Thailand’s yacht-charter scene sets sail from the county’s largest island: Phuket. Pinch yourself – because the topaz waters in the surrounding Phang Nga Bay stay warm all year round. The best news? Thailand has over 1,400 other islands scattered across miles and miles of ocean – and only a handful are inhabited. The rest are the domain of macaque monkeys and Andaman parakeets. Make one of them your home from home as you sail around Thailand and its many islands.
See other coastal charms around the world by booking one of Culture Trip’s multi-day sailing adventures.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
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1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
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What to See and Do in Thailand
Coral Island – a short sail south of Phuket – does what it says on the tin. Anchor offshore beyond the reef for snorkels with nudibranchs and lionfish. Seeking solitude? Coral Island hosts just one rather fancy resort – after day-trippers return to Phuket, the island’s three beaches are all yours.
For the ultimate Treasure Island experience, anchor off the Similan Islands. The 11-island archipelago sits around 100km (62mi) northeast of Phuket and is protected within a national park. The islands are accessible from November until April, although sailing experience or a skipper is required to reach them. Scuba divers, bird watchers and beach bums will fall in love with the Similan Islands’ Caribbean allure. The action revolves around turtle snorkelling, cliff jumping and annoying the heck out of work friends on Instagram.
Shop for far-out souvenirs in the warm night air at Phuket Old Town’s Chillva Night Market. The bazaar’s vibe is boho bling where you’ll find street eats, handmade jewellery, fried insects, silk textiles and cold beer, flogged from repurposed shipping containers.
The Best Mooring Locations in Thailand
Royal Phuket Marina is by far the hottest yachting hub in Thailand. The harbour hosts restaurants, co-working spaces and regular regattas – plus scores of yachts from single-day explorers to 35m (114ft)-long superyachts. It’s little wonder the marina holds the prestigious 5 Gold Anchor Award from the Yacht Harbour Association. Need a mooring? Call VHF channel 79 or book one of the 100 berths online. As Phuket is the yacht-charter capital of Thailand, you’ll find dozens of tiny marinas, restaurant tie-up docks and yacht-friendly islets nearby – such as Ao Po Grand Marina, which leads directly onto the northern islands of Phang Nga Bay and the safe anchorage of Ao Chalong on Phuket’s southern tip.
Where to Eat and Drink in Thailand
Phuket sits at the cultural crossroads of Thailand. The island has welcomed Chinese, Malay, Portuguese and French influences – with each group imparting their recipes, too. Dishes are generally laden with seafood, pork and Thai spices. These include gaeng som, a sour tamarind curry with fish paste and o-aew, a thirst-quenching jelly dessert containing watermelon and shaved ice. Among the most polished addresses is seafood at the Trisara Resort. Expect a Michelin-rated medley of market-fresh amberjack paired with fresh greens from the restaurant’s organic garden – all elevated into time-honoured “Thai Mama” recipes. Rawai seafood market isn’t for the faint-hearted, however – point-and-order at thousands of bubbling aquarium tanks containing giant clams and tiger prawns. An adjoining restaurant will fry up your seafood purchase.
Where to Get Groceries in Thailand
Villa Market near Royal Phuket Marina is where yachties shop for at-sea essentials and cocktail treats. Every international bite – from Bertolli olive oil to Alpen muesli – is readily available from 9am to 9pm.
Key Annual Sailing Events in Thailand
The King’s Cup Regatta – which takes place in Phuket each December – is the most prestigious in all of South East Asia. Count on up to 100 big boats competing in a week of fast sailing around the southerly islands of Phuket. These include Koh Lon – a secluded beachy gem where swings dangle from coconut trees.
Climate and Weather in Thailand
Gentle tides, warm winds and a sandy seabed render Phuket as Thailand’s year-round cruising destination – where the dry season from November to April is best for novice sailors. Northeasterly winds promise dry spells and gentle breezes, although sunny days become scorching by April. More serious sailors select the wetter season from May to October. Southwesterly monsoons usher up to Force 6 winds, with rainy squalls followed by intense heat. That said, there’s always safe sailing in Phang Nga Bay down to the Phi Phi Islands.
How to Get to Thailand
Phuket airport is the intercontinental hub for the yacht charter scene in Thailand – with direct flights from Melbourne, Moscow, Manchester and Mumbai. The airport approach highlights the allure as jets descend over an aquamarine sea, then land just past the golden sands of Mai Khao Beach. Marina and yacht charter options are within an easy 20-30 minute drive away.
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.