There’s something to be said about the ancient allure of Thailand’s storied islands that has continued to entice travellers towards Phuket and its outer-lying islands for decades.
Nestled in between the neighbouring nations of Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Malaysia, the “Land of Smiles” is the ultimate jet-setting destination where ultra-modern city views and traditional Buddhist temples coincide. Yet there are many hidden wonders waiting to be discovered in this tropical paradise when you take to the water.
Whether you choose to cruise on a Moorings Power, Sail or All-Inclusive Crewed Charter, enhance your sailing holiday even further by exploring the pearl of the western Andaman coast with an immersive water sport experience. With over 160 limestone islands dotted around cyan waters, explore a myriad of breath-taking hongs (hidden lagoons) by kayak, snorkel in crystalline waters teeming with marine life, or get a panoramic view of the some of the worlds most secluded bays parasailing across the Andaman Sea. Looking for the best spots on your Phuket charter? Read on to discover our top recommendations for unforgettable experiences on the water.
Snorkelling and Scuba-Diving
With the outer lying Similan islands around Phuket recognised as one of the top 10 diving sites in the world, see the most diverse array of low lying coral reefs and baffling sea floors by snorkelling and deep sea diving. We’d recommend cruising towards Rhichelieu Rock, East of Eden and the Breakfast Bend for true aquarium diving. Enjoy an afternoon of swimming with swarms of Bluefin trevally, triggerfish and yellowtail barracuda amidst rock crevices hiding cometfish.
If you’re looking to explore around Phuket’s shoreline, head to Ao San Beach on the southern tip of the island, to see huge granite boulders and parrotfish meandering in the calmest all-year-round waters. Kata Noi is another more secluded gem along the west coast, where after a morning of snorkelling you can walk to a charming little bamboo thatched restaurant called Som Tam Kit. As unpretentious, as it is delicious, we’d recommend the Som Tam Lao with crab. For those wanting more of a livelier atmosphere after snorkelling, head to Paradise Beach where you can order a refreshing Pina colada served up in a pineapple.
Tucked in between the Windmill viewpoint and the famous Promthep Cape on the southern tip of Phuket, you’ll find the charming bay of Yan Nui Beach. This is another prime spot for snorkelling where you can uncover star fish, angel fish and even octopi swimming in its crystalline waters. If you have the time, you should also consider taking the helm to Ko He situated just of south of Phuket towards “the last kept secret” — Banana Beach, where you can find a similar abundance of marine life in one of Thailand’s most secluded spots.
Best location: Similan Islands, Ao San, Kate Noi, Ko He
Estimated costs: 1500 THB ½ day
Kayaking is a great way to get you closer to Phuket’s iconic limestone cliffs, stunning hongs (lagoons) and unique wildlife. With Phuket’s breath-taking scenery brought to our screens by James Bond: Man with the Golden Gun and The Beach this type of water sports has become an increasingly popular way to uncover the best natural gems Thailand has to offer.
From the designated national park of Ao Phang Nga to the solitary island of Ko Hong Krabi, get lost in a myriad of stunning hongs and bask in the beauty of its lush greenery. If you’re lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of rhesus macaque’s monkeys, fruit bats and lizards. While in Phang Nga, head towards “Tarzan Beach” to swing from vines and see huge shoals of anchovies and cigar fish swimming in the waters below. Then, we’d recommend you explore Hlam Tang, one the largest hongs on the island, to uncover an other-worldly cavern of stunning stalactites.
If you’re looking for the most crystalline waters, sail to the southern reaches of the Andaman Sea to Ko Racha Yai and Ko Racha Noi. With long white sands boasting some of the most turquoise waters in Thailand, kayaking in these calm waters is nothing short of idyllic.
In Phuket, you can even combine a kayaking trip with other traditional Thai activities. Some evening kayaks include making kratongs, tropical flower offerings with candles that are released to bob in the water under the starlit skies. While others offer delicious post-kayaking buffets of tom kha gai, coconut soup curry and sweet and sour jackfish cooked on a hot stone pot.
Best location: Phang Nga Bay
Estimated cost: around 1200-3500 THB/ day or 250THB/ hour
Jet Skiing is another great option if you’re looking to get that pure adrenaline rush while on holiday. Allowing you to see more around some of Thailand’s most beautiful cays, many take to the Andaman Sea on Jet Ski to enjoy the fresh sea breeze. However, to comply with Thailand’s regulations you should only rent jet-skis from licensed Jet Ski providers in one of the five legally operated areas of Phuket. These include, Patong, Karon, Kata, Kamala and Bangtao.
With over 200 licensed Jet Ski operators in Phuket alone, you’ll find that half of them are based in Patong Beach on the west coast. Its crescent shaped bay is bustling with activity, allowing a seemingly unlimited amount of cafes, restaurants and bars along the shore. Rates for renting Jet Skis can start from 800 THB to 1,500 THB depending on the location, season and the operators.
Best location: Patong Beach and Kamala Beach
Estimated cost: 1200 THB 30 minute ride
To get amazing panoramic views of Phuket’s lush scenery, why not book a parasailing session for the afternoon? With prices varying from 800-1,300 THB you’ll find operators in Patong Beach, Karon Beach and Kata Beach to take you flying high above the bluest waters below.
For a completely unique experience, we’d recommend sailing to Coral Island to enjoy an action-packed afternoon of parasailing and sea walking. Alongside seeing the amazing views above the water on a parasail, tour operators also allow travellers the opportunity to see the vibrant corals and seafloors in a different way. If you’re not an experienced scuba diver, sea walking provides a perfect and easy alternative to get up close to schools of angel fish, frogfish and lion fish in some of Thailand’s clearest waters.
Best location: Patong Beach, Coral Island (full day parasailing and sea walking included)
Estimated cost: parasailing varies from 800-1,300THB per ride/ full day parasailing and sea from 2,700THB
If you’re a thrill seeker, surfing is a must when you’re sailing around Phuket. The Andaman Sea brings water from the Indian Ocean that powers the waves and in turn entices international surfers to the area.
The main surfing season is from May until late October during the southwest monsoon, so if you’re a keen surfer, be sure to book your holiday during these times. With most of the bigger waves occurring during this season, you can find the best surfing conditions in Bang Tao, Laem Singh, Nai Harn, Kamala and Karon. Another reliable spot is on Kata Beach where you can ride the waves from ten in the morning until ten at night! This beach is a surfing mecca that’s perfect for experienced surfers and beginners alike. At Kata, you can find shops for equipment, operators organising surfing lessons and a number of surfing contests that draw a good crowd every year.
Best location: Kata Beach for beginners and Karon Beach for experienced surfers
Estimated cost: Board Hire 300THB/ day Lessons 1000THB/ hour
While sailing the cyan waters on your Phuket yacht charter holiday, do not miss the opportunity to drop anchor and get closer to Thailand’s best hidden natural treasures by booking an immersive water sports experience. From discovering hidden hongs and exotic wildlife by kayaking to riding Phuket’s monsoon waves, there’s something for everyone in a place where old world charm and exotic flairs converge.
Step Aboard Here
Start your experience with The Moorings on land and sign up to receive e-mails from us about yachts, offers and destinations.