Southeast Asia- Thailand

Essential information

Phuket

Location

Our Phuket base is located at the new Ao Po Grand Marina near Ao Po Bay.
Ao Po Grand Marina has the benefit of 24 hour access independent of the tide. It is also ideally situated at the gateway to stunning Phang Nga Bay and is conveniently close to Phuket's major facilities (15 minutes from the airport) and holiday destinations.

Contact details

Ao Po Grand Marina
113/1 Moo 6
Tambon Paklok
Amphur Thalang
Phuket 83110
Thailand

Open hours

The office is open throughout the year, seven days a week from 8am-5pm.

VHF radio watch channel 72 (from 8am-5pm).

Base/shore facilities

Water and electricity are available on the berths at the base and there is a deep water fuel dock. Some of the marina shore facilities are still under development and when finished will include all the usual facilities such as a small supermarket, bars and restaurants. Showers and toilets are available. There are several restaurants and two nearby resorts for those wishing to spend a night ashore before and after their charter.

Arrival and departure

Airport parking

Save up to 30 percent when you book your airport parking through us. Please call us for more details.

Airport hotels

We have preferential rates at many hotels at the UK’s major airports. Please call us for more details.

Time difference

Thailand is +7 hours ahead of the UK.

Flights

Gatwick information: 0844 335 1802

Heathrow information: 0870 000 0123

Manchester information: 0871 271 0711

Luton information: 0158 240 5100

Glasgow information: 0870 040 0008

Luggage

Luggage allowance is 20kg per person. Only one item of hand luggage per person is allowed and this must not weigh more than 5kg. For storage aboard we recommend travelling light and using soft or folding luggage.

Lost or damaged luggage whilst flying is the responsibility of the airline and is not covered by your travel insurance. Thomson Airways carries no liability for loss or damage to valuable or fragile items packed in hold baggage however caused. You must not include in checked baggage money, jewellery, precious metals, computers, personal electronic devices, negotiable papers, securities or other valuables, business documents, passports and other identification documents or samples.

Alcohol may be taken on flights but only in checked luggage (well secured from breakages) not as hand luggage due to airport security restrictions.

Incidents

If an incident occurs, immediately report it to airport officials and ensure Property Irregularity Reports (PIR) are completed. Claims will not be considered once you have left the airport.

Pre-booking

If you are taking our Thomson Airways flights and wish to enquire about pre booking seats please call the airline direct on 0844 871 1603. Group seats are available for pre booking through Sunsail. Call the team for more details. Please note: Thomson Airways are unable to provide a priority check-in service for your inbound flight. This service operates at London Gatwick outbound only.

Airport

Bangkok Savarnabhumi Airport

Savarnabhumi Airportis is approximately 16 miles east of the city centre. From Savarnabhumi, you will require the domestic terminal for your connection to Phuket Airport.

Savarnabhumi Airport offers banking and a selection of bureau de change, bars, coffee shops and restaurants as well as duty free and souvenir shoping. International departure taxes are now included in the price of the flight ticket.

Phuket Airport

Phuket Airport is approximately 30 minutes from the base. Facilities include bureau de change, duty free and merchandise shops, a post office and restaurants.

Transfers

On arrival in Phuket, a transfer from the airport to the base can be arranged. If you would like to use this service, we just need your flight number and arrival details prior to departure for Phuket Airport. There will then be a Sunsail driver waiting for you with a Sunsail board to bring you directly to the Marina.

Transfers from Phuket Airport to the base takes 25 minutes and can be arranged on request.

The approximate cost of a taxi for up to four people is THB 650 each way and a a minibus for up to nine people is about THB 900 each way each way.

The Airport taxis generally do not know where the Sunsail office is in the Ao Po Marina and clients may be dropped off at the wrong place and sometimes even the wrong marina.

If your holiday is flight exclusive, we request that you send your travel arrangements to us prior to departure so we can assist with transfer details where required.

Please note: guests arriving separately should bring a copy of the charter contract/invoice.

