Welcome to Sunsail Thailand
Thank you for choosing to sail with us. To help you prepare for your charter we have put together the following useful information and recommend you read it through a couple of weeks before your charter commences. Please do not hesitate to call our Phuket office if you have any further queries.
Sunsail Phuket base location and opening hours
The Sunsail Phuket base is located in the new Ao Po Grand marina www.aopograndmarina.com
The office is open from 8am to 5.00pm seven days a week, all year round.
Flights and transfers
Flights into Phuket arrive via Phuket International which is a 1 hour 20 minute flight from Bangkok. The transfer from Phuket airport to the Ao Po Grand marina takes approximately 30 minutes. If you have booked a Sunsail transfer our driver will be waiting outside the Phuket airport domestic arrivals door with a Sunsail sign with your name on it to meet you and take you to directly to the Sunsail office in the marina. If you have not yet booked a transfer but would like to do so please contact the base directly via email to firstname.lastname@example.org giving us you flight number and arrival time and the number of people who require a transfer. If you wish to organise your own transfer, taxis are available at the airport but as they want to get back to the airport as quickly as possible for their next fare they tend to drive extremely fast. Few of their drivers speak good English and most do not even know where the Ao Po Marina is located, it is possible you may be taken to the wrong marina. There are lots of the airport taxis but at busy times there are often not enough of the meter taxis. We therefore strongly recommend you use the Sunsail transfer. If you are arriving on Phuket before the start of your charter and staying in a hotel then we recommend you contact the base in advance to arrange the handover time. Whenever possible we will get you on board your yacht early as and away sailing on your first day. We can still transfer you from the airport to your hotel and from your hotel to the base.
Marina shore facilities
The marina is still under development so the shore facilities are still a little limited. There are shower and toilet cubicles but no swimming pool or shops and only a small minimarket. There are two restaurants at the marina and you can use the bar, pool and restaurant at the nearby Chandara resort which is a 5 minute walk from the marina.
The nearest big supermarkets to the marina are just outside Phuket town about 45 minutes away by taxi which means the average shopping trip will take around 3 hours. This means if you want to get out on your first day you should arrive at the base by 1pm to allow plenty of time to go shopping. If you arrive later than that or do not want to have to go shopping on arrival we recommend using our pre-provisioning service. You can order your provisioning online up to one week before your holiday starts at www.sunsail.com/provisioning Supermarkets are open from 9am to 11pm but please note that alcohol is only sold in supermarkets between 11am and 2pm then 5pm to 11pm, unless buying over 10 litres. Provisions may be supplemented along the way at Ao Nang beach, about day three, in the Northeast season from November to April and all year at Phi Phi, about day five, and Koh Lanta all year for longer charters. It is advisable to stock up on all beverages and dried and canned goods before your departure from the base as this is the only time you can be alongside to load things onto your boat easily. You cannot drink the tap water in Thailand and should allow a minimum of 1.5 litres of bottled water per person per day. All yachts have refrigerators but not freezers. Ice is available from the base in 10kg bags and in small quantities from restaurants and shops out in the cruising area. Ice boxes are available for rent at the base. As a guide to buying meat, ground beef lasts no more than 3 days, chicken about 4 days and steaks are normally OK for 5 days. The first 1 or 2 days of most charters are spent in the Phang Nga bay national park, which does not have any restaurants so you would normally eat on board for the first 1 or possibly 2 nights after leaving the base, usually a BBQ. The yacht comes with a charcoal BBQ and charcoal is available through the online provisioning system or on arrival. One bag is enough for one BBQ. After this restaurants are available at the majority of anchorages but you would normally eat all breakfasts and lunches on board. There is one restaurant in the Similan and one in the Surin islands which can only be visited during the NE season.
Charter start time
Charters can start on any day at 16.00. You are welcome to arrive before the official start time so you can have an area briefing and complete your provisioning and whenever possible you will be boarded early as soon as the yacht is available. The latest time that a yacht can depart is 5pm as it is half an hour to the nearest anchorage and all yachts must be anchored for the night by 5.30pm. If the yacht is not able to leave the marina on the day the charter starts due to late arrival you are welcome to sleep on board or we can book accommodation at a nearby resort. See the section further down these notes. Contact the base directly to make a reservation.
Charter finish time
Charters can finish on any day at 09.00 but whenever possible you will be allowed a late departure. If you have booked flights leaving early on your final day then you may need to return the yacht to the marina on the afternoon before your charter finishes but whenever possible you will be able to spend the last night on board at a nearby anchorage and return to the marina on the morning your charter finishes. For this reason we recommend that you do not book a flight out of Phuket on your last day before 10am for domestic or 11am for international flights. If you do return on the evening before your charter finishes you are welcome to sleep on board or we can book accommodation at a nearby resort. See the section further down these notes. Contact the base directly to make a reservation.
