You know those postcard quality photos you see of people swimming in turquoise water? Or those photos of these beautiful boats sailing through the islands of Phuket? In my latest adventure, I got to live that postcard dream, and I’ll show you how it can become a reality for you.
After months… ok correction, years…of admiring photos of sailing holidays in Phuket, I felt it was time to put my plan into motion – to finally tick off sailing around Phuket from my bucket list.
And so, after a month of planning and research into all the different sailing holidays we could choose from – I finally found the right trip for Hubby and I. We wanted to stay on the boat and visit the popular islands (aka James Bond Island), but also find those hidden gems that are off the beaten track.
There are a range of sailing holidays you can choose from in Phuket – from day trips to week long journeys. We booked our sailing trip through Intrepid, in particular the Sail Phuket to Ko Phi Phi. It was a 3-night and 4-day trip that started on the main island of Phuket and ended on Phi Phi Island.
The best time of the year to sail Phuket is during the dry season, which is between November to April. These months are when the weather is at its best – sunny for the most part with only light showers here and there.
Our Sailing Journey
From Chalong Bay out on the Andaman Sea
On day one, Hubby and I ventured to Jimmy’s Lighthouse, a small restaurant located not far from the pier at Chalong Bay. Here we were greeted by a small group of travellers, who would be sailing with us for the next few days. The group came from different walks of life and it was a perfect mix of nationalities.
We soon boarded our catamaran and met the team on-board – our skipper Caio from Brazil, and En, Bon and Na from Thailand. From Chalong Bay, we set sail on the Andaman Sea towards Ko Rang Yai, our first stop where we would also anchor for the evening.
The sunset here was just spectacular – the orange of the sky shined so brightly through that it was just mesmerising. It was the perfect way to start our sailing trip. And as the sun was setting, Na was busy in the kitchen whipping up the most delicious Thai food. She prepared some of the best Thai food I have had… and I’ve had a lot of Thai food in my day. It could have easily competing with the delicious Thai food I had at the Sri Panwa Resort.
The Next Few Days
The days on the boat were amazing. Everywhere we looked we saw these incredible limestone formations, known as karsts. I was living that postcard dream, and I literally had to pinch myself several times to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.
The karsts were majestic – they came into all kinds of shapes and sizes, with patches of greenery spread around its form. Some had small white sand beaches attached to them, and many housed caves that would often lead you to a secluded lagoon. These lagoons are known as ‘hongs’ and can be reached by kayak or canoe, and even at times by foot during low tide.
The following days we cruise through Phang Nga Bay, which is better known for its appearance in the James Bond movie “The Man with the Golden Gun.” The James Bond Island is one of the most visited island in Phang Nga Bay, not only for obvious reasons, but also because it is beautifully dramatic. We then head towards Railay Beach at Krabi and then ending our sailing journey on Phi Phi Island.
Most nights we slept on deck underneath the stars, because it was a bit hot in the cabins. It was perfect, and we were very lucky that there was not even a drop of rain that came through on our trip. I loved sleeping on deck, because each morning I was pleasantly woken by a dramatic sunrise – the perfect start to the day.
Highlights of the Trip
At Koh Phanak, we all ventured through a 200m cave to arrive to quite a large hong, which is home to mangrove trees, mud skippers, and other lush vegetation and animals.
The water in the cave was about knee deep high. We needed torches to walk through the cave, because it was pitch black otherwise. It is possible to go through the cave with a kayak, but walking through was just as easy. I just recommend wearing a pair of reef shoes.
We stopped at Koh Roi for a few hours. Hubby and I decided to jump into a kayak and roam around the island. We found a small cave opening, which lead us to a beautiful hong filled with mangrove trees – even more so than Koh Phanak. Overhead, we caught a glimpse at the noisy bats (or were they birds!) – it was hard to tell because they were so high up.
Koh Phak Bia
We stopped at Koh Phak Bia for some snorkelling, which led to a private beach. Unfortunately for us, the water was not the best for snorkelling so we did not get to see much. So instead, Hubby spent time kayaking around the karst. It was really beautiful and would have loved to spend more time on the beach.
We anchored at Koh Hang for the night, and in the morning we took our dinghy over to the large cave entrance to see the hong. It was low tide at the time, so we hoped off the dinghy close to shore and walked our way into the hong. The hong was just surrounded by this huge karst filled with walls of greenery such as fern. It was really very beautiful.
Koh Dam Hok
Our stop at Koh Dam Hok was probably one of my favourite stops of the trip. The water was clear, which made it great for snorkelling. I swam up to the small beach on the island and watched as all the colourful fish were swimming around me. It was a great experience. Plus the water was nice and calm, which was perfect for paddle boarding.
We sailed on a 50-foot catamaran named Cataleya. On board there were 5 cabins available to guests – 2 cabins that were quad share and 3 cabins that were twin share. Each cabin was equipped with their own bathrooms. It was a tight squeeze in the cabins, but it was still comfortable enough to move around.
Up on deck there was a good amount of space to move around. There was enough seating for 12 people on the outside tables, and about 4-5 more people inside. The kitchen was a decent space, with plenty of storage. I mean heck, the catamaran even had 3 freezers and 2 fridges on board.
The Cataleya is equipped with air conditioning, but for the purpose of this tour, it was switched off. There are fans in all of the cabins as an alternative, although I highly recommend sleeping on deck under the stars. The nights cool down nicely and there is a bit of a breeze, which makes it comfortable to sleep.
During the day, I loved lazing on a bean bag whilst sunbathing and admiring the beautiful landscape. It was so relaxing! Plus, the Catalya came fully equipped with its own kayaks, paddle boards and snorkels, which was perfect for when we anchored around the different islands.
I loved sailing around Phuket. It was such a mesmerising experience sailing past all the magnificent karsts and venturing to the hongs. I really enjoyed the swimming, the snorkelling, the kayaking, the paddle boarding – it really was a holiday with a lot to do.
We found the package through Intrepid to be of good value for money, because the catamaran was a great standard and the food was divine. The staff on board were all so friendly and hospitable, and never did we feel unsafe. From the moment we booked our trip to the moment we got off the boat, it was a relatively smooth sailing experience.
My verdict – I can’t wait to sail around Phuket again. I am definitely up for sailing in Phuket for a second time around – next time sailings from Ko Phi Phi to main island Phuket, and stopping around the islands in the southern part of the bay.
If you love the water, breathtaking views and beautiful nature, sailing in Phuket is an excellent holiday. Intrepid Travel offers a variety of affordable sailing holidays in Phuket for travel between November and April.
For more information or to book your sailing trip in Phuket CLICK HERE
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