Thailand is undoubtedly one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Historical buildings, magnificent temples, exciting nightlife, bustling local markets, outstanding culinary delights and high-end luxury hotels make the country a must-visit for travellers around the world.
But nothing perhaps matches the beauty of Thai islands, owing to the attractive beach destinations, which are offered by these.
For instance Phuket, which is one of the top sailing destinations in South East Asia. The island can be easily reached from neighbouring countries such as Malaysia and Singapore by a private yacht charter.
Nearby natural marvels such as Phang Nga Bay, famous for the James Bond island, Similan Islands and Krabi’s Koh Lanta and Koh Hong islands can also be reached from Phuket or anywhere else in the region.
However, there are numerous other places — both in Thailand and a little further in neighbouring countries such as India and Indonesia — where the sun, sand and sea are sure to make you leave the place with memories for lifetime.
Which is the best yacht charter to book in Thailand?
Being a major beach destination, many companies are there who offer charter yachts in Thailand for customers who are willing to pay for it.
Blue Voyage, a Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) guaranteed yacht charter service, has a series of vessels that can take friends and families on a trip to Phuket, Pattaya, Koh Samui and Krabi. Their fleet includes both catamaran sailing yachts and motor yachts, including the impressive superyacht M/Y For Your Eyes Only, which can be booked for sailing in Phuket.
Several types of superyachts and catamarans can be booked via Boat Bookings. The vessels such as Ocean Emerald, Lonestar and Lady Azul not only cover destinations along the coast of Thailand but also in neighbouring countries.
The Redang archipelago is located towards the east of Peninsular Malaysia, in the waters of South China Sea, off the coast of Terengganu state.
There are nine islands which make up Redang and all of these can easily be explored with a yacht charter in Thailand.
Redang is particularly famous for its numerous luxury resorts, such as Redang Island Resort and Laguna Redang Island Resort among others. The beaches are clean and the water is crystal clear.
Snorkelling and diving amid the corals is a must-do for anyone at Redang. But the depths of the islands are mostly impassable, which is why the adventurous few might not find much to do on the land.
The beauty of Redang has been captured in movies, such as the hit Hong Kong film Summer Holiday (2000).
The Anambas cluster of 255 islands is part of the northernmost section of Indonesia’s Riau archipelago. Only 26 of these islands are inhabited, making the region one of the most untouched parts of South East Asia. The largest of the islands are Siantan, Palmatak and Jemaja.
Lagoons and white sandy beaches are the highlights of most of the islands in the cluster. Two of the famous ones are Pulau Rongkat and Pulau Bawah, the latter of which is itself a micro-cluster within Anambas.
Pulau Bawah is incredibly beautiful. The islands that form its cluster appear interconnected by sandbars and reefs when the tide is low, forming a barrier between the sea and the azure waters inland.
For those with private yachts, there are hidden places in the Anambas such as Selat Rangsang Beach. The sandy heaven is guarded by four smaller islands and its seclusion is perfect for private moments with family or a special someone.
A shipwreck spot, of the vessel Igara, is also located near the Anambas islands. Corals and gentle whale sharks can be seen in the waters near the shipwreck site.
The Anambas cluster is so far from the mainlands of any of the neighbouring countries that it is perhaps one of the best places to experience both sunrise and sunset at their finest.
Ancient mangroves, hills covered in dense forests, white sandy beaches and turquoise blue waters welcome visitors to Langkawi archipelago — one of the finest sailing destinations in South East Asia.
The top Malaysian tourist destination is geographically on the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia and to the southwest of Thailand’s Satun province. It is surrounded by the Strait of Malacca, whose waters support the coral reefs and the abundant marine life of the archipelago.
A total of 99 islands form the Langkawi archipelago, whose name comes from the main island of the chain. The archipelago is ecologically significant. Being a biodiversity hotspot, it is recognised as a UNESCO Global Geopark.
Beautiful waterfalls are hidden among the dense forests of the hills, which can be easily explored by hikers. The highest peak of the archipelago, Gunung Raya, is located on the main island.
The Langkawi Sky Bridge, one of the most famous man-made attractions of the archipelago, is located on the hill named Gunung Mat Cincang, which is also on the main island. The view of the sea and the forest canopy over the island from the bridge, is an experience to behold.
The Langkawi archipelago can be very easily accessed from Phuket by a yacht charter in Thailand. While sailing in Phuket is itself an unforgettable experience, eager sun, sand and sea lovers can make a quick getaway to Langkawi for more days of adventure and leisure.
As for stay, there is no dearth of high-end luxury hotels in Langkawi including the likes of Four Seasons Resort Langkawi and Ritz-Carlton Langkawi.
Located off the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, Tioman Island is a one of the most famous yachting destinations in South East Asia which can easily be accessed from Bangkok.
