Thailand superyacht guide

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Why Thailand is an up and coming destination for yachting

4 March 2024 • Written by Dea Jusufi

Characterised by warm, vibrant seas and beachfront hospitality, Thailand has piqued the curiosity of yacht owners for decades. But the country’s infamous bureaucracy has posed a barrier to superyacht growth in the past. Foreign-flagged yachts were previously only able to visit Thailand as part of a multi-country itinerary and, upon arrival in Thai waters, had to pay a hefty import tax on the value of the yacht.

With the country’s new Foreign Charter License (2022), however, superyachts are now only expected to pay VAT from the revenue they generate during their stay. Combined with the removal of all COVID restrictions at the end of 2022, 2023 marked a promising year of growth for the region's marine tourism – with this summer season set to continue on this trajectory. BOAT takes a look at what Thailand has to offer the visiting superyacht...

The best beaches in Thailand for superyachts

Credit: Getty Images

Pattaya Beach, Chon Buri

Unfurling along the edge of Thailand's second most-visited city, Pattaya Beach is a nightlife haven that's drawn international tourists since the Vietnam War. The promenade is home to Central Festival Pattaya Beach Mall – Asia's largest beachfront mall – while those looking for cultural sights can set sail for the Sanctuary of Truth. An unfinished castle-come-museum, its ornamental towers of takien and teak make it the largest wooden structure in Thailand (and a spectacular sight from the water).

Credit: Getty Images

Pansea Beach, Choeng Thale

While this beach may technically be free for public use, there's no public path to be seen. Fringed with coconut trees, the 250-metre stretch of sand is only accessible through the grounds of luxury resorts Amanpuri and The Surin. A yachting excursion, therefore, is probably the most convenient way to experience it – so anchor nearby and enjoy. While visiting, you're also likely to spot a group of local masseuses on shore, known to offer traditional massages right in front of The Surin's cottage-style suites.

Credit: Getty Images

Railay Beach, Krabi

This small, secluded bay can only be reached via boat, stranded as it is at the tip of the Railay Peninsula. But those who decide to venture on will find Thailand at its best, replete with coconut trees and jade-coloured waters. Unsurprisingly, rock climbing is incredibly popular here, with visitors often spotting a daredevil or two clinging to a cliff face. Nearby, the Phra Nang Cave is a sacred site to the local fisherman, worth visiting for its saw-toothed stalactites and shrine strewn with incense, flowers and fertility lingams. 

The top hotels in Thailand for superyachts

Credit: The Racha

The Racha, Phuket

The Racha is a collection of white-washed villas that barely peek above the resort's twenty acres of jungle. Facing the everclear waters of Batok Bay, its Sunset Restaurant serves unpretentious Thai food complemented by the gentle thrums of live music. Dishes include Northern-style minced chicken and steamed white snapper, all flavoured by herbs from the resort's own hydroponic farm. Visit the Anumba Spa for their cooling aloe vera body wraps – the perfect remedy to a day spent on a sundeck. 

Nearby Marinas: Ao Po Grand Marina, Royal Phuket Marina, Phuket Boat Lagoon

Credit: Barcelo Coconut Island

Barcelo Coconut Island, Phuket

Just off the coast of Phuket is the thick-foliaged Koh Maprao (or Coconut Island), after which this village of villas is named. Their softly-lit restaurant, Koko, serves several twists on Japanese cuisine. Expect tuna tartare dressed with feta cheese and capers, or a surf and turf with wagyu as its centrepiece. Koko also pride themselves on their creative cocktail menu, with the Castaway – made with flor de cana rum, homemade syrup and pineapple juice, among others – being highly recommended.

Nearby Marinas: Royal Phuket Marina, Ao Po Grand Marina, Phuket Boat Lagoon

Credit: Mason Pattaya

Mason Pattaya, Chon Buri

Mason Pattaya rests on the tipping point between Pattaya's city centre and a local fishing village, offering visiting superyachts easy access to both worlds. Designed by award-winning Thai architect Vasu Virajsilp, the hotel's infinity rooftop (and 12-metre pool) is worth the climb for its far-flung views of Na Jomtien beach. The Zila stone massage is their spa signature, chosen for the mineral's reported healing properties. The stones themselves are sourced from Angsila, an artisanal rock-carving community known as "the stone basin" of the Chon Buri Province.

