What are the general characteristics of a sailing yacht charter in Thailand?
Thailand has a really easy accessibility with its many airports and daily international flights. The biggest airports in the main charter area are in Phuket and Krabi. You can also fly to smaller ones like on Phi Phi Island for example. Phuket International Airport features direct flights to Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Chiang Mai.
The amazingly crystal-clear waters and rich underwater flora and fauna make that area a diver´s dream. Yacht charterers will be rewarded with absolutely stunning scenery. From the boat you get the best view of the typical dramatic limestone cliffs jutting out vertically from the sea.
The Thai cuisine is second to none in the world. It is purely delicious and uses a myriad of tasty ingredients and fresh produce. Thailand is renowned for the friendliness of its people, too. And sightseeing is mind-blowing. There are gorgeous temples, Buddha statues, elephant sanctuaries and national parks / nature reserves to be explored. The nature and wildlife is lush with many rare species for you to admire.
Last not least the year-round tropical climate with no hurricanes or cyclones is perfect for motor or sailing yacht charter. There are numerous islands and long stretches of coastline with huge cruising grounds to choose from.
Some of the most important figures for a yacht charter in Thailand:
Length of coastline: 3,219 km
Population: ca. 68,000,000
Country code: +66
Climate: Tropical, moderated by monsoon winds
Main charter areas: Phuket Island, Phang Nga Bay, Krabi coastline and all islands in between
Tidal range: 1.5 – 2.5 m
What are the most popular charter destinations and cruising grounds in Thailand?
The main charter region is in the Andaman Sea, in the area off the southeast coast of Thailand. It includes the provinces of Phuket, Phang Nga and Krabi.
Phuket is the largest island and at the same time the richest province in Thailand. It has a land surface of 543 km². Phuket Yacht Haven, on the northeast coast of the island and only 10/15 minutes to the international airport is the perfect port of call or base to start your yacht charter vacation. It offers 300 moorings for yachts up to 30 m, many nautical services, a fully equipped modern gym, excellent restaurants, a massage parlour, great shopping facilities and much more.
Head to the Raya archipelago about 12 NM south of Phuket consisting of two islands. There are beautiful big bays with amazing long sandy beaches. It´s a true diver´s paradise and has rich fishing grounds and lovely hilly islands covered in rainforest.
Go to the Phi Phi Islands 28 NM southeast of Phuket. One of the two islands has served as a backdrop for the successful film “The Beach” because of its stunning lagoons and cliffs. There are great anchorages, lovely beach bars, plenty of restaurants as well as hotels and newly built resorts.
Check out Koh Rok Nok 49 NM south of Phuket. It is a national park consisting of 2 islands separated by a narrow channel that is well suited for anchoring, diving, snorkeling and kayaking.
A great cruising ground is Tarutao National Park with a surface of 1,490 km² and 51 islands at the southwesternmost tip of Thailand at the border to Malaysia. It is most recommendable to go from November to April during the dry season. There you encounter dramatic limestone or granite cliffs, rain and mangrove forests, beautiful lookouts and impressive waterfalls.
At the southernmost tip of Thailand, about 20 NM west of the north-western Malaysian coast you find Langkawi, an archipelago with 104 incredibly beautiful islands, only two of which are inhabited. The main island, Langkawi, is duty free and offers very good infrastructure and entertainment for tourists. It was given World Geopark status by the UNESCO. Enjoy the stunning scenery with rainforests, rivers, freshwater lakes, lagoons, caves etc.
Cruising along the Krabi coastline is most recommendable during the northeast monsoon season as anchorages are protected then. Admire the fantastic scenery boasting sheer limestone cliffs covered with lush green rainforest – an extension of the mountains in Phang Nga Bay – looming over pristine beaches. There´s the Railay peninsula for instance with Phra Nang Beach which is located in one of the most beautiful bays in the world. You can find moorings in the centre of the bay or anchor further offshore at a depth of 4 – 5 m on sand. There is a coral reef that is great for snorkeling. You can rent bungalows for the day at a cheap rate. With many caves to explore it is also a climber´s paradise.
Explore the scenic Phang Nga Bay northeast of Phuket with over 100 islands. It is very sheltered due to its geography, which makes for good year-round cruising. There are some more spectacular vertically rising cliffs up to 250 m height with fissured rocks in which kayaking is possible around many caves and grottoes. Cruising around the numerous protected inlets and channels is a delight.