Tioman’s most famous landmark is the Dragon Horns — twin monoliths rising 700 metres over a village on the island. Rock climbers from around Malaysia come to the island especially to scale Dragon Horns.
The hilly island is itself covered with a dense forest canopy, hidden within which are waterfalls like the Asah falls. Trekking through the forests is the best way to see the falls as well as the endemic species, which call the island their home.
Of course, there are many beaches on the island for relaxation.
Corals thrive in the waters surrounding the island. A dive right from the yacht deck into the waters is a great way to see the amazing aquatic wonderland.
It is noteworthy that Tioman is gazetted as a marine park. The island has many turtle conservation projects, which are open to visitors and are an excellent place to learn about environment protection.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands
No sailing guide in South Asia can be called complete if it doesn’t mention Andaman and Nicobar, a set of Indian island groups. They can be easily accessed from Phuket with a yacht charter in Thailand. The Bay of Bengal is to the west of the islands, while the Andaman Sea is to its east. As such, the magnificent archipelago is also one of the top sailing destinations in South East Asia.
Andaman and Nicobar islands are among the world’s most ecologically, culturally, historically significant places.
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Island (formerly named Ross Island) and the Cellular Jail in Port Blair, the capital city of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, are among the places connected to India’s struggle for freedom from British rule.
Radhanagar Beach, which is located on Swaraj Island (formerly Havelock Island) to the northeast of Port Blair, is one of India’s 10 Blue Flag beaches and the only one in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Also located on Swaraj Island is Elephant Beach, where one can literally see elephants walking on the sand.
There is no dearth of snorkelling, scuba diving or other water sport locations around Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Butler Bay in Little Andaman is known as one of India’s best surfing spots. One of the most exciting things to do in Andaman and Nicobar Islands is to participate in game fishing, which is basically catching some of the world’s most famous fish such as Giant Trevally, coral trout, big Spanish mackerel, dogtooth tuna and yellowfin tuna among others.
While corals thrive in the waters, the lands swarm with rare wildlife species. The archipelago is home to around 270 species and subspecies of birds, of which 106 are endemic, such as the Andaman Wood Pigeon. The rich flora and fauna can be best experienced at the multiple national parks and sanctuaries of the islands, notable of which are Mount Harriet National Park, Campbell Bay National Park and North Button Island National Park.
There are trekking trails through the Andaman forest and hikers can also go up to the Saddle peak — the highest peak on Andaman at 732 metres. Trekking trails also exist on Swaraj Island.
And, when having the pleasure of a private yacht, one of the finest experiences would be to head for the uninhabited Barren Island. The remote island is home to South Asia’s only active volcano. The area is undisturbed and its crystal clear waters are perfect for scuba diving with manta rays.
Koh Samui is located on the eastern coast of Southern Thailand in the Gulf of Thailand. It is the third largest island of the country and is part of an archipelago of over 80 islands.
The island of Koh Samui offers multiple luxury and adventure opportunities. A bike trip around the island is a fantastic way to see the various places. But there are numerous beaches and water sports activities that need more than a day’s stay for proper experience. As for stay, there are many luxury resorts including Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui, Hyatt Regency Koh Samui and Six Senses Samui among others.
Everything from scuba diving to golfing can be done on Koh Samui with a yacht charter in Thailand. And when on the island, try learning a few moves of Muay Thai — the ancient martial arts of the country.
The island is the ideal springboard for a trip to the Mu Ko Ang Thong National Marine Park, which is spread across 42 islands in the region and is located to the west of Koh Samui.
The waters around the islands of the park are perfect for those who love kayaking. There are lagoons, corals, natural rock formations such as the stone bridge jutting out into the sea from the island of Ko Samsao. The longest beach in the national park is on Ko Hin Dub, while the island of Ko Mae Koh has a natural formation which looks like a rock castle.
Ang Thong National Marine Park is a Ramsar Site, which means it is of immense ecological significance. The place is home to several rare and vulnerable animal species on land and water, including plain-pouched hornbill, Pacific bottlenose dolphin, green turtle, Bryde’s whale and finless porpoise.
Near Koh Samui is the island of Koh Pha-Ngan. Once known only as a destination for raucous backpackers, the island is now increasingly being visited by travellers who love extravagance.
There are excellent resorts such as the Anantara Rasananda, complete with all facilities fit to satiate the epicurean pleasures. Eateries on the island offer the best in Thai and international cuisine. Explorers can head for the Than Sadet National Park on the island, which has beautiful waterfalls and an amazing beach.
But its most significant attraction, for close to four decades, continues to be the Full Moon Party — a major reason why it is one of the most famous sailing destinations in Thailand.
Time Out describes it as South East Asia’s “biggest and wildest party.” The all-night monthly beach party is held at the Haad Rin beach of the island and draws revellers from around the world to Koh Pha-Ngan.