Out of Hours Arrival Procedures
The Sunsail Phuket base is open from 8am to 5pm seven days a week, all year round. If you are arriving at the base after 5pm then we strongly recommend booking a Sunsail transfer. You will be met by a member of staff and shown to your yacht. If we have no arrival details or transfer request we will put a sign on the office door stating your yacht name, location and also the base managers contact number. The yacht will be lit up and have an information sheet on what is available at the base and the nearby restaurants.
Ao Po Grand marina resort information
Should you wish to book accommodation ashore for the night before or after your charter we are able to book rooms at discounted rates at the nearby Supalai and Chandara resorts. The transfer time to the Supalai resort is 10 minutes and costs 200 baht each way. The transfer time to the Chandara resort is 2 minutes and is free of charge. All room rates include breakfast and service charge and taxes at 17.7%.
Supalai resort room rates
Details of the Supalai resort can be found at http://www.supalaiphuket.com/
Chandara resort room rates
Details of the Chandara resort can be found at http://www.chandara-resort.com/
To make a booking please send an email stating which resort and the number and type of rooms required to email@example.com
Briefings are mandatory for all clients. The chart brief describes the cruising area and any potential hazards. A one week chart briefing takes about 30 minutes and a two week chart briefing about 45 minutes to one hour. The yacht briefings are carried out individually on board the yacht and introduce you to your yacht and its systems and rigging and takes around 30 minutes. It is important that all systems and equipment are fully understood so allow plenty of time. Itineraries and a copy of the cruising guide can be emailed to you on request.
What is included in the charter?
Sunsail yachts are equipped with everything that you will need for a safe and enjoyable holiday. You will be given an inventory checklist to make sure you have all the items listed. Please inform the base manager before you leave the base if anything is missing, as it is not always possible to replace or exchange items once you have departed on your cruise. Any problems with your yacht must be reported to the base manager immediately. Sheets, pillows, pillowcases and shower towels are all provided along with a basic starter pack of cleaning materials and toilet paper. No food items are included with the yacht. Yachts are supplied with all cooking utensils, a gas cooker with twin hob, oven and grill and a charcoal BBQ. Snorkelling equipment is available for all members of the crew. Navigation equipment includes all relevant available charts and a pilot book/cruising guide written by the base manager which is available via email from firstname.lastname@example.org. All yachts have colour GPS chart plotters and autopilots.
What to bring?
Tickets, money, passports and a driving licence if you plan to hire a car. Thailand enjoys a pleasant temperature all year, but be prepared for all weather conditions. We advise you have a hat, sunglasses, sun cream, shorts, T-shirts beach towel and swimwear. A light waterproof is highly recommended particularly during the Southwest season from May to October which has more rain especially towards the end of the season. In cooler weather it is much warmer to wear multiple thin layers than one thick layer. Cotton trousers, deck shoes, or white-soled trainers are also useful. For hygiene reasons, we do not hire out sailing footwear or waterproofs. Please bring your things in a soft holdall, as there is limited storage on board the yacht and no facilities to store luggage at the base. Please note that all personal items are brought at your own risk. Mosquitoes are generally not a problem on board but you may wish to bring mosquito nets as they are not included.
Cost of living
Prices vary from restaurant to restaurant, however the following is a guide for your reference. An average bottle of wine costs about 700 baht in a supermarket and at least twice that in a restaurant. A bottle of beer costs about 35 to 45 baht in a supermarket and from 70 baht up to 150 baht in a restaurant. Good quality Thai food can cost as little as 100 baht per person in a local restaurant whereas a meal in a resort can cost anything from 1000 baht or more per person.
Departing and returning to the Ao Po Grand marina
The Ao Po Grand marina is all tide access for departures and returns. The latest departure from the marina is 5pm as it is half an hour to the nearest anchorage and all yachts must be anchored for the night by 5.30pm. For this reason we encourage you to arrive early and we will board them as soon as the yacht is ready and if possible get them out early. It is also advisable to book a flight departure on the afternoon or early evening of the day the charter finishes so you can return to the marina on the morning your charter finishes. We can also arrange a hotel for the night before and after your charter should you wish to explore some of the island. If in Thailand before your charter starts, please contact the base to be advised of the best time to arrive.
Marina, National park and one way fees
Marina fees at the base are included in the charter fee. Although unlikely should you stay at another marina the costs are approximately 50 baht per foot per night.
National park entry fees are not included in the charter fee. The cost for this is 200 baht per person per day. If visiting the Similan and Surin islands, which is possible from November to April and subject to weather conditions, the cost is 400 baht per person plus 400 baht for the yacht per day.
For one way charters the fee for checking out of Thailand to Malaysia is 3000 baht on a weekday and 4000 baht on a weekend. The fee for checking into Malaysia from Thailand is 2000 baht on any day.
Water and fuel
Water, fuel and 240 volt electricity are available on the pontoon at the base. In the rest of the cruising area fuel is only available in jerry cans carried in the dinghy at Ao Nang beach in the Northeast season from November to April and all year at Phi Phi and Ko Lanta. Water is available from any restaurant in jerry cans carried in the dinghy and alongside a small jetty from a hose pipe all year at Phi Phi.
