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Phuket – the gateway to the Indian Ocean

To be the only yacht in sight from horizon to horizon, anchored off a pristine, deserted, tropical island beach, may seem like a distant dream to most sailors – but sailing in Phuket it is everyday reality.

Unique, too, among cruising destinations is Phuket’s climate. There is no winter; there are no hurricanes and no typhoons. Temperatures range between 25° and 32°C throughout the year, and the sea rarely varies from 28°C.

Located in the Andaman Sea (off Thailand’s southwest coast) Phuket is best known amongst regional sailors for the most advanced sailing infrastructure in Thailand. As a cruising base, Phuket is unbeatable. The mystical waters, islands and limestone karsts of Phang-nga Bay are just a few hours’ sail east from the major anchorages; the stunning Similan Islands are a day’s motor-sail to the west, while Myanmar’s practically unexplored Mergui Archipelago is easily accessible to the north.

To the south is the almost uninhabited Butang Group – part of the 51-island Hat Chao Mai National Park – teeming with an abundance of fascinating and unusual wildlife. A short sail east brings you to the mysterious unspoiled island of Tarutao, just 6 km (4 miles) from the Malaysian island of Langkawi, and just one day out of Phuket. A former penal colony, Tarutao abounds with interesting caves and hidden creeks leading into the mountainous interior; a primeval world where time stands still.

Phang-nga Bay itself, bounded by Phuket, Phang-nga and Krabi provinces – boasting over 100 islands and sheer-sided mountains rising vertically out of the sea – has produced some of Thailand’s most spectacular tourist images. As a result, it is a popular destination with day tours and kayakers exploring the bay’s islands and sea caves. Yet, despite its international renown, the bay is practically deserted by mid-afternoon.

For enthusiasts who prefer as much luxury and convenience as possible combined with their sailing, Phuket is already home to three international-standard marinas, The Yacht Haven Marina, Boat Lagoon Marina and the recently-opened Royal Phuket Marina, which was voted “The Best of the Best Marinas” by British Airways’ First Class in-flight magazine, First Life. Many more marinas are planned.

Yet, for those who prefer to sail away from civilisation, just a couple of hours sail from Phuket – will seem like a world away.

Boasting only one regatta until a few years ago, there is now a multitude of choice, in terms of time, style and location, for those who prefer to mix a touch of action with their sailing holiday in Thailand.

The Phuket King’s Cup Regatta, now in its nineteenth year, attracts around 100 yachts and is held in early December. Phang-Nga Bay Regatta, bringing together up to 40 competitors for a more relaxed week, takes place at Chinese New Year, against what must be the most dramatic scenic background of any regatta in the world. Phuket Race Week in its second year also plays an important part in the regatta calendar, being staged in the windy month of July during the southwest monsoon.

Whilst the competitive fun of racing in tropical waters is why people take part in Phuket’s regattas, they all leave with fond memories of the beachside regatta parties. These relaxed, informal parties have become a keynote feature of yachting events in the kingdom.

Whether racing in a tropical regatta or simply cruising among Phuket’s pristine islands, the warm Thai welcome, superb cuisine and the cultural charm – that together make Phuket one of the world’s favourite cruising destinations – make for an unforgettable experience not to be missed

Get ready to experience this wonderful area yourself with a sailing charter in Thailand

Thai yourself to the Ropes

Rock Climbing

Rock climbing and Thailand may not be things that are linked in your mind, but Railay, near Krabi in southern Thailand, is a centre that attracts climbers from all over the world, from beginners to experts. Railay is an isthmus, reached by long-tail boat, with towering cliffs falling into the perfectly clear turquoise Andaman Sea. Mangroves and mud flats hug the coastline.

Rock Climbing Schools

There are several climbing schools offering a range of courses, from half-day to three-day or more, and prices normally include not only all equipment hire – ropes, harnesses, bolts, chocks and packs of chalk (to help hands grip slippery rocks) – but also climbing boots. The instructors are highly skilled; some are even recognised champions at the sport. Ribboning up the cliffs are more than 700 bolted rock-climbing routes, all put up since the 1980s, capable of providing practice and training to climbers at all levels of skill.

