Yacht Charter Itinerary for Thailand
Why choose the Thai cruising grounds?
Thailand is an excellent destination that boasts stable temperatures around 29°C/83°F throughout the year in popular destinations such as Phuket, with the majority of rainfall during October and November typically falling in short heavy storms as evening sets in. This makes the country a fantastic destination outside of the typical summer months of July and August, and due to the dry months of December through to March, many choose a Thailand luxury yacht charter over Christmas and New Year.
Not only are there numerous beaches and island hideaways to discover, there is a wealth of culture unique to the region and sensational cuisine desired the world over for its rich, flavoursome spices and creamy sauces that turn fish and meat dishes into melt-in-your-mouth treats.
Day 1: Phuket
As the most famous tourist destination in Thailand, Phuket has well-developed marinas and tourist facilities to ease you into your week-long itinerary.
The eastern side of the peninsula is all bright lights and the heady wonders of the city, where the group can spend the day visiting temples, shopping in local markets and boutiques enjoying some pampering in the spas, or revelling in the restaurants and bars after dark. The golf courses in the region along with hiking trails through hills and along the coasts will satisfy those looking to do sports on land while remaining close to civilisation. The Big Buddha is the main attraction away from the markets, bars and night clubs and its location boasts some stunning views of the surrounding area.
In contrast the western side is filled with beautiful beaches for waking up in tranquil surroundings, where verdant mountains create private bays for you to unwind in complete privacy and the cool, transparent water is perfect for playing in by all ages and fitness levels.
Beginner Scuba divers can learn their skills among shallow dive sites such as Karon Beach, Crab Island and Ko Lipe, which offer colourful corals and curious creatures just 10m/32ft below the surface. More advanced divers can descend to the Coral Island and Mauritius Rock dive sites for even bigger rewards.
Location highlights: Big Buddha, Karon Beach, Karon Beach dive site, Crab Island dive site, Ko Lipe dive site, Coral Island dive site, Mauritius Rock dive site
Day 2: Ao Po Grand Marina & Phang Nga Bay
North of Phuket, the Ao Po Grand Marina is a new addition to the luxury yachting industry in Thailand and as such features some of the latest innovations for motor and sailing yachts. The marina presents one last chance to dine with other travellers before you sail off for some private relaxation among the glassy green waters of Phang Nga Bay.
This idyllic setting is encompassed by two national parks to the north and an archipelago to the south, giving you a choice of beaches to rest in peace and quiet after hours of fun on the water toys. The Than Bok Khorani National Park has some stunning caves where young children will be impressed by the sight of the pale while stalactites and stalagmites disappearing into the depths of the darkness, while adrenaline seekers of all ages have chasms to rappel down, white water rafting and of course the full complement of water toys back on board your luxury yacht.
Those looking to make a more sedate connection with nature can trek along forest paths filled with wildlife to discover serene waterfalls, snorkel along the coast among strange and colourful marine species such as clownfish and seahorses, or simply soak up the sunshine on a deserted beach.
Location highlights: Ao Phang-nga National Park, Than Bok Khorani National Park
Day 3: Koh Phi
So beautiful is this island chain that you might have to share the larger destinations with visitors on a day trip from Phuket, however the smaller islands will be all yours to wander in peace.
Reef sharks, zebra sharks, turtles and barracuda are spotted in the waters surrounding Koh Phi and the abundant snorkelling and Scuba dive sites offer enough variety to satisfy advanced divers: Swim into 30m/98ft deep Maya Cave or take in the dramatic shapes of the Malone Wall, encounter reef sharks at Palong Wall and the 12m/39ft deep Hin Phae, or the stunning pink corals at Ko Yung.
Location highlights: Maya Cave dive site, Malone Wall dive site, Palong Wall dive site, Hin Phae dive site, Ko Yung dive site
Day 4: Koh Lanta
Disembark and take a stroll through Lanta Old Town for its historic atmosphere that blends into its surroundings cuisine and temples from the East to the Far East.
Hike the western side of the peninsula and encounter beach bars and family-run diners along the way for an authentic dining experience then rest up on one of the sandy crescents such as Ao Nui Bay Beach, Bamboo Beach and the National Park Beach to the very south. More hands-on guests will find workshops in the area where family can spend time together making their memorable souvenirs.