Check in/out charges

Check out of Phuket

On a weekday for one to five people: THB 5,000

On a weekday for six to 10 people: THB 5,500

On a weekend for one to five people: THB 6,000

On a weekend for six to 10 people: THB 6,500

Check into Phuket

On a weekday for one to five people: THB 5,500

On a weekday for six to 10 people: THB 6,000

On a weekend for one to five people: THB 6,500

On a weekend for six to 10 people: THB 7,000

Luggage

We would highly recommend packing prescription medicine and essential clothing (swimsuit, t-shirt and shorts) in your hand luggage as occasionally your luggage may arrive at the base after you do.

Please pack using soft-sided bags, as these are easier to store on your yacht.

Passport and visas

Please ensure your passport is valid for the period of travel and for six months after you return. Your passport name must match the name on the flight ticket otherwise you may not be able to travel and insurance may be invalid.

If your child is not already included on a valid British Passport they are required to hold their own passport.

Visas not required for British passport holders for visits less than 30 days. For longer duration holidays you should obtain a visa from the Thai Consulate. You should apply, enclosing a stamped addressed envelope, to the Visa Dept, Royal Embassy, 29-30 Queen’s Gate, London, SW7 5JB.

Non-British passport holders, please contact your local consulate for advice on visa and passport requirements.

Please note country entry/exit requirements are subject to change. Please check www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice for the latest information before you leave.

We are not responsible for any requirement changes.

Customs and immigration

Before leaving the airport, you will have to clear immigration and customs. A landing card will be given to you on the plane, along with a customs declaration form. Airlines will assume no liability for perishable articles, e.g. food, which may also be confiscated by customs.

On arrival

Charters can start and finish on any day of the week and all charters commence at 4pm on the first day and finish at 9am on the last day. However, we always try to be as flexible as possible and we are happy for clients to contact the base prior to arrival as the yacht may be available earlier so that they may board early.

All boats are prepared as per the booking for boarding time. All clients will receive an individual yacht and chart briefing. This will take up to two hours so you need to allow plenty of time. You will not be permitted to leave without adequate briefing.

The latest that a Sunsail yacht can depart from the marina is 5pm as the nearest anchorage is half an hour away and all yachts must be anchored by 5.30pm. The area and yacht briefings take up to an hour each and provisioning shopping will take around three hours including taxi transfers.

Therefore if you wish to depart on the day your charter starts you should arrive no later than noon if you are doing your own provisioning, or 3pm if you have provisioned online.

Briefings

These are carried out individually for each yacht and are mandatory for all clients. The chart brief describes the cruising area and any potential hazards. The yacht briefing introduces you to your yacht and its systems and rigging. It is important that all systems and equipment are fully understood.

Out of hours arrival procedure

If you are arriving after 5pm and have requested a transfer you will be met by a member of staff and shown to your yacht. If we have no arrival details and we have not heard from you by 5pm we will put a sign on the door stating your yacht name, location and also the base managers contact number. The yacht will be lit up and have an information sheet listing what is available at the base such as toilets, showers, restaurants, etc.

On departure

You have to disembark by 9am on your last day but it is not essential to return to base the day before as there are anchorages within 30 minutes of the marina. We will always try to allow you to return later than the 9am finish time so you should avoid booking flights that depart before noon on your last day.

Before departing your boat, a member of staff will give you a debrief.

The debrief is to let us know if you have encountered any problems with the boat or lost or broken anything during the trip, this enables us to rectify problems for the next charter.

We also ask that you to bag dirty laundry and leave in the cockpit, empty all cupboards and refrigerator of food and throw away any perishables, return snorkel gear and any extra life jackets and ensure that the boat is handed back to Sunsail in a clean and tidy state. We reserve the right to charge for boats left less than shipshape.

Sailing information

Sailing experience: Level 2 from November to April and Level 3 from May to October.

Experience levels are based on sailing conditions and the length of passages within your chosen sailing area. Follow the link for more information on the sailing conditions.