Thiland Cliffs

The cliffs vary in height, beginners being gently eased in on a cliff a mere 50 metres tall. No doubt about it, however, rock climbing is counter-intuitive and requires not only strength and agility but also gritty determination. Jamming your fingers into a small crack or clinging on to a tiny ledge and then taking pretty much your entire body weight on your hands is not something that comes naturally to most people. Fear of heights is another contra-indicator: if you’re not happy on the top deck of a Channel ferry, it is possible you’ll balk at being virtually self-supporting some metres off the ground.

Views Of A Mountaineer

It doesn’t always follow, however. The late great Eric Shipton, who in the 1930s and 1940s was Britain’s number one mountaineer, said that he felt uncomfortable looking over the viewing ledge of a skyscraper but thought nothing of teetering on the edge of a mountainside infinitely higher. Why might this be? He couldn’t explain it. Perhaps it’s because when you climb a rock or a mountain, you familiarise yourself with it; you make it, in a sense, your own; you know where its difficulties lie. Nothing of the sort with a building, especially if you have whizzed to the top in a high-speed lift.

Climb Or Watch

So, back to Thailand. With expert instructors and a perfect array of safety equipment, the worst that can happen to a wary beginner is being made to feel a bit inadequate. But if you do, you’ll be in good company, because there are lots of people who go to this secluded haven not to climb but just to watch. And there are plenty of nice places to do it from – beach hut hotels and small restaurants on and around the beach.

You can get to Railay by flying non-stop from Heathrow to Bangkok and then take another flight to Krabi, from where it’s a short and inexpensive ride on a longboat. The UK-based operator AwimAway (020 7430 1766, www.awimaway.com) offers activity and adventure tours to far-flung destinations for individuals and corporates. AwimAway can organize corporate incentive programmes at these islands, where you can organize a conference or just chill out, party, unwind or … train for the Olympics on a sun-drenched shore, on a ski slope or in the soothing scenery of a silent wood.

Getting to Phuket, Thailand

Phuket is one of the more popular travel destinations within Southeast Asia due to its gorgeous beaches, scrumptious food, great shopping, exciting nightlife and the countless recreational opportunities it offers to people of all backgrounds. It is located in the South of Thailand and is in fact Thailand’s largest island. Generally, people reach Phuket by air, bus or ferry.

By Air – The main airport is Phuket International Airport, which is also one of Thailand’s busiest airports. There are direct international flights from Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Macao and Seoul. During peak periods, there are also direct charters from Europe and Australia. If you are from other parts of Thailand, such as Bangkok, Chiangmai, Pattaya and Ko Samui, there are also low-cost domestic carriers that can bring you to Phuket. The main airlines that the airport caters to are Thai Airways, Silk Air and Malaysian Airlines. There are also a number of budget carriers that flight here, such as Thai AirAsia, Tiger Airways, Firefly and Nok Air. Once you have gotten past baggage clearance, you can choose to take the limousine taxis, metered taxis or minibus services to get to your intended destination. There are also airport shuttles which run every half an hour or so. These shuttles will drop you off at Phuket Town bus station where you can hop onto local buses that will take you to all the major beaches in Phuket.

By Bus – If you are on mainland Thailand in places such as Bangkok, Hat Yai or Krabi, you can reach Phuket by bus. Be sure to buy tickets from trustworthy bus companies as there are some bus companies with reputations for overcharging, theft and overall bad service. In general, buses will drop you off at the BKS terminal which is on Thanon Phang Na in Phuket Town. From here, you can take a taxi or bus to your location. You can even hop onto a local contraption called tuk-tuk which is a cheap and fast way to travel in Thailand.

By Ferry – If you are from Ko Phi Phi, Krabi, Ko Racha or the Similan Islands, you may want to consider taking the ferry service to Phuket. Such ferry services run twice a day for about two hours. They make for very pleasant rides but the journey can be somewhat turbulent if there is a storm. There are also several cruises that take their passengers to Phuket.

Thailand – your Vacation Destination

The Kingdom of Thailand is Bangkok.

Offering some of the world’s finest luxury holiday accommodation, Thailand provides the ultimate getaway for you and your family. Luxury villas are fitted out to the highest standard. Aimed at the discerning traveller who needs flexibility of movement away from the holiday crowds, many property owners will help customers construct a holiday that allows them to move at their own pace. Exploring or relaxing, our clients are able to enjoy the delights of Asia.

