The archipelago that Koh Chang is a part of offers great conditions for sailing in and a picturesque background of tropical islands that is hard to beat. Koh Chang’s more northerly situation than Koh Samui or Phuket, and sheltered position at the top end of the Gulf of Thailand, more or less guarantees consistent winds of between 10 and 15 knots.
Sailing and yacht charter companies are based at several different locations on Koh Chang’s rugged coastline, with several at Salakphet Bay on the south shore. Operators based here claim that sailing out of the bay is the best introduction to the region’s maritime attractions as the uninhabited Koh Rang islands are a few nautical miles southwards.
Enthusiasts say that one of the best things about sailing in Koh Chang – after mooring overnight in a deserted, picture-postcard perfect bay – is waking up on the following morning and finding there are still no more yachts there.
There are more than 50 islands in the Moo Koh Chang National Park with numerous spots for diving, snorkelling and swimming. Sailing here allows intrepid yachters, even novices, to sample the activities and abundant natural attractions while enjoying the thrill of the open sea.
Weather conditions between November and May are best suited to sailing as there is little rain, and strong winds or storms are unlikely to strike suddenly. From June to October it is Koh Chang monsoon season and heavy rainstorms can blow up quickly with all but the most experienced sailors struggling to cope.
There is a list of operators below which offer opportunities for sailing as well as day sightseeing and snorkelling cruises aboard ocean-going yachts. Travel agents at resorts such as White Sand or Kai Bae can also book cruises and yacht charters for those interested in joining a crew.
This proprietor-managed company which operates out of Salakphet. The firm provides sailing options ranging from bareboat to all-inclusive yachting holidays aboard their vessels. Their fleet comprises 12 catamarans and keeled sailing craft between 30ft and 70ft long.
Gulf Charters also runs International Yachtmaster Training courses which certify participants who complete them successfully to sail from countries all over the globe. The courses are recognised by leading global sailing companies such as Moorings and Sunsail.
Those who just want to spend a day surrounded by beautiful tropical surroundings with cooling sea winds can take a trip aboard the Sea Adventures.
Day sailing cruises on board the 13m Sea Adventures depart from White Sand Beach. The trips take in the region of Koh Wai at the bottom end of the national park. Customers are offered the chance of swimming or snorkelling, when the boat weighs anchor, and a buffet lunch.
The Sea Adventures evening dinner cruises are a good option for those wishing to enjoy gourmand’s delights while sailing along the coast. The sun slowly setting on the horizon provides a marvellous background.
In the November-May dry season, visitors have the option of joining the Amari Emerald Cove Resort’s Supercat catamaran cruises to Koh Kood. The full-day excursion starts at 08:15 and voyagers are dropped back at their embarkation point at 17:00. Trips run three times weekly and cost around 2,000 Baht.