Thailand is home to some of the most beautiful vistas in southeast Asia as well as an array of historical, cultural and architectural highlights. Buddhist Temples and magnificent architecture are begged to be explored while the coast offers gorgeous secluded beaches lapped by turquoise waters.
There’s no better way to experience Thailand’s untouched and natural beauty than aboard a private yacht. The Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand are two of the country’s most popular destinations to take in the stunning coastlines. Thailand’s vast number of islands offers a variety of experiences for everyone, from modern bustling cities to deserted paradise islands. This beautiful region encompasses everything from palm fringed beaches, secluded coves, coconut groves, mountainous landscapes, colorful markets and night life. Spending a week or two island hopping and cruising the Phang Nga Bay provides for an incredible Thai experience.
Below is an overview of some incredible islands, in order of a suggested 7 – 10 day itinerary.
Phuket makes for a great starting point in the Andaman Sea. It’s a short flight from Bangkok and an ideal place to board your charter. Phuket surrounds the area of Phang Nga Bay which is home to around 100 glorious islands, many uninhabited, ensuring that you can steer a course away from other yachts and discover untouched lands of jungles, caves, creeks and mountains. As Thailand’s largest island, there are plenty of things to see and do in sunny Phuket.
Ko Racha Yai
The next stop is an hour and half excursion to Ko Racha Yai. This island is known for its world class diving and snorkeling. Deep, clear, turquoise waters offer a great opportunity to experience the exotic marine life up close.
Now on to Krabi for a bit of exploring. Pull out the SUPs and kayaks and paddle along the rugged coastlines, natural sea caves and hidden lagoons. Incredible rock formations and amazing views can be found all around, and you can see an abundance of marine life swimming beneath you.
Check out Ao Thalane, the capital of sea kayaking in Krabi Province. Ao Thalane is a fishing village located in a superb area featuring mangrove forests and impressive limestone canyons, offering the perfect playground for sea kayaking exploration. This area of Krabi Province is rather undeveloped and still retains its genuinely Thai character.
Wat Tham Sua (Tiger Cave Temple) is one of Krabi’s must sees. Climb more than a thousand steps for an awesome bird’s eye view over the surroundings and to admire the golden Buddha statue and pagodas.
Another cultural highlight is Wat Kaew Korawaram, located in Krabi Town. The white building looks like something from a fairy tale and the walls are covered with murals. The Phra Nang Shrine is among the province’s quirkiest attractions; the small cave is filled with penis-shaped offerings.
Tonsai Bay – Moon Party
While in the area, cruise over to Tonsai Bay and hit up a full moon party. Thailand’s full moon parties are a definite bucket-list item when you’re in Tonsai Bay. Travelers flock from all over the world for this celebration. Be sure to take a nap. You’ll be partying with lively guests over song, dance and drink under the radiant moon until the sun comes up.
Koh Phi Phi Islands
Now onto Ko Phi Phi. Situated between the provinces of Phuket and Krabi, Koh Phi Phi has long been one of the top destinations in Thailand. A small island with no cars or roads, Koh Phi has somewhat of a party reputation these days, but Maya Bay is one of the most beautiful natural sights in the country. You’ll recall this secluded bay surrounded by limestone cliffs and white sand made famous in The Beach, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Also check out Pileh Bay, a turquoise-watered bay perfect for snorkeling, and another kayak adventure to Monkey Beach to discover some native wildlife.
Phi Phi is also known for spectacular nightlife. From parties on the beach to bars with boxing rings inside, you’re never in for a dull night and you’ll always find great prices for drinks. You’ll want to hit up Ton Sai Seafood Restaurant, arguably the best beachfront joint on Phi Phi. The portions are generous, the staff are incredibly friendly, and the views are unbeatable. Book a table in the early evening to enjoy a glorious sunset while dining.
Koh Yao Yai
And now for the Koh Yao islands, consisting of Koh Yao Yai and Koh Yao Noi. They’re perfect for a day or two of exploring, relaxing and unwinding. The rice paddies, rubber plantations and buffaloes working in the field offer a glimpse into local life that not many islands provide. Tender in to rent some motorbikes to venture around the the island before a romantic dinner at the Paradise Beach Resort.
Ko Nakha Noi – Pearl Island
Naka Noi is the smaller of the two islands, and is located south of the larger island. This Island is also known as “Pearl Island”, as it is the site where rare South Sea pearls are cultivated. The Pearl Farm offers perfect conditions for producing beautiful pearls, sheltered away from the monsoon winds. A day trip or tour to the Naka Noi Pearl Farm includes a demonstration of how the pearls are farmed and extracted from the oyster. The island also has a pearl shop where you can purchase pearls of all sizes.
James Bond Island
Now it’s time to get your 007 on. Anchor at James Bond Island and take in the main feature in the James Bond 1974 film The Man with the Golden Gun. Its star Instagram-worthy attraction is the seemingly precariously standing limestone karst in the middle of the sea. There are plenty of other similar such structures in the bay which, along with their caves, can be easily explored with a kayak.
Now make the short voyage to food-infused Ko Lanta to enjoy some of Thailand’s best eats at the local restaurants. Ko Lanta’s relaxed atmosphere is guaranteed to help you unwind while devouring authentic, fragrant Thai delicacies. Notable favorites are beach-side Shanti Shanti Beach House, the romantic Fat Turtle Beach Bar & Restaurant and mega-relaxed Drunken Sailors.
When you’re ready for an even more chill vibe it’s time to venture over to Ko Muk. This small island is a blissful respite from the rest of the world. While the island is not without tourism, the fishing villages with their hard working, mostly Muslim inhabitants will make you feel like you are a part of the day-to-day life of the islanders. But don’t leave without seeing Emerald Cave – it’s a must.