Sailing Area SE Phuket → Phi Phi, Lanta, etc.
The footage for this video is courtesy of Dieter Dongprajahn, owner and skipper of sailing catamaran Nakamal
Sailing Area SE Phuket → Koh Phi Phi
The Phi Phi Islands are a picturesque archipelago located a day sail east of Phuket. Probably best known as the location for the movie The Beach, the six Phi Phi Islands has the same cliffs, caves, forests, mountains and an abundance of marine life that made this a place that people would want to spend months of their lives. The main island of Koh Phi Phi Don and the second largest Koh Phi Phi Leh is easily accessible by scheduled tour catamarans and speedboats from Phuket and Koh Lanta, but having the benefit of a sailing yachts gives participants more possibilities and freedom for their holiday excursion.
Koh Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh
Koh Phi Phi Don is the main island and the only one with permanent inhabitants. Muslim fishermen populated the island in the late 1940’s in order to use it as a coconut plantation. Nowadays, the island is best known for tourism, particularly in the diving industry. Something that sets Phi Phi apart from other larger tourist islands is that there us no motorized transport. With that said, should you want to spend time on the island the main forms of transport are longtail boats, bicycles and, of course, your own two feet.
As mentioned before, Koh Phi Phi is easily accessible and is often on the top of the list in terms of a travel itinerary. With some of the main beaches covered in sunbathers by mid-morning, you can take advantage of the space you have at your fingertips by relaxing on the sailing yacht in beanbags. Anchoring in Lanah Bay well off shore because of the shallow coral beds is an option when arriving late from Krabi during the NE monsoon season. Arriving from Phuket, the best anchorages during NE monsoon are Ao Yongkasem and Ton Sai Bay. Please note, that Ton Sai Bay can be very busy during high season. During the SW monsoon good anchorage is off shore in front of the Holiday Inn Resort. Tong Sai Bay is secure during both seasons. From either of those places, you can use the dinghy and explore some of the lesser-frequented beaches of Phi Phi Don.
Koh Phi Phi Leh was the filming location of The Beach and remains mostly untouched, as it is uninhabited. However, Maya Beach is a very popular destination and by 9am, the beach is usually shoulder-to-shoulder with tourists! It is best visited during early morning or early evening so you can avoid the rush should you want to enjoy this beautiful area. Returning to a more secure anchoring point for the night in Tong Sai Bay is advisable; however during the NE monsoon season mooring is available at the mouth of Maya Bay.
Diving in the Phi Phi Islands
The Phi Phi islands are probably best known for the diving opportunities. Some of the sailing yachts have the option to include diving on your expedition. Having the sailing yacht enable to navigate to prime diving spots can be beneficial for quiet dives during non-peak hours when the dive sites are getting crowded by dive operators from Phuket. Koh Pida Nok and Koh Pida Nai is a small island that is comprised within the Phi Phi archipelago and is known for the beautiful coral and leopard sharks. Shark Point is made up of three pinnacles covered with soft coral and sea fans makes this another popular spot for divers. The passenger vessel King Cruiser sunk in 1997 and has become a popular dive site. The limestone pinnacles, tropical fish and sea anemones add to already impressive wreck site. In addition to the diving, the Phi Phi Islands have plenty of good snorkeling for those who want to see the marine life at shallower depths.
The Phi Phi Islands have a plethora of things to offer for all sailors and participants. Island Cruises will be pleased to work with you in terms of getting the best option for your tour – bareboat charter or crewed yacht charter.
Sailing Area SE of Phuket → Koh Lanta
The twin islands of Koh Lanta which located about 45 nautical miles from Phuket are 14 nm from north to south forming a protected bay on the east side during the SW monsoon and provide acceptable over night anchorage on the west side during NE monsoon. In addition to the two main islands, ‘Koh Lanta Noi’ (‘Small Koh Lanta’) and ‘Koh Lanta Yai’ (Big Koh Lanta’), there is a small cluster of additional islands where mooring is possible – Koh Mook, Koh Rok and Koh Hah.
Koh Lanta Noi and Koh Lanta Yai
Koh Lanta is often a lesser-known destination on the main tourist map. Although there is direct access to Koh Lanta on passenger ferries, during the low season, the ferries are infrequent. The west coast has plenty of anchorage during the NE monsoon and you can anchor safely anywhere within 10 meters along the coast. There is no anchoring possible during the SW monsoon. In the southernmost accessible beach Waterfall Beach is another good holding place close to shore. On the eastern coast, Koh Po offers good protection during the SW monsoon.
Sailing Area SE Phuket → Koh Rok
Another smaller island located south of Koh Lanta and 56 miles SE from Phuket, Koh Rok is known for the clear water and excellent diving. Containing a few beaches and cottages and camping grounds, Koh Rok is for those who want to live a simpler existence on their holiday. The small beaches of Sarn Chao, Laem Thong and Ao Marn Sai have access to swimming and snorkeling. The northern part of the island contains a deep-water channel but it is shallow at the rims where there are magnificent corals and fish species. Kong Hin Muang and Kong Hin Daeng are underwater rocks southeast of Koh Rok Nok and Koh Rok Naia deep-water diving spot with magnificent young corals and sea animals.
Sailing Area SE Phuket → Koh Mook
Koh Mook is located just SE of Koh Lanta and about 57 miles from Phuket. Koh Mook (or sometimes referred to as Koh Muk) has good anchorage in the west in Tham Morokot. The shoreline to the north and the south has many crevices and caves which is great for dinghy exploration. One of the main highlights that makes Koh Mook special is the Emerald Cave. This is an 80m passageway leading to an enclosed cathedral-like hong with a diameter of 60m. The walls are covered with rich green foliage and when the light hits the greenery, there is an emerald glow. Please avoid using the engine of your dinghy inside the cave or go by Kayak as not to disturb the bat population.
Sailing Area SE Phuket → Koh Hah
Koh Hah can be a divers’ paradise. Koh Hah is actually a cluster of 5 islands about 13 nm west of Koh Lanta or 40 miles from Ao Chalong in Phuket and has several places for good diving. With a large variety of marine life, good visibility and warm waters, divers can enjoy this unspoiled environment. Koh Hah Yai has a series of caves with a bunch of overhanging stalactites. The type of diving that can be done around the islands of Koh Hah is acceptable for beginners and advanced levels. Koh Hah is not suitable as an over night anchorage, except in very calm weather.
With the large variety of small beaches, great snorkeling and diving, and trekking on Koh Lanta and the surrounding areas, this part of Thailand should be on any true travelers itinerary. Having your own bareboat charter or crewed carter from Phuket is one of the best ways to experience all of the highlights these islands have to offer.