Music is played all night long as revellers dance and drink. Shops along the beach sell drinks in buckets. Fire skipping and performances by fire dancers are also part of the event.
Sandy beaches, coral reefs and a rich marine life welcome visitors to the Côn Đảo group of islands. But one of the reasons why the people of Vietnam hold the archipelago in high esteem, is because of its connection to the country’s Colonial past. The prison system in which revolutionaries were kept on the island is a Government recognised national historical site.
Located off the South East coast of Vietnam, the Côn Đảo archipelago has 16 islands including the main island of Côn Sơn. Except for the main island, all others are uninhabited. And so, there are ample opportunities and sites in the archipelago where visitors can experience the bountiful nature of the archipelago in near or complete seclusion.
Private yacht charters can easily reach isolated beaches scattered across the archipelago. They offer a kind of peace rarely matched by any other. The waters are calm and very clear — perfect for snorkelling or scuba diving.
The Côn Đảo National Park is a Ramsar Site and stretches across the archipelago. Its diverse and abundant biodiversity houses rare animals such as dugong, green turtle, leatherback turtle and hawksbill turtle. There are 355 coral species of which 56 are vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.
The Côn Sơn island offers numerous ways for adventure and relaxation. The beaches are clean and the quaint Colonial-era towns are Instagram perfect. The view of the sea from the colonial-era Bảy Cạnh Lighthouse, which can be reached via a trail through the forests covering the island, is simply stunning.
And for those who love to enjoy the best of luxury, a stay at Six Senses Con Dao might be the best thing to do.
Located in the Gulf of Thailand off the coast of Cambodia, the Vietnamese island is renowned for its white sandy beaches and luxury resorts. Much of Phú Quốc island is covered in jungles, making it seem like an untouched wonderland.
Visitors from around the world therefore flock to this yachting destination in South East Asia because of being drawn to its beauty and seclusion.
Phú Quốc National Park, set within the UNESCO recognised Kien Giang Biosphere Reserve, covers over half of the island. There are mountains as high as 603 metres and hiking trails along them, running underneath dense forest covers. A wide range of rare marine species can also be found in the waters.
The beaches — 20 of them on the island — are exquisitely beautiful. There is Khem Beach overlooking the Emerald Bay and the Sao Beach, which is called the ‘crown jewel’ of Phú Quốc.
Phú Quốc is also internationally renowned for the locally produced high-quality fish sauce. It is the first Vietnamese product to be given the European Union’s Protected Designation of Origin Status and the factories manufacturing it on the island can be visited by tourists.
Like Côn Sơn, the island of Phú Quốc has a former prison site. It is now re-purposed as a museum and memorial.
Serving the island’s international visitors are luxurious hotels and resorts such as JW Marriott Emerald Bay Resort & Spa, which is located near the Khem Beach. The resort’s 50-metre-long infinity pool is one of the longest in a presidential suite in Asia.
Bà Lụa Islands
Located closer to the mainland, the Bà Lụa Islands are known as the ‘Little Ha Long Bay of the South’ in Vietnam. The archipelago is made up of 45 big and small islands of which 10 are inhabited.
The islands were formed by limestone mountains over millions of years. The waters around the islands are so clear, one can see fishes swimming in them from the yacht itself.
Exploring canyons and caves are among the numerous things to do at the naturally gifted Bà Lụa. One of them, Tien Cave, stands 150 metres high and is a major tourist attraction for those who love exploring caves.
Ba Hòn Đầm is a group of three islands of the archipelago known for its shallow waters. Visitors can float or cross the sea between the islands by walking. Heading for the island group in a yacht can itself become unforgettable once dolphins join the journey, which they often do.
(Hero image: Max Böttinger/@maxboettinger/Unsplash; Featured image: Max Böttinger/@maxboettinger/Unsplash)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Answer: The cost of a yacht charter in Thailand depends on the destination, number of passengers and yacht type among other factors. For instance, booking the superyacht Ocean Emerald can cost around USD 100,000 for a week.
Answer: Booking a yacht charter for a sailing trip is easy. But enquiries should be made at genuine companies offering vessels on rent, whether in-person or online.
Answer: The world-class island and beach destination of Phuket has its own international airport. But renting a boat or sailing in a private yacht is the only way to explore most of the islands of Thailand.
Answer: Luxury yacht services have all necessary arrangements for passenger safety and comfort. Yet there is nothing better than enquiring about the facilities and security aspects of the vessel, such as age and crew information, which is intended for charter.
Answer: All necessary personal items such as passport, side-luggage, grab bags, sunscreen, sunglasses, prescription medicines and a first aid kit must be taken on a sailing trip. It is also best to take hats, extra clothes and rain-resistant clothing. Hand-held GPS devices should also be taken. To pass the time with friends on the vessel, board games, cards or books can be packed. Cameras and binoculars are a must to capture memories and get the best view of everything around.
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