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Trip Yacht Charter in Thailand Yacht Charter in Thailand 12/07/2007 - 12/17/2007   In December 2007, we chartered a Bavaria 39 yacht from Phuket in Thailand for a... Julian Summers (AU) Angela Summers (AU)
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Yacht Charter in Thailand

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In December 2007, we chartered a Bavaria 39 yacht from Phuket in Thailand for a 10-day adventure around nearby islands with good friends Val and Ed.

We planned the trip using the Andaman Sea Pilot 2007/2008 Edition (http://www.andamanseapilot.com/). You'll see page references to the Pilot in this blog.

Julian & Angela

Means of Transport
Boat Plane
  • 06Dec 2007

    1 Leaving Home 12/06/2007 Australia —

    Perth, Australia

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  • 06Dec 2007

    2 Phuket 12/06/2007 Thailand —

    Si Sunthon, Thailand

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  • 07Dec 2007

    3 Day 0 - Starting Point at Yacht Haven Marina 12/07/2007 Thailand —

    Mai Khao, Thailand

    Description

    We went by mini-van out to Yacht Haven Marina, in the NE corner of Phuket, which is the base of the yacht charter company.

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  • 07Dec 2007

    4 Day 1 - Yacht Haven to Koh Phanak 12/07/2007 Thailand —

    Krasom, Thailand

    Description

    We had chartered a Bavaria 39 from Elite Yachting, who are based at the Yacht Haven at the north end of Phuket Island. They provided a taxi-van driver at a very reasonable rate to collect us from our hotels and go to the Tesco Lotus supermarket for supplies. We stocked up with a few days supplies of food and beer but not much wine - it was too expensive! A couple of hours later we arrived at Yacht Haven and offloaded everything onto our home for the next 10 days.

    We had a fairly perfunctory briefing on the boat's features then eased out of the marina - a tight fit!

    Our first stop was at Koh Phanak (Phanak Island), a reasonably short 14 miles away (B on p44 of the Pilot). We had a late lunch on the way, including gin and tonic(ola).

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  • 08Dec 2007

    5 Day 2 - Koh Phanak to Koh Dam Khwan 12/08/2007 Thailand —

    Thailand

    Description

    Our route for the today took us around the top of Phang Na Bay in a clockwise direction, ending up around 30 miles away at Koh Dam Khwan. As we were about to leave our overnight anchorage, we were approached by two fisherman in a longtail boat with their fresh catch of prawns. We bartered with them and managed to buy some super-fresh prawns despite our lack of Thai and their lack of English.

    These longtail boats are amazing - wooden structures with a car or truck engine on the back driving a long shaft with a deadly-looking propellor. They are usually not silenced, so the roar is deafening.

    We had a fantastic day's sail, with (mostly) clear blue skies and a good breeze of around 15 knots. We enjoyed freshly-cooked prawns for lunch.

    At Koh Dam Khwan we headed for our intended anchorage (C on p63 of the Pilot) but found it to be exposed to the wind and a little crowded with other yachts and longtails. We decided to explore a bit further and motored around the island to a bay on the SW side. There were a couple of small power boats there when we arrived but they soon left. We had a lovely sheltered bay all to ourselves. We spent a while snorkelling around the coral near the shore and went for a walk alomg the beach before dinner. A lovely spot!

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  • 09Dec 2007

    6 Day 3 - Koh Dam Khwan to Koh Phi Phi Don 12/09/2007 Thailand —

    Ao Nang, Thailand

    Description

    Leaving Koh Dam Khwan, we were chased by another longtail boat, wanting to sell us some of their catch of squid, but we weren't interested. We had a fairly easy day's travel past some more spectacular scenery.

    We intended to anchor in Yongkasem Bay on Phi Phi Don (p66 of the Pilot) but found it too full, so went next door to Lohdalum Bay instead.

    It was not much of an anchorage either, so we motored around the island to Ton Sai Bay on the south side. Unfortunately this was even busier and more crowded, so we returned to Lohdalum Bay.