Offering a staggering array of activities, Thailand is firmly established as the Asian destination of choice, the infrastructure is such that traveling the length and breadth of the country is easy, cheap fast and reliable. Vacationers’ minds are put at ease with world class hospitals, extremely low crime and amenities to match any country in the world. From Bangkok, guests are spoiled for choice when it comes to luxury villas for rent. Stunning locations are within hours of the capitol making weekend breaks very popular these days, High flying professionals can fly in from Hong Kong and be relaxing beside their private pool a their Thailand villa in no time, and enjoying the Thai pace of life.

Thailand Villas are attaining a global reputation for luxury, quality and value. Luxury villas in Phuket are on the same level or above of anything anywhere in the world, and regularly feature in magazines and newspapers as promoted as the peak of living. When choosing a luxury villa guests must decide whether they want solitude or a more hectic atmosphere with hustle and bustle of street markets and beach activities. Luxury villas on the east coast offer the kind of peace and quiet that is more akin to Samui or Krabi. There is a sense of remoteness here, with traditional Thai fishing villages, and quiet serene beaches dotted along the coast.

It is not just the luxury villas that people are drawn too. The Andaman coast is certainly one of the most striking areas, and Phuket is famous for its beauty and wealth of attractions. Southern Thailand stands apart from the rest of the country as being more tropical. It has the highest rainfall, giving a deeper green to the vegetation, while the geological make up of sheer limestone formations adds drama to the landscape.

Thailand also has a reputation as a golfing paradise with a wealth of world class courses that have attracted many of the best pros over the years – including American-Thai Tiger Woods. Thailand frequently stages the Johnnie Walker Super Tour and other Asian classics attracted by the excellent course facilities and clubroom accommodation found across the kingdom. These are all available to our customers and despite the top-notch conditions a first-class round of golf is possible for about US$60 to US$70.

The six provinces along the Western coast are characterized by the Andaman sea which has numerous excellent coral reefs making it a paradise for divers. The water is warm year round and so is always comfortable to swim in. The Similan islands are rated amongst the top dive destinations in the world as are the climbing sites in Krabi province meaning that vacationers will never be bored with what is on offer.

Thailand ,The Best Place In The World.

Thailand is a country in South-East Asia with coasts on the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. It borders Myanmar (Burma) to the north-west, Laos to the north-east, Cambodia to the south-east and Malaysia to the south.

The best places in thailand.

Bangkok – Thailand’s bustling, frenetic capital.Bangkok has always been a favorite when it comes to budget holidays. This is true even today with Bangkok becoming a major travel hub with cheap flights coming into the city from different corners of the globe. Cheap flights are also being offered for those who have had their fill of Bangkok and would like to proceed to other locations across Asia.If you are a budget traveler and want to enjoy Bangkok like any other person then the place to start off would be Koh Shan Road. Here you should go for hotels and guesthouses that are located close to the river. The budget hotels and guesthouses on this street are cheaper and usually offer better rooms with more amenities.If you are hungry, all you have to do is get off Koh Shah Road and head towards the university. Here you will find some really nice Thai restaurants offering authentic Thai food at very reasonable prices. The restaurants are located at the sidewalks and they serve large portions and quality food.

Ayutthaya – a historical city, world heritage site and the old capital city of Thailand

Chiang Mai – the capital of the North and the heart of Lanna culture.Chiang Mai Province is one of the few places in Thailand where it is possible to find in the heart of the city centuries-old chedis and temples next to modern convenience stores and boutique hotels. For tourists who are on a look out for some adrenalin gushing adventure, there are different forms of adventure sports available. Trekking on foot or on Elephant back is quite common. The challenging trekking paths on the mountain terrains tempt tourists to explore its peaks and forests. Since there are a lot of rivers and streams flowing throughout the province there is a good opportunity for rafting using bamboo or rubber rafts.