Get more information on Phuket's sailing conditions.

Sailing licences

Although no formal sailing certifications are required for pleasure craft sailing or cruising in Thailand, it is strongly recommended that you bring any certificates or license that you may have with you. This may be useful should you be contacted by customs or Port Police.

Formalities and taxes

A valid passport and crew list is compulsory for clearance. Crew list for clearance must show date of issue of passports.

Cruising permits

The fee for clearing in and out between Malaysia and Thailand is THB 250 per person, plus THB 200 RM per yacht.

Night time sailing

Night sailing is only permitted when making long offshore passages that cannot be completed in daylight hours. Any night sailing must be approved in advance by the Base manager and you must depart and be clear of all obstructions at least 30 minutes before sunset and arrive at your destination at least 30 minutes after sunrise.

Cruising area limits

During the NE season the cruising area includes the Surin and Similan Islands and all Thai Waters down to Koh Tarutaoand the Butang islands in the South. Yachts cannot cross the border in to Myanmar/Burma under any circumstances. During the SW monsoon, The Surin islands, and anchorages on the West coast of Phuket cannot be used. The cruising area has a tidal range of three metres at high water springs. 

Clients will be asked to complete a waiver of responsibility form prior to departure from the base if intending to cruise to the Similan or Surin islands.

The Sunsail 4-Hour Guarantee applies when within 30 sailing miles distance from the base.

Mooring fees and taxes

THB 200 per person per night when cruising in national park areas. THB 400 per person per night, plus THB 400 per yacht per night when visiting the Similan or Surin Islands National Park which are accessible only from November to April.

Overnight stops need to be at anchor as the mooring boys are not well maintained.

One way cruising between Thailand and Malaysia

It is now possible to sail from Thailand to Malaysia (and vice versa) on a one way charter. Clients can pick up the yacht from the base at Phuket and sail one way to the base on Langkawi in Malaysia or start in Langkawi and finish in Phuket. Distance is approximately 150 nautical miles door to door, however most 10 day charters cover 200-240 miles.

The absolute minimum duration for a one way charter is 10 days. You must allow one day checking out of Thailand and one day to check into Malaysia when sailing from Phuket to Langkawi and one day to check out of Malaysia and two days to check into Thailand when sailing from Langkawi to Phuket.

A one way supplement is payable in advance on all one-way charters and guests will be required to pay customs, harbour and immigration fees. Please check at the time of booking for the current charges.

Charts and pilot book

All the charts you will need and a pilot book for the sailing area written by the base manager are on board the yacht.

The pilot book is available in advance via email from the base.

Skippered charter information

The skipper’s time is booked from 12pm-12pm in 24-hour periods. If you have reserved a skipper for the first day of your charter and have a 6pm start, he or she will use this time to ensure they are happy with all aspects of the yacht and will be at the base to meet you upon your arrival. If you've reserved a skipper for a later date on your charter they will start at 12pm on that day.

The skipper is responsible for the safety of the yacht at all times. They are not permitted to dive with you, nor leave the vessel overnight. He or she must conduct a safety brief with you before leaving the dock regardless of the duration of the contract with you.

For “check out charters” (anything less than the full duration of the charter) the check out skipper’s time is booked from 6pm-6pm to allow for a meet and greet in the evening and go over basic systems, then a full day with you the next day.

The skipper is required to give you a thorough briefing on all aspects of the yacht and dinghy in addition to assisting you with planning an itinerary for the trip and advising you how to contact the base, the return to base procedures and the emergency assistance procedures. We suggest that you attend the scheduled chart brief that will be supplemented by the skipper during his or her time with you on the yacht. We also suggest that you make it clear exactly what you want to cover: anchoring, docking, etc.

The skipper fee does not include food or beverages for the skipper and this is your responsibility. We suggest that you discuss this on the first day with your skipper and establish whether you'll provide cash for meals, whether you've included him or her in your provisioning or whether you'll accommodate him or her as part of the group for meals ashore.