There are over 200 species of fish to encounter in the region, among them triggerfish, moray eels and stingrays. Hin Daeng and Hin Muang are away from the main tourist trails and offer some spectacular diving with the opportunity to see manta, whale sharks and even whales.
Hard and soft corals thrive and vivid pinks, reds and oranges contrast against a deep blue background. There are plenty of islets for water sports and privacy, and the most notable dive in the area is the Kled Kaew Wreck, recently sunk in 2014 and lying 33m/108ft below.
Location highlights: Lanta Old Town, Ao Nui Bay Beach, Bamboo Beach, Mu Ko Lanta National Park Beach, Hin Daeng dive site, Hinn Muang dive site, Kled Kaew Wreck dive site
Day 5: Koh Muk
The shifting colours of the water meld in mesmerising fashion between jade greens and topaz and sapphire blues: As guests kayak or paddleboard through the shallows they'll witness fish swimming above the grassy meadows covering the sea floor. Jungle-covered Koh Muk is mostly untouched by its human inhabitants and wildlife photographers and artists will be rewarded whether by the shores or among the hills.
The Morakot (Emerald) Cave is a popular tourist attraction accessible only by swimming through a 70m/230ft tunnel to an open chamber where the light tumbles through the open ceiling and reflects off the surface to dance on the cave walls in green hues. Visitors should arrive early in the morning to avoid the crowds, particularly during the height of the tourist season.
Location highlights: Morakot (Emerald) Cave
Day 6: Butang Archipelago
As you cruise down to the Butang Archipelago there will be time for the family to chat over breakfast alfresco then sunbathing on the sundeck or catching up on hobbies before arriving at your stunning destination consisting of more than 50 islands within the Tarutao National Marine Park, where lionfish, barracuda, grouper, clownfish and seahorses can all be spotted.
25% of the world's tropical fish species are to be found within the national park, which is replete with Scuba dive sites from beginner through to advanced: The Adang Beach dive site is the maximum beginner divers can reach on a PADI or SSI certification (18m/59ft) and is worth visiting for its colourful clownfish, bright sea anemones and mantas. The Koh Prung, Koh Sarang and Pakacem dive sites descend to 35m/114.8ft and have even more unusual species and delicate coral structures to marvel at.
Kayak and paddleboard from one beach to the next with so many sandy beaches side-by-side and photograph monkeys as they roam in peace near Monkey Beach.
Location highlights: Adang Beach dive site, Koh Prung dive site, Koh Sarang dive site, Pakacem dive site, Monkey Beach
Day 7: Ko Tarutao
Karst islets and mangroves characterise this island which was used in the Thailand edition of the 2002 American series Survivor, and its protected status has kept it free from development. Living up to its old Malay name meaning 'mysterious' and 'primitive', Ko Tarutao is idyllic for luxury yacht charter groups wanting to spend as much time as possible immersed in the sounds and sights of the tropics.
Head to Ao Son beach and hike the trails past such sights as vibrant birds and Lu Du Waterfall to reach the 713m/2339ft summit, or take the tender through mangrove forest to the 300m/984ft deep Crocodile Cave, named after crocodiles now extinct on the island.
Dine alfresco by moonlight on one of the many fine sand beaches or spend an evening on board soaking in the Jacuzzi and stargazing for your secluded anchorage on the final evening of your cruise.
Location highlights: Ao Son Beach, Lu Du Waterfall, Crocodile Cave
Day 8: Langkawi
Your final destination is just a short cruise south of Ko Tarutao to Pulau Langkawi, the largest island within the Langkawi archipelago. Its golden sand beaches have drawn tourists from across the world for decades and as a result it has also attracted a number of fine dining options as an alternative to dining on board. Bars and cafes line the waterfronts and the boutiques have a tempting array of clothing and accessories for some last-minute presents or souvenirs of your week-long charter.
Visit the summit effortlessly in the 'Sky Cab' cable car for panoramic views over the town to the bay, kayak through mangroves and experience the Kilim Karst Geoforest Park by water, birdwatch the 238 species and glimpse the massive hornbill species and some of the eight kinds of kingfisher, or soak up the sunshine on paradisiacal beaches such as Tengah Beach and Beras Basah Beach.
If you want some final moments away from the hustle and bustle of town, there are 95 uninhabited islands nearby for you to rest and watch the horizon with a cocktail in hand.
Location highlights: Langkawi Sky Cab, Kilim Karst Geoforest Park, Tengah Beach, Beras Basah Beach