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By No owner — last modified Nov 06, 2017 10:22 PM

 Thailand - Profile

Facts

  • Thailand is visited yearly by a large number of yachts and formalities are getting simpler every year. September 2011 saw the launch of on-line check in for yachts in Phuket. However, as with Singapore, in 2014 the requirement to have AIS on board in Phuket was introduced. See Formalities for more information.
  • The country's cruising attractions are many: its rich culture inland; secluded anchorages around Phuket Island and its many offshore islets, away from the crowded resorts; many anchorages to be found on the coast north from Malaysia.
  • Both repair and docking facilities have greatly improved in Phuket in recent years. Facilities in the other ports are more limited. More repair facilities are obviously available in the capital Bangkok, but it is a busy polluted city, totally unsuitable for yachts.
  • If carrying out substantial repairs in Thailand, care should be taken to oversee all works. Whilst prices are very cheap here, often, unskilled labour are used by yards with little or no knowledge of yacht systems. Failure to supervise on your part could result in disastrous results.
  • For recommendations from cruisers for boatyards and contractors see here.
  • Corruption exists in Thailand and can affect visiting cruising yachts. Read this news article for more about what to watch out for.

Security

Security reports from cruisers in Thailand were in the past very rare. Theft and attacks on yachts are few and far between, however even here, burglaries, dinghy and outboard theft does indeed happen. Cruisers are advised to treat their dinghy and outboard as they would their family car - lock it or lose it and put it in the garage (i.e. on davits our lifted out of the water) at night.

Cruisers that have fallen victim to crime in Thailand warn of the potential difficulties resulting from robberies: lengthy police interviews (days not hours); interpretation problems; "obviation fees"; immigration visas reissuing; obtaining passports overseas etc. These take up much more time, effort and worry than the original robbery.

2017 Security Reports

Thailand, Phuket: Break in and theft at Railay Beach - April 2017

2016 Security Reports

Several yachts staying in Chalong Bay, Phuket, during the off season (around August to November) were broken into.

2014 Security Reports

During 2014 noonsite only heard of a burglary at the Koh Hong Group in Phang Nga, where the thieves entered through the main hatch which was closed, but not locked, whilst the owners were ashore. It appears there are increasing numbers of boat robberies being officially and unofficially reported in this area and local marinas are advising all boat owners to lock boats securely and remove anything valuable from the deck when away from their yachts.

2013 Security Reports

Sadly, for the first time since most can remember, there were two armed attacks on yachts in Phuket, Chalong Bay in April 2013. One attack involving knives, and another guns.

Cruisers also reported at the end of 2013 that Koh Phi Phi has a bit of reputation for boardings and burglaries.

A new and disturbing action regarding some Thai fishing boats appearing to deliberately trying to ram yachts was also reported in June 2013. See this report.

In August 2013 there was a rapid growth of bomb attacks and ambushes by Islamic insurgents in the southern Tailand provinces of Yala,Narathiwat, Songkhla, Hat Yai. Large fires were set both in rural and suburban areas; several people were killed and dozens injured. It is strongly advised to check travel advisories if planning on going close to the Thai- Malayan border.

A useful summary of how to prepare oneself for cruising in SE Asia waters can be found here.

Last updated April 2017.

Weather

Very humid tropical climate. March to May are the hottest months and it is cooler from November to February. June to October: rainy season & SW monsoon; November to May: NE monsoon. The latter season has more pleasant weather, plus better sailing conditions along the sheltered west coast, most of whose ports are untenable during the SW monsoon.

Brunei Bay Radio operates a regular voice broadcast sked of METAREA and local coastal forecasts for SE Asia waters, the NW Pacific and eastern Indian Ocean. For details of Brunei Bay Radio broadcast skeds and frequencies, see www.bruneibay.net/bbradio/bbrschfvoice.htm and www.bruneibay.net/bbradio/bbrscweathMSIbcasts.html

Thailand Weather Forecast

A useful site for seeing typhoons and monsoon surges can be found at www.typhoon2000.ph/t2kgraphsat.gif.

For links to free global weather information, forecast services and extreme weather information see the Noonsite Weather Page.

Main Ports

Cruisers using Garmin and Navionics software with Google Earth overlay have reported inaccuracies in the digital maps in Thailand. It is recommended if relying on digital charts, to do a Google Earth overlay of a chart to ensure the coastline is correct, particularly if navigating near islands and at night - June 2014.

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Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Nov 06, 2017 10:22 PM

Reported by Richard Luck:
We checked into Thailand at Chalong yesterday. We docked Samurai at Ao Po, left the AIS on and took a motorbike down. Very smooth, in and out in 30 minutes. You can extend after your first 6 months at Customs in Chalong now instead of Phuket town. Unfortunately you still need to go to Immigration in Phuket town to pay the 2000 baht one off fee or 20,000 baht refundable bond to be able to leave the boat in Thailand with no Captain aboard. Also very quick and efficient there. Would have been nice if they'd consolidated that in Chalong too!