The skipper must have his or her own cabin. We prefer not to put the skipper in the bow due to the shared head and size of the cabin. If you expect your skipper to stay in the bow, please let us know well in advance so that we can choose the appropriate (small) skipper.

For one-day check out skippers, it's your responsibility to get the skipper back to the base. If you prefer not to come back to the base you must pay all expenses (ferry, taxi, etc.) to get him or her back to the base.

The average tip for a skipper is 15-20 percent of the skipper’s fee. This is, of course, at your discretion.

Fuel

Approximately THB 38 per litre

Cool boxes

One 40-litre ice box is included with all yachts at no additional charge. Please return them clean and undamaged otherwise you will be charged for replacement. Extra ice boxes are available at the base on a first come first served basis at a cost of THB 50 per day.

Banks and money exchange

Currency

The unit of currency in Thailand is the Baht (THB).

Money changing facilities are available at the airport and in most medium sized towns. We recommend that sufficient money is changed before departing into the cruising area. The average would be THB 1000 per person per day.

The airport is easiest and there are banks and ATM machines at the Tesco supermarket. There are moneychangers at Ao Nang Beach and on Phi-Phi, although the exchange rates may not be so good.

Credit card information

Credit cards are accepted only at larger restaurants and resorts.

Currency can be exchanged commission free at any high street TUI retail travel agent on production of your Sunsail invoice. You can pre-order your currency from a TUI travel agent by telephoning them in advance on 0870 9005154 to find your nearest branch.

General information

Language

The official language is Thai, and English is widely spoken.

Cost of living in Thailand

Prices vary from restaurant to restaurant, however the following is a guide for your reference.

A bottle of wine costs from about THB 500 in a supermarket and at least twice that in a restaurant. A bottle of beer costs about THB 35-45 in a supermarket and from THB 80 up to THB 150 in a restaurant. Good quality Thai food can cost as little as THB 200 per course in a local restaurant, while a meal in a resort can cost anything from THB 1000 per person and more.

Restaurants

The Quarterdeck Bar & Restaurant at the Marina waterfront opened in October 2009 and serves Thai and international cuisine. Saturday night: enjoy all you can eat sunset barbecue. Open daily from 8.30am until late.

The Happy Hut Restaurant at the inland lake (Thai food). Pontoon access and transportation with golf buggies and hand trolleys convenient car parking.

Free wireless Internet access for berth holders.

Eating out

This can be extremely good value. If you eat at a local food stall you can get a meal for as little as THB 100 per person. Even eating in local restaurants you generally pay less than THB 200 per course for delicious Thai food. Alcohol is generally more expensive than food. A small bottle of beer is about THB 80 and a reasonable bottle of wine about THB 1000.

Thai food is all cooked to order using fresh ingredients and lots of chilli. It is quite easy to ask for the meal to be made a little less spicy for western tastes. Seafood features on every menu with chicken, pork and beef also available as well as great vegetarian food. Rice and noodles are also main staples but western food is also easily available.

Tipping

Tipping is not expected in restaurants and bars but if you wish to do so 10-15 percent of the amount charged is ample.

Shopping

Jatujak Market, the biggest market in Phuket has over 1,000 stalls. On Chaofa West Road from Central Shopping Mall, head south toward Chalong Bay, turn left at the first traffic light. Opening hours are Saturday and Sunday from 4.30pm-8.30pm. This is a typical Thai bazaar, featuring everything from fish to clothing.

Thai silk is on the top of most visitors’ shopping lists. It is sold in a range of colours, and in various widths, lengths and thicknesses, or as bespoke products such as shirts, blouses, men's suits and ladies’ silk jackets, bedcovers and furnishings. Some of the most popular silk items in Phuket include handkerchiefs, scarves, pillow cases, photo frames, handbags, cosmetic bags and evening bags. Jewellery, gold, Thai sapphires and pearls from local pearl farms are available everywhere.

