Our super-successful "shareboat" program which has taken adventurers exploring the Greek isles & Turkey for the past 12yrs is now operating fulltime in Thailand also!
Our adventures in Thailand & Malaysia now include not just the fun and independence of cruising on one's own sailboat... scuba diving, snorkelling and sea kayaks are also part of the all-inclusive package. "No Surprises!" is still our philosophy in Thailand, as it always has been in Greece... once you get on board, all is included - even your pina coladas!
Our cruising grounds range from the northern end of Phang-Nga bay - where the gravity-defying shaped limestone cliffs and islands create an eerie feeling that we've just sailed into some sci-fi movie set! We swim and paddle to explore these other-worldly sea caves ("hongs"); anchor for lunch at tiny isolated coves, and spend our first couple of evenings feasting on our Thai chef's amazing home-cooking under the stars !
Then it is south, to the lesser-known little islands, where the westernised resorts have not (yet!) made their indelible mark. We do stop at a couple of the more "touristy" spots on our route - Krabi, Phi Phi, etc - after all, we do still need to get our Thai shopping /exotic cocktails/beach massages fix! But on the whole, our anchorages are mostly little spots that aren't on the Tourist Track. Little villages where the kids still giggle and point (and love having their photo taken!); deserted tropical islands where there is no-one but us, the palm trees, an icing-sugar-white beach and lots of coconuts!
For the longer trips which include Malaysia - we sail as far south as Langkawi; the lush, magical island of the "Pregnant Maiden"; where the hospitality of the Malay people rivals even their legendary neighbour, the Land Of Smiles!
Several of these southern islands form part of a Marine National Park - abounding with tropical fish life and multicoloured coral; the warm, clear waters are perfect for snorkellers or newbie divers; for our more experienced scuba fans, there are some superb pinnacles and drop-offs to be explored here; and some of the bigger marine residents; huge mantas are not unusual here!
Some of our trips are focused on "Mostly Singles" groups - emphatically NOT any kind of dating deal ! - we just know it's not much fun ending up a third wheel on a boatful of all couples!
Then we have groups which are more focused on couples... and of course, if you have your own group of friends/family you'd like to sail with - we can customise a trip just for your group!
Sailing experience is very welcome, but not necessary; we're more than happy to teach those keen to learn.
Day 1 Rendezvous at the Sawasdee Spa Resort in Kata Beach. This little hideout is an amazing gem we found only a few years ago; tucked away in a very unlikely looking side-street. Walking through it’s welcoming arch is like stepping into another universe of total calm and tranquility; trickling streams and fountains everywhere… an enormous, lake-like swimming pool (with of course the requisite jacuzzi jets and terribly decadent swim-up bar !).
To help recover from jetlag, there are an array of herbal spa treatments, massages, all sorts of ways to be pampered ! Pina coladas at the pool bar are a most effective way of relaxing too, so we have found…
Day 2 Explore Phuket ! There are many possible options - we can organize a very fun elephant trek – we even get to ride the “local” way on the elephants’ neck (not just like total tourists!). The temple at Ao Chalong is well worth a visit to get a taste of the calm and peaceful Buddhist philosophy which pervades all Thai culture and life. There are incredibly intricate golden spires and statues, a fantastic pictorial tale of Buddha’s life; most of the visitors are Thais, not western tourists.
For a taste of the more modern aspect of Thailand – there are the street markets in Patong, and it’s very diverse night life and bar scene!
All these possibilities – and many more, if we but had more time! – are all very accessible via tuk-tuk or perhaps renting a jeep for the day.
Day 3 Time to go sailing ! Breakfast over, we’ll transfer to the yachts in Ao Chalong – about 15 mins from Kata Beach. It’s a bit of a time-consuming process transferring bags to the yachts, as there is no dock – it’s all done via dinghy; so a few fruit-shakes in the famous Jimmy’s Lighthouse will no doubt keep us all happy in the meantime.
As soon as we’re all aboard and settled in - it’s off north to the weird and wonderful seascapes of Phang-Nga bay! It feels like sailing into some sci-fi movie set; the limestone formations are so sheer and gravity-defying. Our destination for the evening is Ko Hong – “hong” being the word for “sea cave” - and yes, there is indeed a very impressive one there to swim and kayak around! Our first sample of our Thai chefs’ gourmet cooking on board the yachts - it has to be tasted to be believed.
Day 4 A relaxed morning’s cruise southwards again, past more impossibly-balanced rocks, cliffs & islands – lunchtime stop at Bamboo island. Swim, eat, swim (a familiar pattern-to-be! ) - then head off for an evening at the famous (and totally stunning) Railey Beach. Sheer, palm-covered mountains rising vertically from the ocean, it’s a well-known spot for those who like to scare themselves silly scaling these cliffs. There are even beginner’s rock-climbing opportunities, for any adrenalin-addicts amongst us! Dinner ashore, there’s dozens of fun little beach bars and restaurants.
Day 5 Chance to take a longtail trip into the main town of Krabi – about 45 mins ride away. Besides getting a glimpse of a very “local” town (quite non-touristy), the main aim is to visit Tiger Cave and Temple – an active monastery still, with a deeply spiritual and calm ambiance. There’s a shady hike through an enormous and ancient forest… an impressive temple… and mischievous monkeys galore!
The trip to Krabi is a full-day event – it will be around 4-5pm by the time we get back. Just perfect for a quick swim, then anchors up, and a short 30mins motor away is Chicken Island A quiet, tranquil contrast to the day’s activities, and usually a beautiful sunset to accompany our infamous Pina Coladas!