Chiang Rai – gateway to the Golden Triangle.Located 785 kilometers north of Bangkok, Chiang Rai Province is one of the most exotic places to visit in Thailand. It is present within the famous Golden Triangle area where Myanmar, Laos and Thailand converge. Chiang Rai is also called as the gateway to Myanmar, Laos and South China. Surrounded by mountains and rivers, Chiang Rai is a travelers’ delight with rich natural beauty.

Hat Yai – largest city in the Southern region

Kanchanaburi – home of the Bridge over the River Kwai

Nakhon Ratchasima (Khorat) – main city in the Isaan region

Pattaya – one of the main tourist destinations

Sukhothai – Thailand’s first capital

Nakhon Si Thammarat – (Ligor) One of the oldest historical city in Southeast Asia.

The best beaches in thailand.

Ko Chang – once quiet island undergoing major tourism development

Ko Lanta – sleepy island near Krabi

Ko Pha Ngan – site of the famous Full Moon Party

Ko Phi Phi – backpacker favorite where The Beach was filmed

Ko Samet – the nearest island beach escape from Bangkok

Ko Samui – hippie mecca gone upmarket

Ko Tao – where the world learns to scuba dive

Phuket – the original Thai paradise island

Rai Leh – stunning beach by the limestone cliffs of Krabi

It Began in Africa: Tunisia and the Star Wars Pilgrims

The North African country of Tunisia really could be classed as out of this world; the dune riddled nation provided the setting for the fictional planet Tatooine, Luke Skywalker’s desert home planet, that played a major role in several of the Star Wars movies.

Tunisia’s sparsely populated land and dusty geography provided the perfect location to create Tatooine’s dune seas, expansive desert wastes and rocky outcrop, and fans of the Star Wars books and films continue to make the pilgrimage to Tunisia to visit this iconic setting. Nowadays you’re likely to find the locals a little more friendly than the fictional Jawas, the pygmy-like scavengers of technology, or the hostile Sand people (also known as Tuscan Raiders) with whom Luke has a nasty run in with during the ‘first’ film, Star Wars – A New Hope.

Luke Skywaker’s home was filmed in a subsoil abode in the real troglodyte town of Matmata. Here, residents make their homes by burrowing into the soft sandstone and visitors can still see some of the murals and set dressing of the Skywalker’s homestead from the movie at the Sidi Driss Hotel, in Matmata.

The outside of the dwelling, where Luke observes the two suns, is part a dry, white salt flat called Chott el Jerid, that stretches across central Tunisia to the oasis of Tozeur and Nefta. The Dune Sea – the vast expanse of sand in which C3PO and R2D2 wander aimlessly is known as La Grande Dune, and the gully in which they are captured by the Jawas, is east of Tozeur at the Chott el Jerid.

The spaceport town of Mos Eisley, which was described by Obi-Wan Kenobi as a “wretched hive of scum and villainy” and is a hang out for intergalactic smugglers and others from the space criminal underworld, is in actual fact Aijim – a sponge fishing town near the lle de Jerba. And if you’d want to see where Jedi knight Obi-Wan’s remote home was located, you’ll find it to the north of Aijim, overlooking the Gulf of Gabes.

Unless you can hitch a ride with Han Solo and Chewbacca on the Millennium Falcon, you’ll probably have to find an alternative form of transport. Thankfully, although Tatooine was in a galaxy far, far away, Tunisia isn’t; and Star Wars Fans will be pleased to hear that the country is surprisingly well served from the UK; there are plenty of cheap flights to Tunisia from airports around Britain.

Other destinations that are part of the Star Wars pilgrimage include: Tikal in Guatemala, which played the Massassi Outpost – the rebel base on the fourth moon of Yavin; the Palazzo Reale near Naples Italy, which played host to Theed Palace on Naboo from the Phantom Menace, and Krabi Province, Thailand which provides the setting to Kashyyyk – the Wookie homeworld.

So, grab your light sabre, don your Darth Vader mask and use the force to follow the Star Wars pilgrimage around the world.

Thailand Rock Climbing

Mention Thailand and images of beaches, elephants and Bangkok come to mind. Less known is the fact Thailand rock climbing is some of the best in the world.

Thailand Rock Climbing

Located in Southeast Asia, Thailand is bordered by Cambodia, Burma and Laos in the north and Malaysia in the south. The shape of the country is somewhat similar to Italy, and you’ll find similar differences between northern and southern Thailand that you do in Italy. For rock climbing enthusiasts, the south of Thailand is where the action is.

