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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

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

Thailand In Full Flight: Accommodation and Activities For Festival Season

Thailand has long been known as an affable and happy country, with its unofficial motto as the land of the big smile, or another of the many variants.

It is not certain whether all of this happiness is caused by the enormous concentration of yearly festivals in Thailand, or whether they are simply a result of such good nature.

But either way, foreigners come from far and wide to experience the joy and uniqueness of whatever is the monthly excuse for a good time in Thailand!

Here we look at some of the best and most unusual festivals in Thailand, as well as the best and most unusual Thailand accommodation and luxury villa rental in Thailand to recuperate in between all-nighters!

If you are interested in your physical health and the health of your spirit, youll want to see the Phuket Vegetarian festival.

At the Phuket Vegetarian Festival, believers gather to assist in cleaning out the shrine, and then light a candle in preparation for nine angelsarrival. The festival lasts for seven days, and of the penultimate day when there is always a waxing moon, the goddess procession occurs.

It is said, mysteriously, that media of supernatural power is presentedif you join this procession, you are said to be offering divine kindness to all men.

It is a festival of detoxification and purification for both the soul and the body. Celebrating the purification of the mind and body at this festival will leave you wanting some beautifully pristine Thailand accommodation, somewhere tranquil and peaceful – Baan Pa Hin is a luxury villa in Phuket that is perfect.

This Phuket villa for rent is situated on a hill, away from much of the foot traffic, and is staffed by three maids and a chef – so there is no need to concern yourself with the worries of the world after this intensely spiritual festival!

The staff will do your laundry and shopping, leaving you free to relax in the 14m long swimming pool, in one of the six beautifully appointed ensuite double bedrooms, or five minutes away from the luxury Phuket villa for rent on Kata Noi Beach.

If the idea of going without meat, even for a week, just isnt on your radar, then something like the Andaman sea festival that takes place near the end of the year in Krabi would be perfect for you.

Water sport competitions, including skiing and diving, are on the calendar, and there are also cultural shows and performances on every year. The Andaman sea festival is mainly a day-time event which celebrates the opening of Krabis tourist season, and the line-up changes every year.

For people from the West, Thailand is an extremely budget-friendly country – meaning that you can afford to stay in amazing luxury in villas for rent in Thailand compared to what you could afford in many European countries, Australia or the US.

If you have spent all your baht living life to the fullest at a festival like the Andaman sea festival, you can still do some intense relaxation at a luxury villa in Krabi like the Pimalai one bedroom pool villas.

These luxury villas for rent in Krabi, are a cozy place to stay, with just a single bedroom, yet have a feeling of space and lightness that the gorgeous natural, wood-and-ocean inspired decor contributes to.

There is actually 204 square meters or so of living area, filled with outdoor living areas, a fully equipped kitchen, and sun deck areas.

There is an outdoor sala, and you can practice miniature versions of the watersports at the Andaman sea festival in a private infinity edge pool at this luxury villa in Thailand.

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.

Award Winning Thailand

The kingdom of Thailand lies in the heart of Southeast Asia, making it a natural gateway to Indochina, Myanmar and Southern China. Its shape and geography divide into four natural regions; the mountains and forests of the North; the vast rice fields of the Central Plains; the semi-arid farm lands of the Northeast plateau; and the tropical islands and long coastline of the peninsula South.

The country comprises 76 provinces that are further divided into districts, sub-districts and villages. Bangkok is the capital city and centre of political, commercial, industrial and cultural activities. It is also the seat of Thailand’s revered Royal Family, with His Majesty the King recognized as Head of State, Head of the Armed Forces, Upholder of the Buddhist religion and Upholder of all religions.

The Thai tourism industry is projected to end the year with a total of 13.8 million international visitor arrivals in 2006. Revenue earnings from tourism are now projected at 486 billion baht.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has targeted 14.8 million international visitor arrivals in 2007 with estimated target revenues of 547.5 billion baht.

International visitor arrivals from East Asia rose by 23.54% to 5,694,169 in January-September 2007. Markets that have shown good growth include Korea +41.52%, China +36.93%, Hong Kong +33.85%, and Taiwan +26.36%. Other areas of growth were seen from European visitors. International visitor arrivals from Europe rose by 24.66% to 2,423,498 during January-September 2003. Russia was the outstanding market with a growth of 97.45% during this period. Other main markets like the UK were up +10.40%, Germany +21.04%, Sweden +46.06%, Norway +33.11%, and Finland +30.39%.

Many of these visitors are coming to Thailand to stay in luxury villas which are renowned throughout the world for their beautiful surroundings and amazing value. Luxury Phuket villas in particular stand out as being amongst the best in the world. Samui Villas and Krabi Villas are catching up however and are seeing a large increase year on year in occupancy as guests seek something slightly different and quieter than the hustle and bustle of Phuket.

Thailand constantly is winning awards for its tourism infrastructure, recently The Swedish travel publication, Travel News, recently presented the annual Grand Travel Award – the equivalent of the travel and tourism industry’s ‘Oscars’ – for the fifteenth consecutive year.

Thailand ranked first in the “World’s Best Tourist Country” category, making this the fifth consecutive year that Thailand has won the Swedish Grand Travel Award. The other top ten travel destinations deemed to be popular with Swedish travelers include South Africa, the United States, Italy, China, Greece, Denmark, Spain, France and Croatia. Other awards include Asia’s very own award-winning luxury travel and lifestyle magazine, DestinAsian, awarding Bangkok with ‘Best Leisure DestinAsian City’ and The Oriental Bangkok won the DestinAsian ‘Best Hotel, Bangkok’ award.

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.