make this a truly memorable holiday.