Sharks and other marine animals
There are sharks around the cruising area but most of them have no teeth. Leopard sharks feed on shellfish and whale sharks although very large eat only plankton. They are not a threat to sailors or swimmers. There are several species of jellyfish in these waters and there have been two instances where you who have been stung by jellyfish have required hospital treatment. Both incidents were attributed to a severe allergic reaction to the sting therefore any you with strong allergies are advised to wear stinger suits or refrain from swimming. Stinger suits are available for purchase at the base on arrival.
For up to date authoritative advice on health protection and vaccinations we recommend that you consult your family doctor.
All yachts are equipped with a life jacket and a harness for everyone on board. We leave it up to you to decide when personal safety equipment should be worn. We suggest that children who are not strong swimmers should not be allowed in a dinghy without a life jacket, and they should wear a life jacket or harness when on deck. Children under the age of 16 years are not permitted to operate an outboard engine without a supervising adult in the dinghy. Children’s lifejackets for 4 years and above are provided subject to availability but parents must supply their own life jackets for children under 4. All you are encouraged to wear a life jacket in the dinghy at night.
The currency is the Thai Baht. Cash and Travellers Cheques can be changed at banks, exchange shops and airports, there are no exchange facilities at the base. Major credit cards are generally only accepted in the larger towns, resorts and restaurants.
Thai is the national language with English being widely spoken.
Thailand is 7 hours ahead of GMT.
Passports & Visas
You must ensure your passport is valid for a minimum of six months beyond the end of your holiday.
Visas are not required for most nationalities for visits less than 30 days. For details of visa requirements go to www.mfa.go.th/ For longer duration holidays you should obtain a visa from the nearest Thai Consulate. Please contact your local consulate for advice on visa and passport requirements.
Customs & Immigration
On arrival in Thailand you will have to clear Immigration and Customs before leaving the airport or taking your onward connection. 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. One way charters are available on request and you will need to check out of Thailand and clear customs, harbour and immigration again at an extra fee. For details of visa requirements for Malaysia go to www.kln.gov.my/
There are two seasons in Thailand. The North East Monsoon, which is the drier season, runs from November to April. The weather is consistently sunny and dry with wind speeds of Force 2-5. Temperatures are generally in the region of 30 centigrade. The South West Monsoon, which is the wet season, runs from May to October. Rainy periods, which normally last approximately an hour and a half, may be experienced at this time generally in the late afternoon or early evening. Winds of Force 2-6 are normal with some squalls. A lightweight waterproof jacket is advisable for protection from any rain showers. You will be given a one week forecast at your chart briefing from www.windguru.com which we find the most accurate for the cruising area.
Yacht damage deposit
All clients must leave a refundable deposit at the base before departure as security for any loss or damage to the yacht, its equipment and inventory, the dinghy and outboard and optional extras such as kayaks and cruising chutes. There are three different options.
Option 1. You can pay an extra premium plus a £300, US$650 or 500 Euro deposit.
Option 2. You can pay a reduced premium plus a £1500, US$3250 or 2500 Euro deposit.
Option 3. You pay no premium with a £3000, US$6500 or 5000 Euro deposit.
You can choose to either leave your credit card details or cash in Thai baht, UK pounds, US Dollars or Euro's.
Diving and snorkelling
The diving in Thailand is very good. You must carry a PADI or equivalent qualification to be able to dive on organised trips and unqualified divers can do courses or resort dives. Prices range from centre to centre but it usually costs between 2500 baht and 3500 baht per person for two dives including equipment hire and lunch. The main centres for diving are Ko Phi Phi, Ko Racha and Ko Lanta where there are good dive centres. The Similan Islands are a world class diving destination and are accessible between November and April, subject to weather condition. These islands are situated 60 miles Northwest of Patong beach on the West coast of Phuket and we recommend a minimum charter duration of 7 days for a visit. Diving equipment can be supplied if ordered in advance and you can get tank refills at dive shops or liveaboard dive boats in the Similans. Further information is available from the base on request. The Similan Islands are a National Park and are subject to a daily entry fee which will be collected on site. You will be asked to complete a waiver of responsibility form prior to departure from the base if intending to cruise to the Similans. Masks and snorkels are provided free of charge for all crew.
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 800 baht. Spear fishing is not permitted.
Mobile phones, Internet and iPods
There is mobile phone coverage in most of the cruising area. You will either need to bring your own 12 volt cigarette lighter type charger to charge your mobile phones on board or alternatively 220 volt inverters are available for rent at the base. Local SIM cards are readily available and are a much cheaper option for making local and international calls. There is free Wi-Fi internet at the marina and in a few resorts as well as internet cafes at the Krabi beaches, Phi Phi and Lanta. To play iPods through the yacht stereo you will need an FM transmitter. These are available to buy at the base.
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.
I hope that these notes will answer any questions you may have but if there is anything else you need to know before arriving at the base please email email@example.com
We look forward to seeing you soon and thank you for booking with Sunsail Phuket.