Lagoon 400 S2
- Build year:2017
- Length:39 ft
- Boat type:Catamaran
- Mainsail:Full battened
- Genoa type:Furling
A Koh Chang yacht charter is a chance to see Thailand as it was before mass tourism. The second largest island in Thaukand, it is a chance to meet Thais living their lives. With more than 50 islands in reach this is an ideal sailing destination with lots of island hopping opportunity away from the madness of mass tourism.
Part of the Mu Ko Chang National Park, Koh Chang ('Elephant Island' in Thai) and its neighbours are a perfect opportunity to see and feel a different face to the country to that you would see on the Andaman Sea. This is not a caricature of Thailand but Thailand as it was before hotels and the tourism economy changed it.
You won't find well equipped, 500 berth marinas on your Koh Chang sailing trip. In many places you won't even find an ATM let alone a grocery store. Electricity? A luxury on some islands. Get used to mooring well offshore as there is only one high and low tide a day in this part of the Gulf of Thailand - it could be a long wait if you find yourself aground. This is an under-developed area as far as Thailand tourism is concerned but for that you get something Phuket.
A Koh Chang yacht charter is about escape and exploration. As a National Park, 85% of the island remains forested. You will find the locals welcoming ,food authentic without being showy and prices honest. To get to many places you will be getting in your tender and motoring or rowing places, perhaps past villages on stilts in an estuary with your yacht well offshore. You may be the only yacht moored there - a claim made by many countries about luxury yacht charter holidaymakers but rarely achieved.
There are tourist resorts. Famous among backpackers is Lonely Beach that even today only has one or two hotels. White Sand Beach and Klong Prao Beach are other areas where you will find tourists. Closer to Cambodia than Surin Island, Koh Chang is one of those places just a step away from the beaten track.
Island hopping from Koh Chang is the name of the game on a Koh Chang motorboat trip. On your bareboat charter or skippered yacht charter you can explore islands such as Koh Wai, Koh Mak and Koh Kood. Though they have tourists visiting them, tourism isn't central to the economy like Koh Phi Phi Island on the Andaman Sea. Let's look at three of the islands.
Koh Wai hasn't even a convenience store on the island let alone a village or a municipal electricity supply! What it does have is a coral reef just off the white sand beach on the north coast where snorkelling and scuba diving is at least as good as anywhere else in Thailand. Like stepping off the face of the planet into a desert island idyll, this is a place you should stop on your sailing holiday.
Koh Mak, 20km to the south of Koh Chang Island is slightly better developed than Koh Wai insofar is that it has an ATM and an electricity supply. It has a lot of architecture put in place by wealthy Chinese families over the last 200 years. Few cars though thanks to there being no car ferry there. That means to get about (other than sailing around it) you should rent a bicycle or electric scooter. On the northwest of the island is the 2km long Suan Yai Beach where you can forget about the world and sunbathe well away from the crowds. The Wat Buddhist temple just inland from the west coast's main town is one of the best in the region.
Koh Kood (Koh Kut) is like Koh Chang, an island with a mountainous jungle interior and beaches dotted around the coast and a national park on the interior. The east coast has a population of Cambodian and Thai descendants of refugees from Pol Pot and other civil wars and have an interesting culture, and the west coast is more developed with tourist resorts. You will find rivers to explore but also solitude and a lack of development makes it one of the best unspoilt island destinations in the world. The fifth largest island in Thailand and over 20km long by 12km wide, it only has 2,500 permanent residents - hardly overcrowded! There are two rivers on the island worth exploring - with a dinghy trip and a trek you should visit Klong Chao waterfalls as a stop, while the Wat Buddhist temple near the SW corner of Koh Kut shouldn't be missed.
On a longer sailing vacation you can get across the Gulf to Samui, also underdeveloped as far as yachting is concerned but with a bit more of a buzz to it. A marina is set to be built there in the next few years but for now it is still sailingbackwater, albeit with more of a pulse as far as bars, restaurants and places to interact with other tourists is concerned!
There is no international airport on or near Koh Chang Island. You will fly into Bangkok and have to make your way south.
One of the best ways to get to the sailing charter bases is by renting a car and driving from Bangkok. You will drive to Laem Ngop where you take a car ferry to Koh Chang. The road signs are all in Thai and English and the roads are very good on the mainland so it is easy enough and an English GPS is supplied by good car rental companies.
