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"The Caribbean of Asia" has been, until the last 15 years, relatively quiet. A secret gemstone hidden within a country of smiling people. Everything changed with the Tourist Association of Thailand's legendary global advertising campaign "Amazing Thailand" and Thailand was dsicovered by the world.
Thailand's unparalleled marine playground has been quite difficult to access, enjoyed by but a handful of cruising yachts and an even smaller group of charter holidaymakers. But no more. A surge in the development of marina facilities and in the number of yachts available for charter mean that Thailand is set to burst upon the international scene as the world's newest yachting playground.
Over 1,000 miles of coastline bordering the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, literally thousands of islands, countless beaches with pristine white sand, crystal waters and superb coral reefs, hidden creeks and headlands meeting the sea, mystical sea mountains. All these combine with a tropical climate to create the world's most stunning cruising waters. Welcome to Thailand... The Thailand that independent cruising yachtsmen tell tales about on their travels... The Thailand that many have never left.
Thailand enjoys a tropical climate with three distinct seasons-hot
and dry from February to May (average temperature 34 degrees
Celsius and 75% humidity); rainy with plenty of sunshine
from June to October (average day temperature 29 degrees
Celsius and 87% humidity); and cool from November to January
(temperatures range from 32 degrees Celsius to below 20
degrees Celsius with a drop in humidity).
Much lower temperatures are experienced in the North and Northeast during nighttime. The South has a tropical rainforest climate with temperatures averaging 28 degrees Celsius almost all year round.
Although in the tropics, Thailand has no typhoons. It is not in a hazardous weather zone. Even the seasonal monsoons are gentle. Temperatures range from 25' - 35'C for most of the year, and the sea rarely varies from a balmy 28'C. This means comfortable, exotic cruising all year round.
Coastal Thailand lies between 5'C and 13'C north of the equator, which places it firmly in the monsoonal weather patterns of the northern hemisphere. This means that the prevailing winds from November to April are northeasterly and from May to October are southwesterly. Typhoons are not a risk in Thailand waters and temperatures range from maximum 35'C to minimum 25'C.
The Andaman Sea coast in the West experiences regular, fair to strong, breezes between May and October, when the best sailing is in the sheltered waters of Phang-nga Bay. Rain showers are frequent but not persistent and are interspersed with excellent sunny clear days. During this season, the Gulf experiences the same prevailing winds, but tends to be dryer in the lee of the southern Thailand peninsula.
Between November and April, the winds can be quite strong in the early mornings tailing off in the afternoons. Later in the season, the winds become lighter. Thailand is unique as a sailing holiday destination. There is no off-season. Indeed, the May-October 'Green Season' offers near-perfect conditions for keen sailors with reliable winds averaging 12 – but rarely exceeding 25 – knots, bright sunshine interspersed with showers, and generally cooler temperatures.
Who has not heard of the friendliness of Thailand's people,
the magnificent cuisine and the fascinating culture? It is all true. And all are harnessed to ensure visitors to this
magical Kingdom have an unforgettable experience. Whichever
part of the kingdom you visit, the experience of Thailand
adds a wonderful extra dimension to a boating holiday.
Thailand has deservedly become Asia's premier cruising and boating destination. Residents of South East Asia already take advantage of this magical marine world, as do cruising yachts on their way between the two hemispheres. If you base your own boat in Thailand, you may find you never need finish exploring within the Kingdom's borders, but should you want to look further, there is no better base from which to explore the whole region. And Thailand welcomes you each time you return.
Thailand's coast borders three other countries – Myanmar, Cambodia and Malaysia – each with coastal assets of its own. North of the Andaman Sea coast is the border with Myanmar and its magnificent Mergui Archipelago. An unspoiled region with many uninhabited islands, only a few dive and adventure holiday operators have been given access to date, but the region is earmarked for sustainable development. The gateway to this little-explored area is Phuket and Ranong.
Southwards, at the entrance to the Malacca Straits, is the Malaysian west coast with a number of islands offering marina facilities. Phuket and Satun are well placed to provide easy access to these cruising grounds, the last stop in Thailand waters being Ko Tarutao. On the Gulf coast of Malaysia, marinas are planned in each major sea port as stepping stones to or from Ko Samui.
Cambodia is the least developed coastline in the region and, along with neighbouring Vietnam, is set to become the next significant area of interest. The Cambodian border is just a few miles from Ko Chang.