Car rental

At the airport you will find, David Car Rent and Airport Car Rent which is one of the few companies that rent self drive mini busses.

Hotels

For those wishing to book accommodation ashore for the night before or after their charter Sunsail Phuket is able to book rooms at discounted rates at the nearby Supalai and Chandara resorts. All rooms are fully air-conditioned and the prices include local taxes and breakfast. To obtain special rates booking should be made with Sunsail Thailand. We suggest you make bookings well in advance, so please contact the base with your requirements.

Tours

Sunsail offer a whole range of shore based excursions which are extra to our normal product and are organised through a third party company. Ask at our base or the UK office for further details.

Electrical, phones and music

Electricity

The standard voltage on all yachts is 12 volts. In order to use electronic equipment that is 220 volts you will need an inverter suitable for use in a cigarette lighter.

It's possible to rent inverters at Phuket for THB 100 a day, in order to get 220 volt power under sail.

Mobile phones

Your mobile phone may work when in the Thailand but please check with your service provider for coverage details and call costs. You will need to activate international roaming on your contract.

Buying a SIM card once you are in Thailand is an easier and cheaper option. A SIM card can be bought on a pay as you go basis for as little as THB 50. Calls are then cheap to make and free to receive.

The only thing you have to consider is whether your own mobile phone is locked. Many phone providers deliberately lock their phones to make it impossible to use on rival networks. This can be overcome however for a small price at any phone shop in Thailand.

Music/iPods

All boats are fitted with a radio and CD player. If you wish to listen to your iPod whilst sailing you will need to bring along an I-trip or FM radio transmitter.

Activities

Provisioning

We offer a wide range of food and drinks packages to suit your party’s needs.

Find out more about our provisioning options.

Water sports

Fishing

Fishing with rod and reel or hand lines is permitted in all of the cruising area and there have been no recorded instances of Ciguatera poisoning. Hand lines are available to buy from the office for THB 1000. Spear fishing is not permitted.

Scuba diving

The diving in Thailand is excellent. You must carry a PADI open water or equivalent qualification to be able to dive. Unqualified divers can do courses or resort dives.

Prices range from centre to centre but it usually costs between THB 2500 (GBP 50) and THB 3500 (GBP 70) per person for two dives and lunch. If you wish to dive whilst chartering with us we recommend Koh Phi Phi Don or Koh Racha Yai where there are good dive centres, two recommended by our base are Raya Divers on Koh Racha and Barakuda Diving on Koh Phi Phi.

The Similan Islands are a world class diving destination and are accessible between November and April, subject to weather conditions. These islands are situated 60 miles Northwest of Patong and would require minimum charter duration of seven days for a visit.

Diving equipment can be supplied if ordered in advance and you can arrange to meet up with a live aboard dive operator at one of the dive sites for tank refills. Further information is available from the base on request. The Surin Islands are another 50 miles north of the Similans and also offer superb diving but fewer dive operators visit them. The Similan and Surin Islands are national parks and are subject to a daily entry fee which will be collected on site.

Snorkelling

We have a range of snorkelling gear which you may wish to use. We are limited on children’s sizes so if you have your own you may wish to bring them with you.

Health and safety

Illness or injury

If you get sick and visit the doctor or hospital during your trip please have a member of your party contact the Sunsail base manager as soon as possible. If you will need to make a travel insurance claim please contact your claim insurer’s emergency medical service immediately.

Obtain receipts for any medication, treatment or transport you have to pay for and submit with your claim.

Safety

All yachts are equipped with adult life jackets and harnesses. We leave it up to you to decide when personal safety equipment should be worn.

We have a limited supply of children’s life jackets (age 4+ only). If you have your own children’s life jacket we would encourage you to bring it along.

We suggest that children who are not strong swimmers should not be allowed in a dinghy without a life jacket or buoyancy aid and that they should wear a buoyancy aid or harness when on deck.

Children under the age of 16 should not operate an outboard engine and should be supervised at all times when in the dinghy.

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Destinations worldwide
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