If you don't want to drive from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (it is a long flight from Europe or the US and you could be forgiven) then you can take a Bangkok Airways connecting flight to Trat Airport on the mainland and then take a 15 minute bus or taxi to the ferry terminal. There is a ferry service to Koh Chang from there.
You can take a bus from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport to Ao Thammachat Pier and then board a passenger ferry toKoh Chang Island. One bus runs daily.
The charter company may well arrange transport for you to the charter base. If not, you can catch the ubiquitous pickup truck taxi on from the ferry port to the charter base.
While charter companies may have their own piers on which they have catamaran charter and and monohull sailing yacht charter yacht on a bareboat charter or skippered yacht charter basis, there is only one marina currently on Koh Chang.
Siam Royal View Marina
Number of berths: 75
Max Length: 30 metres (98 Feet)
Max Draught: 3 metres (9.8 Feet)
Additional facilities: Showers, electricity, water, ATM.
On your bareboat yacht charter or skippered yacht charter charter yacht, there are a wide array of sailing destinations from Koh Chang. On a longer trip you could make it all the way to Samui but here's just one week long sailing trip to consider:
7 days - Island Hopping the Archipelago: Over seven days you can take in diving, walking and river exploring opportunities around the nearest islands to Koh Chang. On your first day you will head down the west coast of Koh Chang, perhaps spending the night in a quiet anchorage. The next day you head for Koh Mak. Just offshore is a small island called Koh Kam that is an uninhabited, abandoned beach resort with some fantastic views and brilliant diving. Koh Mak is worthy of a pause, with the north coast a particular draw to sailors. Your next day is headed down to Koh Kood where you can spend a couple of days on the east and west coasts, absorbing the unique culture and beauty of the island. You then return to Koh Chang and the end of your sailing holiday.
Unlike Europe, the sailing season in the Thailand runs from November to April - perfect for a dose of winter sun. The winter monsoon is settled and you will encounter weather between 25-35 degrees C.
Within this period, between November to March you will find the winds are from the NE and rarely get over Force 4.
If you can get to Thailand outside of school holidays you will find the sailing weather at its best and the resorts less crowded. Could you consider doing a Thailand yacht charter early in the Southwest Monsoon? It is quieter in May - July, though this is the beginning of the rainy season that intensifies in July and runs right through til October.
North East Monsoon: Thanks to being on the Equator the winds in Thailand never get too strong in the sailing season. Expects winds of F2-4 from the NE and it to be generally dry.
Southwest Monsoon: This runs from May to October and is the rainy season in this part of the world. Between May and July, expect winds up to F6 and changeable, and rain anything from every afternoon (or none at all) to solidly for your two weeks. Between July and October this is storm season with cyclones hitting the country and rain being almost guaranteed.
The main points to consider are what is your budget, have you got the necessary sailing experience and qualifications to manage the boat if it's not going to have a skipper, whom you are taking sailing, where exactly you wish to go and what will the weather be like on the proposed dates of your trip. On a Koh Chang yacht charter you need to think of provisioning ahead - the charter company will supply on request.
The Siam Royal View Marina is the best on the Gulf of Thailand for 200km. It has 75 berths and mooring for yachts of up to 30m in length with excellent marina facilities.
It is possible to sail out of Koh Chang year round. While the best time is between November and February during the Northeast Monsoon, you can enjoy your sailing vacation from the Island as late as May in the early stages of the southwest monsoon.
You will typically pay 50% up front on booking the yacht hire and the balance on arrival. You will either pay a security deposit with your credit card on departure or can get insurance covering damage in advance. In some cases (such as the recent Covid situation) charter companies may be more flexible but this depends on the individual charter companies themselves.
If you are at sea and in danger, call MAYDAY on VHF Ch16 or ring the coast guard on your phone if you have reception. If you have a mechanical fault and can make it to or are on a mooring you will be able to phone a help line number given by the boat charter company.
You should consider do you have the experience to handle the yacht charter or boat hire before you book and where do you want to go along with what the weather will be like. Dress for warm weather but do have something for tropical rains - light but waterproof.
If you want to sail without a skipper then you will need relevant qualifications like RYA Day Skipper/International Certificate of Competence (ICC)/ASA 104 Bareboat certificate or the US Sailing Certificate. For small 'day boats' or if you choose to have a skipper on board your yacht charter you typically don't require licences.
The main points to consider are what is your budget, have you got the necessary sailing experience and qualifications to manage the boat if it's not going to have a skipper, whom you are taking sailing, where exactly you wish to go and what will the weather be like on the proposed dates of your trip.
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