Renting a Boat for the Day
Or better still, for a few days, or a week, if you have time
Without doubt, the most beautiful, tranquil places in the Andaman region – the kind we often publish photos of in PHUKET Magazine - are the beaches and special places on outer islands where one, or two, can be all alone. And a boat is the only way to get there
Rent s speedboat or a Thai-style longtail boat or a sailboat or an overnight cruiser or a cabin on a join-in cruise , everything is available here on Phuket. And no mater which direction you go, you can be sure it’s going to be beautiful.
There are four major boat anchorages worth mentioning here, and we will begin at two of them at the very bottom end of the island, and the bottom end of the price scale: Rawai and Chalong. Here are the major anchorages for speed boats and traditional longtails. Both of these boats can also be found right on the beaches of the west coast during the high season months from November to April, but be prepared to pay considerably more if you rent from there.
RawaiRawai is home to two fleets of speed boats, and numerous longtails. There are usually signs advertising longtail rentals at each end of the beach, and a few boat owners wait under the trees for business from about 7:00am. The red and white speed boats (Nonatsak Marine) can be contacted right on the sands in the middle of Rawai beach, but be there early in the high season, or book ahead at the number below. These are the boats that photographer John Everingham of PHUKET Magazine (and principal author of this site) has used for many years without incident. Only broken English spoken at Rawai, so it is critical that EVERYTHING, particularly the expected itinerary, is clearly understood before departing. This is the same no matter which company you rent from, no matter which language is used. If the fuel is included in the cost of the trip, it is unlikely that the boat operator is going to want to go any further than agreed upon, for these boats are extremely fuel hungry, and expensive to run. If, during the day, you want to go further than originally agreed upon, offer to pay extra – assuming they have the fuel on board.
Renting a speedboat for the day will cost somewhere in the vicinity of 10,000 Baht, fuel included. That will take you to the Racha Islands, or others within a two hour range. Going to Phang Nga or Phi Phi and back in a day will cost up to 15,000 Baht. A longtail should cost about 1,500 Baht for the day, wherever you go, but since they are significantly slower, don’t expect to go to Phi Phi and back the same day.
Chalong Bay & jetty
Chalong has even more speed boats than Rawai, and plenty of longtails. One only has look around the pier area for a few minutes, and someone is sure to ask if you want a boat. With scores of boats available, they are hungry for business. Experience suggests that prices here will be a little higher than in Rawai.
Remember, boats in Rawai and Chalong are cheap, as boat rentals go, but also basic. Bring all of your own necessities, including drinks and food. Some will have snorkelling gear aboard, and perhaps fresh water, but that’s about it.
Rough & Adventurous way to go
The truly adventurous way to see Phang Nga and the islands by longtail is to rent one for a few days, stopping over at bungalows on different islands each night (see our maps and contacts in Phang Nga). This writer has done it many times, while shooting photographs. Find a longtail with a roof and bamboo flooring, then take a few extra comforts and some good books. Be sure you can communicate a little with the boat driver, and provide him a bungalow and meals.
Boat LagoonMoving a little north up the island, and significantly up-market in quality of boat, we find the Boat Lagoon, one of only two modern marinas in Phuket. Several boat charter or tour companies operate out of here, and their boats are both more expensive and more comfortable, and their services, like picnic lunches and English speaking captains or hostesses, far superior. They can help plan a day tour to suit anyone’s needs, and while boats from here might cost from 20,000 Baht to 40,000 Bht for the day, they can also carry many more people in greater comfort. One needs to book in advance from these companies, and discus itinerary, meals, drinks etc. Below are some of the better-known companies. Sailing boat charters are also centred here in Boat Lagoon, with the Sunsail fleet of bareboats here, and the major charter agency Thai Marine Leisure (TML).
Day tours :
Phuket Water Taxi Tel: 66 76
Phuket Adventures Tel:
Coral Seekers Tel:
Sailing and motor yacht charters :
Sunsail , Tel:
Yacht Haven – the marina at the top of the islandRight at the top of Phuket Island, beyond the airport. Bring this far north means one has to drive almost an hour to get there, but if you plan to go to Phang Nga that hour drive takes a couple of hours off the boat trip getting there. Close to Phang Nga, Yacht Haven is the ideal starting point for this, the favourite marine attraction off Phuket.
There are no speed boats on rent here, but there are many larger boats that can be chartered for groups. The main operator of day tours to Phang Nga – by boat – East West Siam operates several junks out of here, along with longer range vessels and a four-day, join-in tour of Phang Nga, Krabi and the Phi Phi Islands.
East West Siam Tel: