A Guide to Sailing in Thailand

Thailand is a country that combines ancient and historic beauty with the very best in modern amenities and nightlife attractions. That blend of old culture and new leisure has helped to make it one of the most popular places to visit in the world.

For people looking to rest their bodies and minds with a relaxing holiday abroad, Thailand promises both spiritual uplift and fun. There are different ways to do a Thailand trip though and opting to sail a chartered boat is one that has a lot to recommend it.

We have put together this guide to let you see why sailing is a good option and what to do while you are in Thailand.

Sailing in Thailand

The chartering options

If you are new to the experience of boat chartering and sailing you may be surprised at the range on offer to you. Most boat charter companies will have more than one type of vessel available, as well as other things that you will have to decide upon.

The types of boats that are usually available for charter include:

  • Catamaran
  • Luxury sailing yacht
  • Gulet
  • Motorboat
  • Rigid inflatable boat (RIB)

You will probably be familiar with most of these, but a gulet is a traditional vessel with either two or three masts. Yachts and catamarans are by far the most frequently chartered vessels for holiday cruises.

Yachts are single hull boats that are considered more challenging and exciting to sail, while the twin hull catamarans are usually larger but easier to keep steady on the water. As well as choosing what vessel you want, you will also have to decide whether you wish to travel bareboat or with the help of a professional crew.

Booking your charter online from an established company like Borrowaboat will ensure you have that choice and an excellent selection of crafts at manageable prices. A crewed catamaran will be the sensible choice for anyone looking to sail in Thailand for the first time.

That will provide you with experienced help should any problems arise, in addition to a large and spacious vessel that affords plenty of privacy and luxury. Its stable feel will also help to prevent the vacation being ruined by seasickness.

The Benefits of Sailing

Free Ocean Waves Crashing on the Shore Stock Photo

Thailand is a series of islands, with only a few being inhabited by human beings. The rest are beautiful havens of peace and creatures like Andaman parakeets or macaque monkeys. As with any other island paradise, sailing gives you the chance to dock at one for as long as it pleases you and then travel elsewhere.

It also means that you can stay on board sometimes and try out waterskiing, snorkeling and other water-based sports. But where should you go when you do venture off the boat?


Thailand has a very warm climate and plenty of wondrous beaches to come ashore and sunbathe on, with many of them being found in Phuket. This island of mountains and rainforests is extraordinarily beautiful and one that must be visited during a sailing trip.

The western shore is where the most beloved beaches are found, including Surin Beach, Nai Harn Beach and Kata Noi Beach. There is also a Buddhist temple called Wat Chalong that can be explored if you want some spiritual succor.

Chiang Rai

This is another city that is noted for its lovely mountain scenery and can be found on the Laos/Myanmar border. Lam Nam Kok National Park is one of its finest attractions, but if a trek through that is too much like hard work, you can bask in the traditional tribal villages, mountains, forests and waterfalls.

Coral Island

There is no point in taking a Thai sailing holiday if you never get your feet wet and the aptly named Coral Island is a great place to do so. Drop anchor there and snorkel amidst the lionfish and nudibranches that dwell in the water.

It is also almost totally uninhabited, so you will have it to yourself to explore.

Similan Islands

This is an archipelago consisting of 11 different islands and is to the north of Phuket by around 62 miles. Getting there requires real expertise, so this is one to pick if you have chartered a crewed catamaran.

It is a great place to dive or to snorkel in search of turtles.


It will be good to contrast all of that watery fun on the various islands of Thailand with some time on dry land. Bangkok is the country’s capital and it is also where the most exciting nightlife can be found.

Khaosan Road is one part of the city where revelers often gather after dark, alongside Nana Plaza and Soi Cowboy. The nighttime attractions in the city range from restaurants offering top quality cuisine to classy late-night clubs that feature live jazz bands.

Be warned, the nights in Bangkok can also be quite risqué, as the city boasts a vibrant cabaret scene including shows like Tiffany’s and Calypso Cabaret. This draws visitors to the city but is definitely adults only, so if you are holidaying with children wait until they go to sleep for the night.

Thailand offers traditional culture blended with ultra-modern forms of entertainment and ranges from quiet islands to bustling cities. Cruising in a catamaran will ensure that you can switch between them as you please.