Top 10 anchor / mooring spots around Phuket
If you have ever been sailing around Phuket, you will know it is hard to choose the top 10 spots. We tried to make this list, that is an all rounded list. We include what most of our past clients told us, and those we prefer ourselves. So they range from busy to some secluded spots. Most of the spots you will not have to rush to get an anchorage or mooring ball. Thailand is the land of smiles, not only the Thais, but also the yachties that enjoy the culture and beauty that Thailand offer. So without further adieu, here is the list in no particular order.
Ko Hong (Phuket)
Ko Hong (Phuket) is a very busy tourist attraction during day time. We do recommend to either be there early, or late afternoon, and explore the “hong”, which means “room” in Thai. The day tourist will arrive at about 10:00 and most will depart at the latest at 17:30. This means when you anchor here, that you and the few other boats around will be the only ones to explore it on your own. If you do prefer a guided kayak tour, be there when the day tourist are there. The first big ferry bring a lot of kayak paddlers and for a small fee will paddle you through the Hong and tell you what each cave and stalactite looks like. Keep an eye out for the friendly local fishermen that will come sell you their catch. It ranges from freshly caught shrimps and local fish species at a bargain price, the nice thing of Thailand vs Caribbean is the local fishermen will go away if you say no. Be sure to pay the Rangers the national marine park fee when they come to your boat or otherwise go visit them at the Ranger Station.
Ko Kudu Yai
Ko Kudu Yai is one of the little hidden gems of Phangna Bay. Not a lot of people know of the beautiful bay that is on the south side of the Island. Phi Phi Maya Bay has been made famous by the movie “The Beach”, and if you want to see something similar but without all the tourist, this is it. Ko Kudu Yai might not have the clear water of Phi Phi, but its natural beauty is something that most tourist never get to see and resembles the movie pretty well. It is a good place to have a picnic on the beach, just be sure to take mosquito repellent along. You might encounter one or two long tail boats that bring a small number of tourist, but mostly you will be alone. The anchorage is in between Ko Kudu Noi and Ko Kudu Yai, the tide does become very strong and when there are NE winds, it might be a little rolley for a night time anchorage.
Ko Hong (Krabi)
Ko Hong (Krabi) is another popular day tourist attraction, but not nearly as popular as Ko Hong (Phuket). The hong is on the northern side of the Island. It is pretty deep here and most boats are not recommended to anchor here, but to use the mooring balls that are provided. Once you are done exploring the hong, take your yacht around to the south side of the Island and also use the mooring balls. There is a nice little beach pub to visit and swim off the beach. This is really only recommended as a day time stop.
Railey beach is another famous beach with some tourist. It is cut of from the main land by the mountain and everything gets there by boat. There are very nice restaurants and resorts on the beach. The one side has more of a backpacker feel where the other side is more a upscale resort environment. For the more adventurous, there is an opportunity try your hand at rock climbing off the beach, or for the rest of the duration can go snorkel/kayak around the rocks to the east.
Phi Phi Don – Tong Sai Bay
Some will say that you have not been to Phuket if you have not been to Phi Phi Don. Tong Sai bay is a very busy bay and during day time is a rolling anchorage with big ferries going by. This is the place you want to be if you either want to arrange for a dive trip or a trip down to Phi Phi Maya Bay. Night time in the bay is the place to be if you are a party animal. From the famous Thailand buckets, to fire dancing (Poi) there is a pub which will play your music on the beach. For the non-party animal that wants to go anchor somewhere quieter, there are options close by.
Ko Pu is another of the little hidden gems. There are a few nice resorts and restaurants available on the beach. It is not a very popular tourist island, hence the locals here are even more friendlier and helpful than most of the other Islands. If you are looking for peace and quiet, this is the Island to visit. It does not have the big limestone cliffs but well worth the visit.
Ko Racha Yai
Ko Racha Island group have recently been declared a no anchoring zone to protect the coral. It is extremely poplar for diving and the Thai government has sponsored a number of projects to help build the reefs around the Island group. An open mooring ball can sometimes be hard to find during day time, as there are numerous dive boats coming from either Phuket or Phi Phi Don. Snorkeling and diving here is pretty amazing.
Ko Muk – Emerald Cave
Ko Muk, Emerald Cave is a must for those that have booked a charter for more than 7 days. The caves are on the north west side of the Island and is not accessible in the South West Wind season. Be sure to take a flashlight with you if you feel adventurous and want to explore the cave even deeper than just the entrance. You will have to know what the tide is doing so that you do not get stuck in the cave. There are new mooring balls setup and the Rangers will ask you to pay the fee when you visit the cave.
Ko Lipe is fast becoming a very popular tourist destination with new resorts and restaurants popping up. The natural beauty and clear waters around the Island is amazing for either snorkeling or kayaking. If you plan to come so far South remember that most charter companies will require that you are capable of returning the yacht on your own because of the distance from Phuket. To get here and back to Phuket you will need to book a minimum of 14 days not to over stress yourself by sailing whole complete days.
Ko Similan Island Group
Ko Similan Group of 9 Islands are on most diver’s bucket list. The Island group is well known for its crystal clear water and extremely beautiful reefs around the Islands. It is about 60 nautical miles away from the closest anchorage near Phuket and it is recommended for only the well seasoned sailors. Please use mooring balls around the Islands as anchoring is strictly prohibited. There are a number of day tour groups and a little day time restaurant on the main Island. Please note the Island group is only open certain times of the year and only in the North East season. You will have to pay daily park fees.
Please feel free to let us know which of the list are your favorites and if we have missed one that you strongly will recommend to other people, please share.