Planning A Sailing Holiday In Phuket – Chartering A Boat In Phuket – Best Phuket Excursions

You’re planning a sailing holiday in Phuket, or you’re already on Phuket and looking to charter a yacht for a day or longer… where to start?

There are many professional yacht charter businesses on Phuket offering a wide variety of sizes, sails, and power for charter. Below are a few tips and things to consider when planning your charter.

Type of Yacht

Sailing or Power? It really depends on what you are planning to do, where you are planning to go and for how long. Also, do you plan to charter a bareboat or crewed? These are the basics you need to decide upon before you research any further.

Size Of Yacht

It may not be everything, but it’s is important. If you are a family or group planning a multi-day charter, then you will need accommodation enough for your all. If you are planning on lots of onboard sun-tanning, then lots of deck space is a must.

Where to go? Planning A Sailing Holiday In Phuket

A charter agent will be able to offer some advice on this but do some research online into good sailing destinations in the waters around Phuket. Visit our top day sail destinations from Phuket and top overnight sail destinations from Phuket Also, go on over and give Sunsail a visit for detailed anchorages and information on sailing excursions throughout Thailand and beyond.


Make sure you have detailed charts of the area you plan to go cruising – best to be prepared.


Nobody wants anything to go wrong with the boat, but what if it does? Check with the charter agent what kind of backup they can offer. Support services are important when you may be without a rudder a two-day sail away!


Ensure there is comprehensive insurance for the yacht and all on-board And if you are chartering to enter one of Phuket’s regattas, ensure insurance is sufficient and covers this also.

Embarkation / Disembarkation point

Will this be the same place? Access to some of the marinas is determined by tide, so you will need to plan your schedule for departure and return accordingly, and ensure the charter agent is aware of your plans.


This is a service offered by many charter agents, but best to check and plan ahead. You don’t want to run short of your favorite bubbly while out on the seas.

Charter agent

The one you will choose will depend on many of the above and the service provided. There is a good selection of professional agents and many private individual charterers on the island.

The devil is in the details

Make sure you are happy with the details of your charter agreement – pricing, insurance, fuel extra or not? Or should be confirmed in advance of stepping on board so both charter guest and charter agent are happy.

Tourism In Phuket

Tourism in Phuket is an important aspect of its economy. While holidaying here, tourists can indulge in various activities be it water sports, other sports, adventure, or entertainment. People who have a knack for water sports can go swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, cruising, windsurfing, fishing, sea canoeing, etc.

Others can play golf in its world-class golf courses, take a traditional Thai spa treatment to rejuvenate your soul and relax your mind or learn the art of Thai boxing. If you love adventure then there is bungee jumping, go-carting, horse riding, jungle tour that lets you explore the life and environment of the jungles, shooting, a visit to the snake farms, and cobra shows.

Top Day Sail Destinations From Phuket

chartering a boat in phuket

A selection of top-day sail destinations from Phuket Island.

There are many professional yacht charter businesses on Phuket offering a wide variety of sizes, sails, and power for charter. Below are a few tips and things to consider when planning your charter.

The Racha Islands

The Racha Islands are 10km south of Phuket and a great day sail from Chalong Bay. There is protection in either season but it’s probably best to visit in the NE monsoon when more of the beaches are accessible. There are snorkeling and diving opportunities around both islands.

Racha Yai Bay is the preferred anchorage in the NE Monsoon. You approach it from the North West and it has plenty of depth and a wide entrance. There are plenty of moorings but they are often taken by the day boats. Anchor in 10 to 15m of water on the sandy bottom. Please watch out for the coral heads. There are several restaurants to choose from on the beach and a 5-star resort, The Racha, to visit.

The Rang Islands

The Rang Islands consist of Yai and Noi and are 4nm from the Boat Lagoon Marina on the east coast of Phuket. They are a great destination in either monsoon and have a stunning long sandy beach. During the high season, there is a day resort offering different activities and a Thai restaurant. The shoreline also host’s a pearl farm.

You can anchor on either the southwest side of Rang Yai or, for more protection in the SW monsoon, in between the islands. Beware of the coral drop-off and ensure you, anchor, with enough room to swing well away from it. Anchor in 6 to 10m.

