One of the best ways to enjoy the hot / dry season that reigns in Thailand from March to May is amid the water, beaches, and trade winds on the deck of a sailboat off the coastlines of the various islands and island groups in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. Though they were once activities reserved exclusively for the rich, yachting and chartered cruises are now within the reach of the average traveler (not the backpacker crowd, say, but ‘budget motel’ and above).
Beginning with the Gulf, an ideal foray into yachting culture in Thailand is aboard one of the plethora of chartered cruises that explore the waters around Koh Samui. Conditions are exceptional (particularly during the dry season), the scenery is spectacular, and many of the most secluded spots in the region are just a short cruise away.
Thailand’s second largest Island, Koh Chang, anchors an enticing archipelago accessible by boat that features some of the country’s most underappreciated destinations. Quaint fishing villages built on stilts and beautiful white sand beaches await sailors in search of solitude and a glimpse of traditional island life that remains largely unchanged.
Seafarers in search of something more social and exciting could do worse than plowing through the waters around Phuket. Limestone cliffs and palm-fringed beaches combine with year-round good conditions on the water and vibrant clubs and restaurants on the land. It’s worth mentioning that the Andaman also offers some of the best diving in the world, and there’s no better way to embark on a diving adventure than from the rails of your own personal (or chartered) yacht.