Cruise in the Andaman Sea from Phuket to the Malaysian border and back - November 2015


I was lucky to have spent two fabulous weeks with my clients and friends aboard a 48 ft (14,5 m) luxury catamaran cruising the warm Andaman Sea. Apart from the nine of us there was a skipper, deck-hand and a chef. All three of them Thai, all soooo helpful and nice. Our stomachs were taken care of more than well. Three meals plus snacks as well as soft drinks, local beers and spirits were included throughout our stay. Lunches and dinners were always at least three course meals – a dish with fish or seafood, a dish with chicken, beef or pork and a vegetarian one. The snacks were most often local fruits – pineapples, mangos, etc. but also apples or cookies. Ice was plentiful and the four fridges aboard were doing a good job.

The cruise started in Chalong Bay, Phuket, Thailand. We had boarded at lunchtime and left the anchorage immediately. Within an hour we were away from the crowd, and enjoyed swimming and snorkelling in a quiet bay. Soon after this our first sumptuous lunch was served.

We visited the islands south of Phuket, up to the Malaysian border. We had a dinner at the popular Phi Phi Island and climbed there to the viewpoint. A breath-taking view was the compensation for over 1200 steps leading there. We sailed past Maya Beach on Phi Phi Lee, where the movie "The Beach" was set.

From there we continued sailing to the large, 30 km by 6 km Koh Lanta island. We anchored close to the pier at the Old Town and enjoyed a fine dinner in one of the waterfront restaurants. The next day some of us went scuba diving with a local company to the famous dive sites of Koh Haa. The rest of us sailed to a nearby island with great areas for snorkelling.

Our next stop was Koh Rok. These are actually two islands – Koh Rok Nai and Koh Rok Nok. There was a safe anchorage in the passage between the two islands. Care had to be taken not to drop the anchor onto the corals. There we enjoyed a barbeque on the beach. The fish we caught on our way to Koh Rok tasted simply great. We actually had fresh fish on the menu several times. We caught mahi mahis twice and tunas three times. The crystal clear waters around Koh Rok are ideal for snorkelling or diving. It is also possible to climb up to a view point, which is not too high and the path is not steep.

From Koh Rok we sailed to Koh Muk. On the way there we encountered heavy rain resulting in us being completely alone in the Emerald Cave. The Emerald Cave or in local language ‘Tham Morakot’ at Ko Muk is a fascinating lagoon, hidden in the middle of the island! The access to this amazing lagoon resembling the inside of a volcano is through a tunnel.  You actually have to swim about 80m through the dark tunnel. A torch can be useful as can a dry bag for your camera to take photos inside the island. The moment when you emerge from the tunnel on a relatively large sandy beach, with the lush tropical vegetation around you and a circle of blue sky above your head will stay in your memory for a long time. This place was said to be used by the pirates and smugglers to hide their booty.

The national park of Tarutao and Butang islands were the anchorages we perhaps liked the best. On Tarutao we made a trip with our dinghy and one sea kayak to the mangrove river. The two sea kayaks on board were really good fun at the anchorages. On the way further south we stopped shortly at Koh Bitsi where we visited the 'Lover's Gate'. The legend has it that a couple which walks through this natural rock arch will love each other forever ;-) We stayed one night at Kod Lipe, where we spent the evening on the lively shore. Our ladies were into shopping and everybody liked the restaurants and many enjoyed the authentic Thai massage. The next morning we climbed a bit of a demanding path to the Koh Adang viewpoint. The view reminded us of an aerial one and was terrific!

The next two days and nights were simply fantastic. Anchoring between Butang and Rawi islands with no resorts around and the clear water appealed to all of us. Snorkelling and kayaking was our main past time, while our chef made sure we don't lose any weight. The evenings with the brilliant stars over our heads and a guitar or just silence, with only the murmur of the sea cannot be surpassed...

The two weeks passed like a dream. Everybody is thinking about coming back someday soon. Should the next cruise lead us perhaps to the deserted islands and beaches of the Mergui Archipelago in Myanmar?