MikeH
MikeH says:
Nov 02, 2017 07:12 AM

Port Takola, near Krabi is one of Thailand's newest Marinas. I have been based there for the last six months and have been delighted with the set up. The staff are very friendly and helpful. It is possible to hire a motorbike very cheaply from the locals, no need to go to town. Ao Nang is just a few minutes up the road with excellent shops, and the traffic is fairly light. Immigration folks are very friendly and helpful, as have been customs and the port authority, though there is a bit of distance between customes and the rest. About a 20 minute walk between.The hard stand has just become operational an I have never seen a more conscientious team, lifting my boat with great care. There is a very good restaurant and bar about 10 minutes easy walk away. The marina has all new facilities, is open and lets a breeze through. Acces to Krabi is straight forward with minimum depth of 4.0 metres in the channel. Entrance to the marina is probably the top two thirds of the tide. A good guide is height of tide=depth at entrance. 2 metres of tide = 2 metres minimum dpeth at the entrance. Krabi town is just a dinghy ride away. A very peaceful place, easy access to town and tourist activities, but also a great experience with the Thai locals.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Oct 30, 2017 07:14 PM

Reported by SE Asia Regional Editor Bob Mott:

Recently those coming to Thailand by air and sea and road, especially the latter two, have been asked to show 20,000B in cash to prove they can take care of themselves financially for a short period - or show means of income or Work Permit etc. This has been happening a bit lately.

I have also heard from some yachties the immigration office in Chalong has been extorting money - that they call a security bond to be able to sign back on their yachts and check out of Thailand. They have to submit a 20,000B security which is not true - the price to sign back on your yacht is a 10 Baht stamp duty only.

The idea I think is so that they can offer to waive the fee and ask for 2000B in its place as a non returnable fee.

I am investigating this now. Will keep you informed.

tmallia
tmallia says:
May 25, 2017 06:08 AM

Two more marinas exist at the top end of the Gulf of Thailand. One is BangPakong Marina which is closest to Bangkok. This is on the BangPakong River and can be entered around high tide through a lock gate. It is much cheaper than Ocean Marina and permits liveaboard. Facilities basic but it does have a travel lift and is a cheap place to get the boat out to work on it. Suitable for yachtsmen on a budget. Maximum draft is about 2m for entry on a 3m tide.
The other is Racer Marina on the Pranburi River. I have not yet used this one.

Gallivant
Gallivant says:
Feb 15, 2017 03:23 AM

We just stayed at Krabi Boat Lagoon and can highly recommend it! It's peaceful and tranquil, the rates for wet berth and hardstand are very good (and even better if you stay long-term). The staff is friendly and helpful and there are two restaurants within the marina. We had some stainless steel work done and the quality of workmanship + timing was impeccable. If you want to get away from the hustle & bustle of Phuket this is your spot to go withvan airport just around the corner.

Michael Blowes
Michael Blowes says:
Jul 15, 2016 08:42 AM

Krabi customs is challenging again. Only give 2 month extensions, 3 if you push. Was told I could only have 3 month because my visa (a renewal marriage visa) fell due in Oct. But next day guy with 7 months left on his visa only got a 3 month extension also. So its all a bit of a mystery. There seem to be fewer boats around this year.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Nov 02, 2015 09:00 PM

Posted on behalf of anonymous:
I am not coming to Phuket because they impose the AIS to foreigns vessels only.
I don't believe that is for security.
I have a radar, GPS, vhf, BLU, automatic pilot, windvane, Iridium.
It's more than enough, no!!!
I planned to buy my visa in Penang - but now it's over.
I am not the only one who cancelled my trip.
My family comes from Brazil, an it is cheaper for them to extend the journey to Kl.
The impact is important, for sure.
I am sorry for the people working for the sailing industry in Phuket.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Oct 20, 2015 07:59 PM

WARNING! Announcement by Phuket Marine Department today. Foreign vessels NOT equipped with AIS will NOT be permitted to enter or depart Thailand waters, starting 19 Oct 2015. Thankfully period of grace has been granted. See news item adjacent for further details.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Sep 07, 2015 02:35 PM

For those cruisers considering having their liferaft serviced in Thailand, it may be useful to read about the experience of s/v Crystal Blues at http://svcrystalblues.blogspot.my/2013/10/dangerous-liferaft-servicing.html#more

helena
helena says:
Sep 07, 2015 02:00 AM

A word of warning if driving a motorbike in Thailand. In Phuket, the Ao Chalong police department is doing road stops for motorbike driving license checks as well as helmet and registration. Note: A motorbike license is mandatory here, a car license will not do. Watch out if you rent a motorbike as the hire shops don't necesserily know the rules.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Dec 18, 2014 01:09 PM

Cruisers have reported problems with the accuracy of Navionic charts in SE Asia, Thailand in particular.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Aug 07, 2014 02:17 PM

Posted on behalf of Michael Blowes:
At my latest check-in to Thailand in Krabi, payment of the bond (THB20000) was unavoidable.. all the other boats coming in now suffered the same thing. I was given only 30 days (or less) and told either I paid the bond to allow me to leave by plane or land to get another visa (via consulate or on re-arrival), or I had to sail out within the 30 days (the latter option effectively negating the 6 month stay for the boat).
Even when the amount is not a big deal it is still a huge administrative workload. Was told by immigration that the way to circumvent is simply apply and get a 60 day tourist visa before coming to Thailand (e.g. Penang or Singapore).

hoare
hoare says:
May 15, 2014 12:15 PM

Its back to normal at Krabi. U can obtain 6 months temporary boat importation extendable for another 6 months without a problem. Krabi is very easy for paperwork, but u do need a car as customs and immigration are about 8 km apart.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Jan 30, 2014 01:14 PM

See news item adjacent dated 30 January 2014 which explains these new rules regarding length of stay for yachts.

