With is countless miles of stunning palm and sand-fringed coastline, Thailand’s island destinations provide the perfect base from which to explore the beauty of the ocean – above and below the shimmering surface of the water.
Thailand’s sparkling, turquoise oceans definitely rate high among its natural assets and the welcoming waters keep international visitors coming back to the Kingdom year after year.
Whether you fancy trying an exhilarating sport such as jet skiing or something a little more laid back, like kayaking, you’re spoilt for choice in Phuket and Koh Samui.
Guests staying at a private villas with the beach just a stone’s throw away can plan a whole host of maritime adventures during their island holiday.
Below are a few ideas of how you can make the best of Thailand’s ocean treasures.
If you’re an eco-conscious traveller, then perhaps a green means of sea transport – such as kayaking – is an ideal way to explore. Kayaking offers you the unique opportunity to get up close with an array of Thailand’s diverse natural ecosystems without having an impact on the environment. If you’re staying on Koh Samui, the expansive web of atolls in the Ang Thong National Marine Park will provide you an endless playground, while in Phuket the hidden caves and lagoons of Phang Nga Bay are right on your doorstep – albeit a short boat ride away. If you’re staying in one of Thailand’s beachfront private villas, a gentle paddle up and down the local beach is a daily option, many properties even come with their own kayaks that you can use whenever you like.
Under the Sea
If you haven’t earned your PADI diving licence but can’t wait to get a glimpse of Thailand’s magical underwater world, then snorkelling is the activity for you. Once again, many private villas come fully-equipped with snorkelling gear for you and the rest of the family to use as and when you wish. If you’re in Phuket, Coral and Bon islands, a short boat ride from the east coast, offer an ideal snorkelling excursion. Over on Koh Samui, Ang Thong National Marine Park is once again the top choice for a spot of snorkelling.
Deep Sea Mission
If you’re already qualified to dive, then Thailand is one of the finest destinations to explore the underwater world in Southeast Asia. If not, then you’ll be pleased to learn that the islands are home to plethora of reputable diving schools where you can take your PADI license. Once you’re qualified, a kaleidoscope of colourful coral and diverse marine life awaits you just below the surface of the ocean. One of the best ways to see what Thailand’s underwater world has on offer is to book onto a diving excursion, travelling by boat will take you out to a selection of the best dive sites. Koh Tao (which translates to ‘Turtle Island’) is one of the best places to scuba dive if you’re based on the Gulf side of Thailand, whereas the Phi Phi islands offer a splendid underwater display if you’re staying on Phuket.
A Quick Paddle
If you like taking on new physical challenges, then perhaps paddle boarding is the ideal way to explore Thailand’s ocean. Stand up paddle boarding – known as SUP – is quickly becoming one of the most popular watersports around the world. Even if you’ve never done it before it’s quick and easy to pick up the basics. Tourist hubs like Chaweng Beach on Koh Samui and Patong in Phuket offer places to rent equipment, or even book yourself a beginners’ lesson. If you charter a boat for the day, your package may even include paddle boarding equipment so you can explore the coast once you’ve dropped anchor.
Sail the Seas
Thanks to friendly trade winds and plenty of warm sunshine, sailing is one of the best ways to enjoy Thailand’s spectacular seas. Phuket boasts four world class marinas providing the perfect base to charter a yacht and explore the ocean scene. The island is widely recognised as one of Southeast Asia’s hubs when it comes to yachting and cruising. The whole of Phang Nga Bay awaits for shorter trips, while the Similan Islands are a longer sail away for those that want a memorable voyage to remote islands. Over in the Gulf of Thailand, islands like Koh Tao and Koh Phangan are popular for sailing day trips from Koh Samui or you can take a little longer and stay overnight for some island fun and activities.