1. Koh Tapu (Nail Island)/ Koh Phing Kan (James Bond Island)
This popular tourist destination welcomes hundreds daily who gawk at the sights and shop for trinkets, but when cruising on a private charter yacht, you can visit this sough-after destination just after sunrise to have the place all to yourself. Remember “The Man with the Golden Gun”? It was filmed here and if you’re there before the tourist crowd, you can soak in the impressive scenery and enjoy a refreshing morning swim before the hustle and bustle, then return to the yacht for a martini. Shaken, not stirred!
2. Koh Rang Yai
It’s easy to while away a couple of hours on this spectacular island by lounging in the sand or taking a dip. Best time to visit after 3 p.m. when solitude returns to the island. Bring your credit card ashore if you’re into shopping for pearls. Recently a stunning South Sea Pearl necklace was on sale at the island’s pearl farm shop priced at 200,000 Thai Baht (or $5,600), which is almost a bargain!
3. Koh Chong Lat
The northern channel is used as an overnight anchorage during the annual Phang Nga Bay Regatta, which is held close to Chinese New Year. If you choose to drop anchor here during this time, you’ll be neighbors with 40-plus other yachts. Any other time of the year, yours likely will be the only yacht around for miles. The sheer limestone cliffs of Koh Chong Lat provide a stunning backdrop to sip sunset cocktails and be tempted by artisanal canapés prepared by your five-star chef. It doesn’t get much more relaxing.
4. Koh Yao Noi
Stop here while island hopping by kayak or your yacht’s tender and trek by land to the island’s local village. This remote island beach location is nestled under picturesque limestone cliffs and is virtually day-tourist free. There is a luxury, eco-friendly resort here called Paradise @ Koh Yao. Indulge in relaxation by booking a massage or a seaside yoga class. The resort also has several restaurants offering excellent health-conscious cuisine. Sundowners bar is the perfect spot to sip local cocktails while enjoying live music.
5. Koh Hong/Koh Kudu
Choosing between Koh Hong and Koh Kudu is tough choice, but since the islands are only about a mile apart, you can do both! Koh Hong has a large and pretty spectacular “hong” (Thai word for “room”), a lagoon in a massive chamber open to the sky, which you can enter on foot at a low tide. Koh Kudu has more “hongs” that you can explore by dinghy or kayak. The yacht’s crew is well versed in the area and can provide a tour. At dusk you often can see huge bats flying out to the mainland.
Luxury yacht charters in Thailand can cost anywhere from $22,000 per week and up for a sailing yacht, to $65,000 and up for a motor yacht. You can charter a speedy motor yacht to get to your destination quickly or a slower sailing yacht to unwind, and appreciate the voyage just as much as the destination. Either way, enjoy the scenery along the way and stop wherever you like, as south Thailand and Phang Nga Bay offer island hopping at its best. For more information on chartering in Asia, please contact [email protected]