Cruising Destination of the Month- Thailand
Nestled in the heart of Southeast Asia, Thailand offers a unique cruising destination for those wishing to find culture, treasured heritage, secluded beaches, uninhabited pristine islands, incredible food, a perfect superyacht climate and some of the friendliest people in the world! The cruising grounds off the east coast of the island of Phuket are among the finest anywhere. Gordon Fernandes, heading up Asia Pacific Superyachts Phuket & Myanmar, reports that vessels are finding a rapidly developing world class hub for superyachts with the number of luxury yachts, upscale marinas and facilities increasing almost daily.
CharterWorld’s Director of Charter, Nicolas Benazeth explains, “Thailand was the first country in Asia to attract the superyacht community and has established itself as a hub of yachting ever since – both for owners and charter clients. It is blessed with some of the most beautiful coastlines anywhere in the world and a multitude of islands ideal for cruising. It is however the clever development of its infrastructure and active efforts that make it an attractive superyacht destination. Thailand is also ideally placed for superyachts coming across the Indian Ocean either from Europe and the Gulf, or from other cruising destinations such as the Maldives. Each year more and more yachts come to Thailand during the northern hemisphere’s winter months of November to April, either because of their owners being interested in taking their yachts further afield or charterers looking for winter sun and a more exotic experience.”
Nick further explains: “We are also seeing Thailand being used increasingly as a base for trips elsewhere with cruising itineraries combining Thai waters with other destinations, not least Myanmar and its increasingly popular Mergui archipelago. For true adventure exploration, some yachts are also venturing into the Andaman and Nicobar islands, both a part of India, but more easily reached from Thailand.”
Recognised worldwide as a major destination for superyachts visiting the Indian Ocean, Phuket is used as a base for the yachting season and a springboard to these unique waterways. Captain Timothy J Forderer of SY Vivid, supported by Gordon and his Phuket based team for over seven years, noted, “We completed two circumnavigations focusing on ‘off the beaten path’ destinations. We greatly enjoyed the voyage through Thailand, the Andaman Islands and Myanmar using the superyacht marina in Phuket as a base when in the area”.
Phuket offers incredible scenic adventures through the island’s vastly unexplored waters and timeless beauty. Dubbed the ‘Monaco of South East Asia’, there are many cruising options to nearby secluded bays while offering a luxury lifestyle and well equipped marinas which serve as the ‘Gateway to Myanmar’.
Steeped in an exotic culture Phuket offers some extraordinary cruising options to the islands of Krabi, Phi Phi Ley (made famous after filming of ‘The Beach’) and the Similan Islands. The Captain of S/Y Red Dragon recently wrote: “The diving has been great and the highlight was seeing a whale shark close up while diving at Richelieu Rock. The owners will never forget that amazing experience”.
“Phuket also stands out as the prime area for charter yachts to base themselves out of, primarily for its connections and availability of support infrastructure and luxury amenities. The Andaman Sea offers yachts endless possibilities and yachts can provide a wide variety of charter itineraries to their guests from here. First time visitors need not to travel very far to get an incredible variety of beautiful beaches, natural beauty and exotic culture when cruising around the area and into Phang Nga Bay, while taking in some of the many islands such as Phi Phi, Koh Lanta or Koh Racha. More adventurous ones can push further south to less visited islands such as Koh Lipe (originally settled by sea gypsies) and Tarutao national park, with the option to go into Malaysia and visit Langkawi”, adds Nick Benazeth.
A remarkable place to sail and explore by yacht because of its extensive tropical coastlines, exotic destinations, amazing beaches and wide variety of marine life, Thailand’s western Andaman Sea and Samui’s eastern gulf seas allows yachts to explore and access pockets of unexplored territories.
No mention of Thailand is complete without scuba diving, with some of the best dive sites in the world peppered around both the Andaman sea and Gulf of Thailand. Many charter yachts either cater specifically for scuba divers amongst their guests whilst or build a whole itinerary based solely around diving. One of the major attractions for divers is the flexibility of a superyacht to access more remote sites or visit the best spots when they are least busy, such as in the Similan islands.
On the eastern side of the Thai mainland, the Gulf of Thailand includes the sailing regions of beautiful and remote Koh Samui and Koh Chang, along with famed dive island, Koh Tao. Captain Charlie Dwyer of Asia Pacific Superyachts Koh Samui, adds, “When in Koh Samui don’t miss Mu Koh Angthong National Park, comprising some 40 uninhabited islands northwest of Koh Samui”, adding, “The area covers 250 square Km of major park islands and towering, verdant rock masses encircled by clear seas that include Mae Koh, with a beautiful beach and emerald saltwater lake called Thale Nai”.
Thailand has 3,219 Km of coastline which stretches along the Andaman Sea to the west and the Gulf of Thailand to the east. The country stands out for many superyacht owners and charter guests as a perfect compromise between what makes yachting attractive – a great natural environment, safe and easy travel and the availability of luxury accommodation and amenities ashore. All this supplemented by friendly people, fascinating culture and last but in no way least, some of the best cuisine in the world…and now is the right time to explore as the government is making great efforts to encourage superyachts to visit exotic Thailand.
For more information about cruising options and services in Thailand please contact APSA members: