Southeast Asia- Thailand

Phuket essential information, Thailand

Back to Phuket


Find everything you need to prepare for a charter in Phuket. From important base information to required documents for international travel, you can use this information as your guide before and during your charter. Don't forget to pack a copy to take with you.

Plan

Before you go

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

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.

Base hours
The office is open throughout the year, seven days a week from 8am-5pm.
VHF radio watch channel 72 (from 8am-5pm).

Time zone
Thailand is +7 hours ahead of the UK.

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

Cost of living
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.

What to bring

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 + 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.

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.

Luggage + packing list
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.

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.

Travel notice: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised of an update to the local laws and customs in Thailand. You can’t bring vaporisers, eg, e-cigarettes and e-baraku, and refills into Thailand. These items are likely to be confiscated, and you could be fined or sent to prison if convicted. The sale or supply of e-cigarettes and similar devices is also banned and you could face a heavy fine or imprisonment if found guilty.

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.

What's on board

Coolers
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.

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 iTrip or FM radio transmitter.

Drone
The use of flying drones may be restricted in some areas. For current drone regulations in this destination, please visit https://www.caat.or.th/en/archives/27871

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.

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Sail

About the marina

Marina facilitiesWater and electricity are available on the berths at the base and there is a deep water fuel dock. Showers and toilets are available from 08:00 to 18:00. There are several restaurants and two nearby resorts for those wishing to spend a night ashore before and after their charter. ATM available.


Dock facilities
Fuel: Approximately THB 38 per litre.

Sailing licences

Experience level
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 grounds

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.

Sailing area restrictions
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 20 sailing miles distance from the base.

Night 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.

Charts + pilot books
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.

Formalities + taxes

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

Moorings fees + 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.

Health + 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.

Swim Safe 
For your safety and for environmental reasons, the feeding of fish is not recommended and may be prohibited in some destinations.

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Shop

Around the base

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.

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.

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.

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For more information on what's included on your yacht, please view the full list here.