The Kai Islands

Koh Kai Nai and Nok are off the SW point of Koh Yao Yai and a great day trip out of the east coast marinas or Chalong. Early morning or late afternoon are the best times to avoid the crowds. Nok is usually busier during the day. There is great snorkeling and a real ‘desert island’ feel. There is a bar and a restaurant on both islands and deck chairs on Nok.

Be very careful when anchoring as there is a lot of coral and a deep drop-off. There are moorings but these are not advisable for larger vessels. If in doubt, anchor well off in 20+ meters of water.

The Naka Islands

The Naka Islands consist of Naka Yai and Noi. The islands can be found a few miles off the east coast just north of the Boat Lagoon Marina. They are a great stop-over when cruising between the Boat Lagoon Marina and the Yacht Haven Marinas. Both islands are inhabited by locals and Naka Yai has a resort on it. Both have restaurants and Naka Noi has a large offshore pearl farm as well as a daily pearl farm demonstration.

To anchor off Naka Noi, keep an eye out for the pearl farm and anchor south of the jetty in 5 to 8m. At Naka Yai, find the long white sand beach south of the rocky outcrop on the east coast and keep an eye out for the coral drop-off. Anchor in 8 to 10m.

Coral Island (Koh Hae)

Chalong is surrounded by islands that can be sailed around within a day and Coral Island is a good late lunch stop for day sails out of Chalong Bay. It can be busy with day-trippers so it’s best to visit later in the afternoon. There are a few restaurants on the northern beach. The southern beach is much quieter but is only accessible at high tide.

To anchor at the northern beach, find a spot in 8 to 10m on the sandy bottom. For the southern anchorage (not suitable in the SW monsoon) find the small bay and anchor in 15m on a rocky bottom.

Overnight Sail Destinations From Phuket

Top Day Sail Destinations From Phuket

A selection of top overnight sail destinations from Phuket Island.

Phi Phi Islands

The Phi Phi Island group has many different islands, bays, and anchorages to explore and is a good day’s sail from Phuket. Phi Phi Don, the main island, suffered from the tsunami but since has undergone reconstruction and re-development, and you can get a lot of supplies here, including food and water. There are restaurants and bars to enjoy, as well as several walking tracks and a viewpoint to take in the breathtaking scenery. There is also plenty of choice for accommodation.

Phi Phi Lay is a wildlife sanctuary and also the home to Maya Bay where the film The Beach was filmed. You can visit the Viking Cave here.

Phang Nga Bay

Phang Nga Bay is a truly spectacular cruising ground where a yacht can spend days exploring the plethora of beautiful islands. It’s famous for its limestone mountains, which have been used as a backdrop for many films, as well as its remote anchorages, caves, and sea gypsy village built on stilts.

Some of the best stops are Koh Panak, Koh Hong (Phuket), Koh Phing Kan (James Bond Island), Koh Pan Yi, Koh Roi, and Koh Chong Lat. The only place to buy anything is Koh Pan Yi. Everywhere else is undeveloped. You will need to ensure you have enough supplies for your time in Phang Nga Bay.

Similan Islands

The Similan Islands are a 65nm sail NW from Phuket. The island chain, which consists of nine islands, is very popular with dive boats as the underwater topography and fishlife are world-class. The Similan Islands are a National Park with rangers on island no. 8, named Koh Similan. The islands are made of granite with huge boulders cascading into the sea.

There is a 200THB fee per person to visit the islands and the rangers will collect this from you. There is a good deal of anchorages throughout the chain, a lot being frequented by the many dive vessels that operate liveaboard trips. There are moorings, but these are best left for the dive vessels.

The busiest and safest anchorage is to be found on the northern point of Similan no. 8. From this anchorage, there is a walk to the high point overlooking the bay for stunning views. It is advised, however, to find a quieter spot for the night.

Surin Islands

Another stunning set of islands lying north of the Similans are the Surin Islands. They are also popular with the diving fraternity and have some of the best dive sites in Thailand such as Richelieu Rock and Koh Tachai, but they are not as busy as the Similans. The islands are also a National Park and are inhabited by sea gypsies.