Day 6 A lovely downwind sail to Ko Lanta – a long island of many white sand deserted beaches. Tucked away at the northern end is Relax Bay – a collection of a dozen or so beach bungalows, and – incongruously! - a French guy running a superb little beach bar and restaurant. Hammocks on the beach, boats at anchor in the background….it’s a totally idyllic little spot.
There is also our very scenic waterfall hike. The water flow is not exactly huge at this time of year ! - there’s been little rain since Nov. But still, the water is clear and cold, a well-earned treat after a sweaty scramble up the river stream.
Day 7 A very early start – yes, we are talking sunrise here ! We have a truly stunning spot to visit; the Lost Lagoon of Ko Muk. To find it, we have to swim through a totally pitch-black sea tunnel (it’s ok, we do have flashlights!). It’s a spooky and thoroughly exciting feeling – especially when one emerges the other end into a ‘Lost World’ in the center of the island !
Unfortunately, the local daytrip boats from Phi Phi have now discovered this spot too - but we have it all to ourselves in the early morning hours before they arrive… !
As soon as they do – we’re off ! A beam reach to the Rok Nok islands – a national marine park, teeming with multi-coloured fish & coral gardens. One could spend hours exploring the underwater universe around here!
For the evening, we’ll have a beach barbie – with any luck, we’ll have found a local fishing boat to trade with, and have buckets of totally fresh fish, prawns and whatever else was the catch-of-the-day !
Day 8 Sail to the Butang group of islands. Part of the Tarutao Marine National Park, these islands have the most wonderfully clear water and beautiful coral gardens. They feel a little like the Thailand of 20 years ago – just a few backpackers around, little huts-on-the-beach accommodation. The local schoolkids in the village of Ko Lipe still find us an oddity – though they fast got used to the idea of digital cameras and love to see their pics instantly on screen !
Day 9 A day to explore under the water as well as above. This is one of the most amazing snorkelling grounds in the area; and for our experienced scuba divers, there are some impressive dropoffs too – and perhaps swim with the 6-8’ mantas seen regularly in these waters! There are dozens of little anchorages in these islands; we’ll pick one according to wind, weather and what the group wants to do at the time !
Day 10 Our destination for today is the island of Tarutao – HQ of the Marine National Park. Named after a Malay word meaning “old, mysterious”; one can see how it gained it’s name from the densely forested hillsides, the many caves and waterfalls. Formerly a penal colony, and later a pirate hangout, it’s mission in life is now to educate passing travellers in ecologically-sound behaviour – it has a fascinating “wildlife center. There is also a possible trip to “Crocodile Cave” – a longtail journey up the river, through mangroves and palms, eventually to a very impressive maze of caves. No longer home to any crocs however, we were very happy to discover !
Day 11 A 20 mile sail south to the well-hidden entrance of our first anchorage on Langkawi itself. Navigating our way thru a couple of narrow passages, we’ll sneak into a little spot which has been named by cruising sailors “Hole in the Wall”. Totally sheltered, and green, green, green. More waterfalls and caves close by to explore too. Incongruously, there is a little local “Natural History Museum” close by, with the strangest collection of artifacts and local stories !
Day 12 Langkawi is known as the “island of mysteries” – and sailing into her surrounding “99 islands” in the south, it certainly feels like being transported to a child’s fantasy land. Weird and wonderful islets and gravity-defying rock formations; the tropical greenery clinging to their sides gives the water a deep, dark-green hue. Towering limestone cliffs all around make an 80’ mast look like a matchstick !
We’ll choose an anchorage close to the Lake of the Pregnant Maiden (bedtime fairytale telling available on board! It is a vast, tranquil lake, tucked away behind palm trees and other tropical greenery. It’s a stunning spot – but unfortunately close enough to Langkawi to be within range of the daytrip boats. So – not to be confused with regular “tourists” (we, after all, are sailors, not tourists !! :>) we’ll do our pilgrimage here either in evening or early am, when no tour boats are around. Watch out for the monkeys en route, they are cheeky little creatures who love to steal anything bright and shiny!
Day 13 Early morning start, sailing to the main town of Kuah. Be warned, this is quite the culture shock of coming back to “civilization” - there is even a McDonalds there! There’s some good shopping around too, however. Here we have to spend a hour or so having much bureaucratic fun with customs; then it will be time to pack our bags, say a sad farewell to our floating homes – and head on over to the Mutiara Burau Bay, to become landlubbers once more!
Located at the NW tip of the island (about 10mins drive from the airport), the Mutiara is a wonderful little resort with it’s own private beachfront and a collection of individual cabanas scattered around a wide, palm-tree shaded expanse of grassy land. They are extremely concerned about preserving the natural flora and fauna here; walking around the grounds is like being in an open-air ecology classroom!
Of course, it has the requisite swimming pool as well as the two beachfront areas, and the greatest little beach bar for those final sunset cocktails…
For anyone interested in exploring more of this fascinating island by land – if you can squeeze one more day of vacation, it’s very well worth staying on an extra day and renting a jeep to tour around the island - huge fun ! There’s beaches and bays to explore, waterfalls to hike; the main town of Kuah, which is a fascinating mix of modern department stores and ramshackle market stalls.
Day 14 For those who just have to get back to the so-called Real World – one more morning to swim, relax on the beach, shop – whatever takes your fancy! Then it will be time to head on back to the main town of Kuah, to catch ferry or flight connections, depending on your route home.
Price per person based on double berth shared cabins. All onboard amenities included – breakfast, lunch, some dinners, open bar, water, fuel, moorage fees, skipper...and our very own Thai chef!
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