Introducing the Malay Peninsula
Taking in the long narrow stretch of southern Thailand, part of Myanmar and mainland Malaysia to the southern tip of Asia, the Malay Peninsula is packed with beautiful beaches and small offshore islands that attract land-based holidaymakers and yacht charterers alike. The sailing out of the Thai island of Phuket is fabulous; northwards into the Andaman Sea as far as the Similan Islands, south to Langkawi and northern Malaysia, and all along this jungle-covered coast dotted with interesting places to uncover.
Across the peninsula is the Gulf of Thailand where there are less crowds, charter sailing is equally invigorating and the scenery just as fabulous. And sailing out of Koh Samui or Koh Chang can be somewhat less expensive too!
Even in the face of modernity and the thriving tourism industry, the traditional South-East Asia lifestyle survives. You just need to get out of the larger cities to find it. There is no better way to do just that than by climbing aboard your own charter boat and sailing with the wind into a quite magical place. Along the way learn first-hand that all the picture-postcard imagery is real. On arrival at some quiet spot, linger a while to take in the peace and calmness of the local way of life, and enjoy just about the warmest welcome a stranger can expect anywhere.
The beaches and islands of Thailand, Malaysia and Myanmar's Mergui Archipelago are some of the very best around, and when you see them you'll believe it. From the white sand inviting you to laze in luxury to the enticing water and the stunning scenery that frames it all, you'll find this charter sailing region irresistible. And there's a surprise around every corner. Whether you want to join a lively crowd and party, escape to a remote and tranquil cove to reflect on life, or or just lay undisturbed and soak up the sun, there's a seaside spot awaiting your visit.
Southeast Asia has it all, and at very competitive prices. Visit local villages and the tropical hinterland, swim, snorkel and dive in the clear blue waters, or just laze away the time afloat.
Weather & Sailing Conditions in South East Asia
The South East Asian climate is controlled by the cycle of north east and south west monsoons. It's a year-round sailing holiday destination, with each region having its peak season depending on the time of year.
On the western side of the Malay peninsula, the sailing grounds from the Andaman Sea down to northern Malaysia are most popular from November to April, when the temperatures are perfect and the winds moderate offshore. The skies are usually clear and the waters sheltered. As the seasons start to change, the heat rises to peak just before the south west monsoon arrives in May, bringing with it the rainy season. By now the winds are onshore and the islands less sheltered. The shoulder seasons of April/May and September/October, with less crowds and better deals, are generally good for sailing, with period of rain usually being of short duration.
To the east in the Gulf of Thailand, the SE Asian landmass creates two distinct seasons that complement each other. So much so that the same fleets alternate between Koh Chang to the north and Koh Samui to the south. Koh Chang's peak sailing season is November to April, just like that of Phuket/Langkawi, with similar conditions as the north easterlies blow moderately. While the area around Koh Chang is enjoying peak season, at Koh Samui there is more wind and fewer sheltered anchorages. In May, the prevailing winds have begun to turn southwest and the boats have been shifted south. The high peninsula lands keep the rain at bay, and the beautiful and largely undiscovered Samui archipelago is the pace to go sailing. Until the monsoon cycle begins once more.
A Word about Scuba Diving
The unspoiled waters along the Malay Peninsula's western coastline provide some of the best scuba diving anywhere. There are some great dive spots in the Gulf of Thailand too. And while you can snorkel at every opportunity from your charter yacht, you just may wish to go deeper.
If you've had so much of a good thing aboard that you fancy a change of scenery, dive underwater to the extent of your ability for some of the most amazing sub-aqua adventures you could expect anywhere. Whatever your level of diving expertise you can enjoy this underwater world at its finest, swimming free in clear tropical waters just waiting to be discovered.
There are numerous world-class dive sites in the Andaman Sea and elsewhere around South-east Asia's sailing regions. Plan ahead, and take advantage of all the natural environment has to offer. Diving gear is readily available for hire, as are professional-standard courses if you have the time and inclination. You won't be sorry.