Nearby Marinas: Ocean Marina Yacht Club

Credit: Ana Anan Resort and Villa

Ana Anan Resort and Villa, Chon Buri 

This high-rise resort is favoured for its sheltered location and yoga-centric Dhyãna Spa. Their wellness offering is everything you'd want from a Thai treatment, from singing bowls and local botanicals to hot stones that stimulate your chakras. A treatment worth trying is the Social Media Tension Release Massage, which, unusually, focuses on the muscles around the eyes. Afterwards, withdraw to Over the Moon, the resort's chic rooftop bar serving oyster platters alongside planetary cocktails – from a rose-and-pomegranate Mercury to a syrupy, apricot brandy Neptune. 

Nearby Marinas: Ocean Marina Yacht Club

Yachts for charter in Thailand

Wanderlust

Stats: 85.3m, Silver Yachts, 2022, 12 guests, 24 crew
Highlights: A winter garden fitted with floor-to-ceiling privacy glass, a skylounge with a screen for a ceiling and a 400-square-metre aft deck

"Pre Covid, Phuket was increasingly recognised a world-class charter destination and several of our best charter yachts were opting for this destination versus the Caribbean," commented Burgess Asia chairman Jean-Marc Poullet. "Now that the Covid restrictions have been fully removed, we expect this trend to amplify and several of our top charter yachts are considering repositioning to the region this winter."

Wanderlust is priced from $960,000 per week with Burgess.

Galileo G

Stats: 55.7m, Perini Navi, 2011, 12 guests, 11 crew
Highlights: Specialises in dive and surf expeditions, a World Superyacht Award finalist, a 9,000nm+ cruising range

"Clients are looking for off the beaten track charters where they can be active, enjoy diving and explore more untouched places," explained IYC sales and charter consultant Sofia Penvern. "There is a particular appeal with South East Asia in this regard, where the offering is quite special and charterers can spend time on board that is both thrilling and relaxing." 

"You go to Europe for culture and history, but you come to the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia for its diversity and raw beauty," added Galileo G captain Anthony Daebritz.

Galileo G is priced from €280,000 per week with IYC.

Guillemot

Stats: 43m, Vitters Holland, 2004, 10 guests, 7 crew
Highlights: A dedicated diving and bathing platform, a 2021 refit that included a new cockpit area, updated saloon and refreshed en suites

"Thailand is a phenomenal place to explore, and a yacht provides a unique vantage point to get away from the mass tourism that many people associate with the region. With an endless coastline and countless islands, there are stunning locations to drop your anchor in pretty much every direction," said Camper & Nicholsons charter broker Bobby Bigio. "Every year, we see a slow and steady increase in appetite for charters in Thailand and further afield as clients who have experienced the usual cruising grounds want to expand their horizons east."

Guillemot is priced from $125,000 per week with Camper & Nicholsons.

Lady Azul

Stats: 39.4m, Heesen, 2001, 10 guests, 7 crew
Highlights: Netted custom pool for protected swimming, air-conditioned gym and dive centre 

"There’s definitely been an increased interest in yachting in Thailand. To be expected, as sailing allows visitors to access any beautiful, far-flung cove and corner they desire," said Matthew Gusman, broker at TWW Yachts. "New Zealand-born captain Gerry has called this part of the world home for the past decade, (his first-hand knowledge is second to none) so guests of Lady Azul get to experience the best less frequented and unspoilt islands such as Koh Hong and Ko Rok Nok in the Krabi region, which have been hugely successful on the last two charters."

Lady Azul is priced at $133,000 per week with TWW Yachts.

Read More/Thailand welcomes back foreign superyachts

More about this yacht

SilverYachts   85.3 m •  2022
Vitters   42.9 m •  2004

Yachts for sale

Heesen Yachts   39.4 m •  10 guests •  €7,950,000

Yachts for charter

Perini Navi   55.7 m •  12 guests • Price from €280,000 p/w
SilverYachts   85.3 m •  12 guests • Price from €896,000 p/w

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