Richard & Susan Kidd
Richard & Susan Kidd says:
Jan 14, 2014 01:03 PM

When we checked in at Ao Chalong in December 2013, on a weekday, there was a THB 100 per person fee to immigration.
Since 1 January 2014 boats checking in at Ao Chalong have been given only a 60-day stay by customs. This is causing significant concern in the Phuket marine industry.

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Thailand Boat Stays: Old System now back in place  (23 Feb 2014)

Thailand: New rules for boat/yacht stays - with further updates

Thailand: New rules for boat/yacht stays - with further updates   (10 Feb 2014)

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Thailand: Phuket’s ‘invisible moorings’ sink B10mn luxury cruiser  (21 Jan 2014)

Indian Ocean Crossing 2014/15 to South Africa

Indian Ocean Crossing 2014/15 to South Africa  (14 Jan 2014)

Thailand: Phuket Customs yet to enforce new rules for boat stays

Thailand: Phuket Customs yet to enforce new rules for boat stays  (10 Jan 2014)

Indian Ocean: Two vessels attacked in four days indicates resurgence of Somali piracy

Indian Ocean: Two vessels attacked in four days indicates resurgence of Somali piracy  (17 Oct 2013)

Thailand, Koh Samet, Ao Phrao (Phrao Bay): Closed following oil spill

Thailand, Koh Samet, Ao Phrao (Phrao Bay): Closed following oil spill  (30 Jul 2013)

Great New Service for noonsite users: Get notified of cruising news, reports and country updates as they are posted

Great New Service for noonsite users: Get notified of cruising news, reports and country updates as they are posted  (23 May 2013)

Is the Indian Ocean safe for yachts?

Is the Indian Ocean safe for yachts?  (07 May 2013)

Thailand, Phuket, Chalong: Shots fired as yacht robbery thwarted

Thailand, Phuket, Chalong: Shots fired as yacht robbery thwarted  (26 Apr 2013)

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Thailand, Koh Chang: Siam Royal View opens Phase 1 of state-of-the-art marina  (03 Apr 2013)

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Summary of Security & Piracy Reports 2012  (28 Feb 2013)

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SE Asia Cruisers Radio Net Now Closed  (22 Feb 2013)

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Thailand, Phuket: New moorings break loose, wreak havoc for yachtsmen in Chalong Bay  (01 Jan 2013)

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Thailand, Phuket, Chalong Bay: Warning about Unsafe Mooring Buoys  (17 Dec 2012)

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New - AIS Requirement for Yachts Entering Singapore  (02 Apr 2012)

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Sevenstar Sailings to and from the Far East   (28 Mar 2012)

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Thailand, Phuket: Bay Regatta for Cruising Yachts  (31 Jan 2012)

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Thailand, Koh Lipe: Locals save yacht as it drags its anchor out to sea  (23 Nov 2011)

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Thailand to Turkey Convoy through the Gulf of Aden Cancelled  (23 Nov 2011)

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Treat with Extreme Caution - Convoys & Rallies through the Indian Ocean  (22 Sep 2011)

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Thailand: Phuket ready to launch online check-in for yachts  (19 Aug 2011)

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The Latest Information on Yacht Transport Voyages  (08 Mar 2011)

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An Alternative to the Risks of ‘Pirate Alley' - Updated  (23 Feb 2011)

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Indian Ocean Net (IO Net) Now Closed  (06 Jun 2010)

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Thailand: Pirates Jailed for Yacht Murder  (01 Dec 2009)

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Yachtsman Murdered in Thailand  (25 Mar 2009)

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Phuket poised to welcome King's Cup Regatta 2008  (24 Oct 2008)

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Update Mobile Maritime Net SE Asia  (27 Aug 2008)

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Latest News On Mobile Maritime Net SE Asia  (04 Aug 2008)

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Phuket - New Immigration Requirement  (27 Jul 2008)

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Pirates Attack French Yacht and Take Crew Hostage  (05 Apr 2008)

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YANGON TO MANILA BAY: A NEW CRUISING PLAYGROUND  (23 May 2005)

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Brunei Bay Radio Services  (23 Feb 2005)

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Yachts Can Visit Galle, Sri Lanka  (01 Feb 2005)

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South East Asian Maritime Net frequency modification  (13 Jul 2004)

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Zero Boat Tax Becomes Reality For Thailand  (01 Mar 2004)

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Protest Against Controversial Local Fees in Phuket  (02 Feb 2004)

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Weather Websites for SE Asia  (01 Feb 2003)

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Thailand tightens rules for long term visiting boats  (19 Aug 2002)