In the dry season visit the Similan Islands in the Andaman Sea 55 NM northwest of Phuket. They are closed for access during the time of the southwest monsoon. It is an archipelago of 9 islands including the Mu Ko Similan National Park with wonderfully clear aquamarine water and white sandy beaches. Diving there is wonderful, you can observe manta rays and a myriad of other fish. Stay overnight to enjoy the place with as little people as possible.
What are the prevailing weather systems relevant for your bareboat charter in Thailand?
The southern and coastal areas of Thailand have tropical temperatures up to 40° moderated by sea breezes in the afternoon. It is distinguished between two main seasons:
November to April is the dry or northeast monsoon season with fine weather. January and December are the coolest months. January, February and March are the driest months and April is the best month for swimming with a sea temperature of 30° on average.
May to October is the rainy or “green” season at the time of the southwest monsoon. It has a mix of rain and clear skies and the temperatures are never below 25°. The winds are reliable with 12 knots on average. September and October have the heaviest rain periods with sometimes up to 5 days nonstop.
Thailand is close to the equator and has daylight from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. throughout the year. It lies outside of the cyclone belt of the Pacific and the Indian Ocean.
Brief summary of the weather for a bareboat charter in Thailand:
Month with the highest average temperature: March, 29º
Month with the lowest average temperature: January, 27º
Month with the highest average precipitation: September, 400 mm
Month with the lowest average precipitation: February, 30 mm
Strongest wind speed: Southwest monsoon, 12 knots on average
Humidity: 82% on average
Average of daily sunshine hours: 7 – 9 throughout the year
Main season: European / North American winter, November – April
How much does a yacht charter cost in Thailand and what types of charters are there?
Prices for small sailboats start from around 2,000 € a week. They go up according to type, size and equipment of the vessel. You can opt for powerboat rental or sailboat / catamaran charter respectively decide for bareboat, skippered or crewed boat hire. Day charter with speedboats or other power boats is available as an option, too. Fishing day charter trips are quite popular as well.
What is there to do apart from sailing on your boat rental in Thailand?
Attend the Phuket race week in July on the island´s east coast. It is an international sailing regatta for a wide range of yachts and there are many lively parties taking place during the course of it.
Phuket King´s Cup Regatta in the first week of December is Asia´s most prestigious regatta and a big social event that attracts sailors from all over the world
During the Bay Regatta boats race through all three provinces of Phuket, Phang Nga and Krabi and thus through some of the most gorgeous maritime scenery on the whole planet. It is known as “the fun race” due to its casual character and is popular with serious as well as not so serious racers. It goes over four days and the sailors reach a different anchorage near a beach every day. Most crews sleep on board and many like to charter a sailboat for the occasion.
Phuket International Boat Show in late March is also great for yacht aficionados and is said to be the Asian equivalent of the Monaco boat show.
Visit Koh Panyi in the Phang Nga Bay, an entire fishing village of 1,700 people built on stilts about 20 NM north of Phuket. It is one of the main tourist attractions in the area and was built by Malay fishermen in the 18th century. Also in Phang Nga Bay is Khao Phing Kan, otherwise known as the “James Bond Island” with its characteristic 20 m high vertical islet that has served as a backdrop in 2 James Bond films.
Try out elephant and jungle trekking through the lush landscape. There are many safari tours on offer as well as sea canoe trips, some including an overnight / camping option. Do white-water rafting, for example on the Khlong Song Phreak stream in the Ton Pariwat Wildlife Sanctuary in the vicinity of Phang Nga Town. Go climbing on the sheer limestone cliffs and around the many caves on Railay Peninsula in Krabi.
Enjoy the nightlife and the huzzle and buzzle in Patong Beach or Phuket town. There are many beach clubs too. Eat the delicious Asian street food – you get great value for very little money. Shopping is brilliant and very varied in the malls and markets. There is a huge infrastructure for diving tourism with many dive schools and centres. Go sightseeing and check out the sino-portuguese architecture. Or visit the 45 m high Big Buddha, a white jade marble statue on a 400 m elevated hill with stunning views over Phuket. Admire the largest and most famous Buddhist temple in Phuket, Wat Chalong.
Families can try out one of the many amusement parks like the Fantasea in Phuket for example. Furthermore, there are cabaret shows, cinemas, and zoos. You could take a Thai cooking class and learn to cook like a local. Alternatively, have yourself properly pampered in a spa by the amazingly friendly and gifted locals.
So you see, there is really no shortage of fun things to do on a yacht charter in Thailand. We wish you a wonderful sailing holiday and a great cruise!