There are many anchorages offering the chance to swim, snorkel and dive. It is also worth taking a walk on the islands as there is a plethora of stunning flora and fauna to be seen.

Koh Ha, Hin Daeng, Koh Rock Nok

40km south of Phuket are the Koh Ha Islands (‘Five Islands’, in English). These stunning-shaped limestone islands can be seen from miles away and are a great day anchorage on the way to Rock Nok. They have good snorkeling and diving as well. The best anchorage is off the east side of the middle island at around 5m. Watch out for the coral. These islands are exposed to the wind.

Moving south are Koh Rok Nok and Nai. They are 55nm from Phuket and have suitable anchorages for an overnight stay. There is a National Park HQ on Koh Rock Nai and an unusual shrine with wooden phallic effigies which can be found on the channel-facing beach on Rok Nok. The best place to shelter is off the NPHQ on the southern part of Rok Nai where there are moorings. Otherwise, anchor east of Rok Nok.

If you are a keen diver, there is Hin Daeng and Hin Muang. These pinnacles can be found 12nm west-southwest of Rok Nok and offer some of the best diving in Thailand. They are frequented by whale sharks and manta rays in the right season and are pristine due to their remote location.


Overnight Sail Destinations From Phuket

Krabi Province, on the other side of Phang Nga Bay from Phuket, offers a wide variety of different islands and mainland anchorages. You can find stunning hongs (hollow limestone castes) and isolated beaches in the Koh Hong Archipelago. There are excellent restaurants, bars, and resorts at Railey Beach and coral snorkeling off Koh Yawasan.

The Krabi area is great for a few days cruising, using Railey as a base in the NE monsoon. Railey is a beautiful spot that can only be accessed from the sea. Although it is on the mainland, there is no road access due to the stunning high limestone cliffs that cut it off. Railey is famous for its rock climbing and there is a huge choice of accommodation from bungalows to 5-star resorts.
Another great place to stop is Dam Island, known locally as Chicken Island due to the strange limestone rocky outcrop. There is a restaurant and bar, great swimming and pristine beaches.

Diving In The Andaman Sea

Some of the best dive sites in the world lie off the coast of Phuket in the Andaman Sea. Due to its modern infrastructure and year-round safe anchorages, Phuket is the obvious gateway to the marine national parks in Western Thailand and the Mergui Archipelago in Burma.

Diving In The Similan Islands

About 60 nm Northwest of Phuket, these nine islands offer the clearest water, the whitest coral-sand beaches, and the most colorful marine life in the Kingdom. The diving environment ranges from huge boulder outcroppings, to gently sloping healthy coral reefs, to deeply submerged pinnacles. To the north, near the Myanmar (Burma) border, lie, Koh Bon, Koh Tachai, the famous Richelieu Rock, and the Surin Islands. Each is a unique environment, well worth the extra effort to visit.

The Mergui Archipelago

Traveling North past Richelieu Rock, you will arrive at the Mergui Archipelago, historically part of Thailand (Siam), now governed by Myanmar. A remarkable group of over 800 islands, the archipelago has only recently opened to tourism following almost 50 years of closure. With over 10,000 square miles of calm seas and uninhabited islands, the diving and water sport possibilities here are almost immeasurable. However, the dive sites and islands lie far from any major port, and supplies are not available, so a visit to this area requires more days at sea and forward planning.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands

This area, 450 miles to the Northwest, is much like it was 100 years ago with very little deforestation and almost no active fishing. However, permissions for dive boats are difficult to obtain, and distances between dive sites are vast. Thus, lots of pre-planning and at least two weeks of your time are necessary to visit these islands. It’s well worth it if you have the time and money though.

Diving around the southern parts of Phuket is also beautiful. Famous, popular places such as Shark Point and the Phi Phi Islands offer incredible diving on most days. Day trips are fun to these sites, while the other areas mentioned above generally require a multi-day liveaboard trip. However, Similan Island day trips are gaining in popularity with recently introduced faster dive boats.

It is impossible to see all that Thailand, Myanmar, and the Andaman Islands have to offer in just one trip. People return repeatedly in order just to get a taste of it. Whether you have only a day or a few weeks, make time to dive the Andaman Sea, one of the world’s treasures.

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