    We had some difficulty finding an anchorage away from the coral but eventually got settled. We had a very long dinghy trip to the shore but enjoyed our walk around the shopping alleys. The island is supposed to be "one of the three most beautiful islands in the world" but it didn't seem all that special to us. There was still some obvious damage from the tsunami but a lot of repairs and rebuilding underway.

    The island has a good market and we took the opportunity to stock up on some supplies.

    When we returned to the beach, we found that the tide had gone out and there was a huge distance to drag the dinghy back to deep enough water to leave.

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  • 10Dec 2007

    7 Day 4 - Koh Phi Phi Don to Koh Lanta 12/10/2007 Thailand —

    Thailand

    Description

    A pleasant day's motor-sail took us from Koh Phi Phi Don to Koh Lanta. There are a number of anchorages along the coast and we chose Hat Kan Tiang, towards the southern end of the island. It is a beautiful area, with rugged coastline interspersed with modern tourist resorts.

    The wind was swinging from east to south as it flowed over the hills, which caused some problems as we tried to anchor among the other yachts. Third time lucky, we settled in then enjoyed a swim in the lovely clear anchorage.

    The resort onshore has an interesting floating jetty, of which we made good use to go ashore for a look around the village. We were able to buy some more food supplies and obtain some water from the resort (given somewhat reluctantly).

    Later that evening we returned to shore for a delightful dinner at a restaurant right on the beach. It was a bit exciting launching the dinghy after dark to return to the yacht but fortunately all went smoothly.

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  • 11Dec 2007

    8 Day 5 - Day Trip to Talat Lanta 12/11/2007 Thailand —

    Thailand

    Description

    We decided to motor around Koh Lanta to the east coast and visit Talat Lanta, the original settlement before tourism became established on the west coast. It was a hot, sunny day with little wind (hence the need for motoring).

    Kalat Lanta is still a sizeable town, and we enjoyed wandering around the shops before going to a waterfront restaurant for lunch.

    Out of the blue (literally!), the wind built up, the skies clouded over, and a torrential downpour started. We had stupidly gone ashore in the dinghy leaving the yacht wide open. Ed & I rushed back to the dinghy, getting soaked to the skin, and gingerly motored out through the steep chop which had built up very quickly. We closed up the yacht's hatches and sponged down all the wet interior. A number of the bunk cushions had got wet, so we had to mix-and-match to make up bedding for the night.

    Back on shore, we finished our lunch then continued our exploration of the town as the skies cleared and only the hill-tops had a fringe of cloud.

    Fortunately, the boat dried out quickly in the hot weather and no damage had been done to things like mobile phones which came close to being drowned!

    We motored back to Hat Kan Tiang for a peaceful but damp night's sleep!

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  • 12Dec 2007

    9 Day 6 - Koh Lanta to Koh Muk West 12/12/2007 Thailand —

    Ko Libong, Thailand

    Description

    Leaving Koh Lanta, we had a fairly long motor-sail south to Koh Muk West, passing some interesting muffin-shaped islands on the way. Koh Muk West is a sheltered anchorage between steep cliffs bordering a sandy beach over which flows a freshwater stream. There were a few longtail boats fishing around the cliff edges when we arrived but they soon left, so we had the place to ourselves.

    We took the dinghy around the corner to the entrance to Emerald Cave, which is a completely enclosed circular, cathedral-like hong (open-topped cave), with a diameter of 60 metres. Entrance to the cave is through an 80-metre pitch dark passageway. Unfortunately the yacht was equipped with a spare torch battery but no torch, so we had to grope our way in through the gloom, which gradually descended into pitch black. Angela couldn't cope with the dark, so we took her back out and left her perched mermaid-like on a rock outside the entrance. The rest of us returned to the dark passageway and found our way through to the centre. It was a striking sight, a lovely sandy beach at the base of steep green-clad cliffs.

    After a few wrong turns we found our way back out and picked up our mermaid to return to the yacht.