The rock formations in Thailand are almost universally limestone. The level of climbing can be as simple as bouldering or as challenging as tackling over vertical cliffs. This makes Thailand a popular rock climbing destination since it has a little something for everyone.

Krabi

Located on the southern section of the “tail” of Thailand, Krabi has a wide variety of rock climbing challenges. Most of the climbs in this area are of the pre-bolted sport route variety. There are literally hundreds upon hundreds of climbs with difficulty levels from beginner to multi-pitch knuckle crushers.

The beauty of climbing in Krabi is…well, the beauty. While you might have visions of jungles and mosquitoes when thinking of Thailand, Krabi is an area of a different sort. Most of the climbs have been set up on cliff faces on the beach. Being natural capitalists, the Thai’s have built hotels, bars and so on at these locations. As a result, you can literally climb a multi-pitch route for five hours, cool off with a swim and then have a beer. If there is such a thing as a rock climbing heaven, many feel Krabi is it.

Before you cash in your savings, keep in mind that Thailand is a seasonal vacation spot. If you go during the wet season, there is a good chance you’ll just end up sitting around drinking beer. While that isn’t too bad, you’ll go crazy looking at the climbs that are so close, but oh so far away.

Generally, you want to head to Thailand from late November through maybe April. The summer months tend to be both incredibly hot and wet. Make sure you pull up forecasts for the area before booking a trip.

Flying to Thailand is inexpensive, but flights are incredibly long with stopovers. Still, it is all worth it once you experience Thailand rock climbing.

Choosing Thailand As Vacation Destination

Offering some of the world’s finest luxury holiday accommodation, Thailand provides the ultimate getaway for you and your family. Luxury villas are fitted out to the highest standard. Aimed at the discerning traveller who needs flexibility of movement away from the holiday crowds, many property owners will help customers construct a holiday that allows them to move at their own pace. Exploring or relaxing, our clients are able to enjoy the delights of Asia.

Offering a staggering array of activities, Thailand is firmly established as the Asian destination of choice, the infrastructure is such that traveling the length and breadth of the country is easy, cheap fast and reliable. Vacationers’ minds are put at ease with world class hospitals, extremely low crime and amenities to match any country in the world. From Bangkok, guests are spoiled for choice when it comes to luxury villas for rent. Stunning locations are within hours of the capitol making weekend breaks very popular these days, High flying professionals can fly in from Hong Kong and be relaxing beside their private pool a their Thailand villa in no time, and enjoying the Thai pace of life.

Thailand Villas are attaining a global reputation for luxury, quality and value. Luxury villas in Phuket are on the same level or above of anything anywhere in the world, and regularly feature in magazines and newspapers as promoted as the peak of living. When choosing a luxury villa guests must decide whether they want solitude or a more hectic atmosphere with hustle and bustle of street markets and beach activities. Luxury villas on the east coast offer the kind of peace and quiet that is more akin to Samui or Krabi. There is a sense of remoteness here, with traditional Thai fishing villages, and quiet serene beaches dotted along the coast.

It is not just the luxury villas that people are drawn too. The Andaman coast is certainly one of the most striking areas, and Phuket is famous for its beauty and wealth of attractions. Southern Thailand stands apart from the rest of the country as being more tropical. It has the highest rainfall, giving a deeper green to the vegetation, while the geological make up of sheer limestone formations adds drama to the landscape.

Thailand also has a reputation as a golfing paradise with a wealth of world class courses that have attracted many of the best pros over the years – including American-Thai Tiger Woods. Thailand frequently stages the Johnnie Walker Super Tour and other Asian classics attracted by the excellent course facilities and clubroom accommodation found across the kingdom. These are all available to our customers and despite the top-notch conditions a first-class round of golf is possible for about US$60 to US$70.

The six provinces along the Western coast are characterized by the Andaman sea which has numerous excellent coral reefs making it a paradise for divers. The water is warm year round and so is always comfortable to swim in. The Similan islands are rated amongst the top dive destinations in the world as are the climbing sites in Krabi province meaning that vacationers will never be bored with what is on offer.