    I think we anchored a bit far off the beach, because we were caught in a small swell overnight which disturbed our sleep.

    We went ashore to explore next morning and found a rubber tree plantation and a coconut plantation just above the beach.

    A couple of longtail boats arrived with a family of "sea gypsies", who used the freshwater stream to bathe, do their washing, and re-fill their water barrels. As they left, the fishing longtail boats roared around the corner, so it was time for us to move on.

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  • 13Dec 2007

    10 Day 7 - Koh Muk West to Koh Kradan & Koh Muk East 12/13/2007 Thailand —

    Ko Libong, Thailand

    Description

    We had intended to sail a fair way south to an island with the best coral in the area. However, the wind was from the south-west (even though this was supposed to be the north-east monsoon season!) which meant we would be heading into the wind and also our intended anchorage would be quite rough. So, we decided to make a short trip south to Koh Kradan, then return to Koh Muk but go to the resort at Koh Muk East.

    It was another lovely sunny day and we enjoyed a brisk sail to Koh Kradan. We sailed down the east side of the island and looked at the small resort as we went past. As we turned the corner at the southern end, we came across dozens of fishing boats moored for the day (since they had been out fishing all night).

    We stopped at the recommended anchorage half-way up the west coast, anchoring near some other yachts that were obviously long-distance cruisers. We spent some time on the lovely sandy beach, then walked across the island to the resort we'd sailed past before.

    Later that afternoon we completed our circumnavigation of Koh Kradan and returned to Koh Muk, this time going to the resort at Koh Muk East. We went ashore in the dinghy to look around and re-stocked on some essential supplies - beer!

    There were a number of restaurants on the beach front and in the village behind the resort and we returned that evening for a lovely meal at a Thai restaurant perched on the hill.

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  • 14Dec 2007

    11 Day 8 - Koh Muk East to Koh Lanta 12/14/2007 Thailand —

    Tambon Ko Lanta Yai, Thailand

    Description

    We decided to return to Koh Lanta, and in particular to Hat Kan Tiang where we had stayed previously. We needed to get some more food and we knew there were good supplies there. When we went ashore, the beach-side bar was putting up decorations for a full-moon party that night. When we asked about it, they said it would be quiet Thai music - that proved to be not quite the case!

    We went to one of the resorts on the beach and booked an excursion the next day - an elephant ride and walk through the jungle. We also decided to eat at their restaurant that night. We made the mistake of asking the staff what they would recommend from the extensive menu. As a result, we were served some Westernised Thai food which was OK but nowhere near as nice as we'd had elsewhere.

    We returned to the boat as the party started; it was a bit loud, but not too bad. Unfortunately, it got louder during the evening and kept going on and on, finally finishing at about 3:00am!!

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  • 15Dec 2007

    12 Day 9 - Koh Lanta Elephants then Koh Phi Phi Le 12/15/2007 Thailand —

    Ao Nang, Thailand

    Description

    Early in the morning - despite our disturbed sleep - we were back at the resort to be picked up for our excursion. We were driven to near the southern tip of the island, where there was a small tourist centre from which the elephant rides departed. We had been concerned that the elephants might be badly treated but these ones seemed to be in good condition and well cared for.

    After a delay while the seats were lashed on to the elephants' backs, we were on our way. It felt quite precarious, with nothing to stop us from falling forwards. We moved slowly (well, probably at full speed for an elephant!) through the jungle for about an hour. There were a couple of nervous spots where the elephants stepped carefully down steep creek banks and we hung on grimly so as not to fall off, but otherwise it was a very enjoyable ride.

    We got off at a hut/cafe in the jungle, where we were given a much-needed bottle of water. We then headed off for a walk through the jungle along a stream, eventually arriving at a waterfall. We quite enjoyed the walk, but felt that it didn't add much after the elephant ride through the jungle.

    We returned to the hut past some caves with large numbers of bats suspended from the ceiling. We then re-boarded our elephants and returned to the starting point.

    It ended up being a much longer trip than we'd anticipated, so definitely good value.

    That afternoon we began our trip north, heading towards home. We visited Koh Phi Phi Le (p68 of the Pilot), exploring the east coast to check out the "Viking Cave" which supposedly has ancient rock art, but the cave was closed for renovation - perhaps a victim of the tsunami?

    We motored past the spectacular Hong Pileh, a huge indentation in the cliffs which unfortunately was too shallow for us to enter.

    Finally, we motored around the south of the island to Maya Bay, where the film "The Beach" was made. We picked up a mooring (since the bay is full of coral, you can't anchor) then took the dinghy ashore to the white sandy beach. There were quite a lot of people there, having come by boat from Koh Phi Phi Don where all the tourist accommodation is. We were amused when it started to pour with rain and everyone huddled under the rocks for protection - they'd all been swimming just minutes earlier!

    We went back to the yacht and spent a few minutes snorkelling around the coral, then had to stand by to fend off a huge charter catamaran that tried to pick up a mooring much too close to us. Fortunately they realised the problem and moved to another one.

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  • 16Dec 2007

    13 Day 10 - Koh Phi Phi Le to Koh Naka Noi 12/16/2007 Thailand —

    ต.ป่าคลอก, Thailand

    Description

    We were up early and went snorkelling while the bay was quiet. There was a good array of tropical fish but not a lot of coral compared to what we are used to in Australia.

    We had just about seen enough when "rush hour" started - huge tour boats packed with tourists arrived and picked up any empty moorings. It was obvious that we had out-stayed our welcome, so we got out of there as quickly as possible!

    We had selected an anchorage for our last night but when we got there we discovered once again that the wind was in the wrong direction and the anchorage was too rough. We continued north to Koh Naka Noi, otherwise known as Pearl Island (p. There is still a pearl farm in the waters adjacent to the recommended anchorage, so we spent a long time finding a secure spot. It wasn't helped by a strong current running through the anchorage, something we hadn't experienced during our few days further south. We took the dinghy ashore but found the infrastructure onshore was run-down and definitely no pearls on display!

    We returned to the yacht and enjoyed a beautiful sunset for our last dinner on board. We watched a fireworks display across the water on Phuket Island, followed by a thunder and lightning display.

    Our enjoyable evening was rudely interrupted when our rudder hooked on a rock as the tide went out. We were unable to dislodge it, so ran out a second anchor using the dinghy and waited as the tide continued to drop. There was a very uncomfortable motion as the rudder banged against the rock, until eventually the keel settled on a sandy bottom. High tide was early in the morning, so we had a few restless hours. Even worse, at high tide we still couldn't free ourselves. I gave one last pull on the anchor rope and to my surprise we slid smoothly off the rock! Within a few feet we were back in 3 metres of water, showing how unlucky we had been to get caught on the rock! We finally were able to settle down for a few hours sleep

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  • 17Dec 2007

    14 Day 11 - Return to Yacht Haven Marina 12/17/2007 Thailand —

    Mai Khao, Thailand

    Description

    Our last morning was a bit of an anti-climax after the drama of the night before. We had a fairly short sail back to the marina, during which we packed up and cleaned up the yacht. It was quite windy, so we made good time and got back a little ahead of schedule. The marina staff were busy with another yacht that had returned earlier, so we had to sail around for a while until they were ready. It gave us an opportunity to admire some of the very expensive yachts anchored near or tied up at the marina!

    Finally they were ready for us and we squeezed back into our pen - quite a challenge in the strong wind. Then a quick finalisation of paperwork and costs and we were off to the airport for the trip home.

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  • 17Dec 2007

    15 Stopover in Kuala Lumpur 12/17/2007 Malaysia —

    Perdana Botanical Gardens, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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  • 21Dec 2007

    16 Train from KL to Singapore 12/21/2007 Singapore —

    Singapore, Singapore

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  • 23Dec 2007

    17 Back Home 12/23/2007 Australia —

    Perth, Australia

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