To the east of Phuket lie the Andaman Islands, in Indian waters. These sleepy islands, steeped in tradition, are just 350 miles off Thailand's west coast and have only recently begun to welcome visiting yachts. If you are looking for new frontiers, Thailand provides the perfect hub from which to explore the budding cruising grounds of the region.
The world-famous ‘Pearl of the Andaman' – Phuket – to the mysterious limestone karsts, mangrove swamps, creeks, islets and perfect beaches of Phang-nga Bay, Krabi, Ko Phi Phi and Ko Lanta. The almost unknown and unspoiled islands off Thailand's west coast, heading towards the Myanmar border, to the extraordinary Similan Islands northwest of Phuket and south to the Malaysian border.
From the favourite holiday islands Ko Samui and Ko Pha-ngan in the Western Gulf of Thailand across to the mountainous and heavily forested Ko Chang and Kut Archipelagos in the Eastern Gulf.
The sheer number of destinations awaiting you within Thailand's borders is outdone only by the unbelievable variety. From world-class marina to tiny fishing village, from big city Pattaya to deserted beaches and uninhabited islands, this is the marine wonderland of Thailand. This is Asia's boating playground. This is the ‘Caribbean' of the East.
Thailand (Prathet Thailand, meaning "land of the free")
Bangkok (Krung Thep, meaning "city of angels")
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 recognised as Head of State, Head of the Armed Forces, Upholder of the Buddhist religion and Upholder of all religions.
Thailand is a constitutional monarchy with His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, or King Rama IX, the ninth king of the Chakri Dynasty, the present king. The King has reigned for more than half a century, making him the longest reigning Thailand monarch. Thailand embraces a rich diversity of cultures and traditions. With its proud history, tropical climate and renowned hospitality, the Kingdom is a never-ending source of fascination and pleasure for international visitors.
Thailand is divided into 4 natural regions:
Thai's are well-known for their friendliness and hospitality.
A large majority of over 62 million citizens of Thailand
are ethic Thailand, along with strong communities whose
ethnic origins lie in China, India and elsewhere. About
7 million people reside in the capital city of Bangkok.
Thailand (80%), Chinese (10%), Malay (3%), and the rest are minorities (Mons, Khmers, hill tribes) Ethnic Thailands form the majority, though the area has historically been a migratory crossroads, and has thus produced a degree of ethnic diversity. Integration is such, however, that culturally and socially there is enormous unity.
Thailand has had a constitutional monarchy since 1932. Parliament is composed of 2 houses, The House of Representatives and the Senate. Both representatives and senators are elected by the people. A prime minister elected from among the representatives leads the government. The country is divided into 76 provinces. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration comes under an elected governor. Appointed provincial governors administer the other 75 provinces (Changwat), which are divided into districts (Amphoe), sub-districts (Tambon) and villages (Mu Ban).
H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX of the Chakri Dynasty)
The electric current is 220 volt AC (50 cycles) throughout the country. Many different types of plugs and sockets are in use. Travellers with electric shavers, hair dryers, tape recorders and other appliances should carry a plug adapter kit. The better hotels will make available 110-volt transformers.
Tap water is clean but drinking from it directly should be avoided. Bottled water is recommended
Light, cool clothes are sensible and a jacket is needed for formal meetings and dining in top restaurants. Shorts (except knee length walking shorts), sleeveless shirts, tank tops and other beach-style attire are considered inappropriate dress when not actually at the beach or in a resort area.
The metric system is used throughout Thailand. Numerals on vehicle speed ohmmeters, highway markers and speed limits all indicate kilometres.
Most commercial concerns in Bangkok operate on a five-day week, usually from 8 am to 5 pm. Many stores open seven days a week from 10 am to 10 pm. Government offices are generally open between 8.30 am and 4.30 pm with a noon to 1 pm lunch break, Monday to Friday except on public holidays. Banks are open Mondays to Fridays from 9.30 am to 3.30 pm except on public holidays.
Thailand's mail service is reliable and efficient. Major hotels provide basic postal services on their premises. Provincial post offices are usually open from 8.00 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.
International Roaming Mobile Phone : A Subscriber Identity Module Card (SIM Card) is now available for Thailand and foreign customers who are travelling around for work. The SIM Card must be used in conjunction with a Digital GSM mobile phone within the 900-MHz range or a Digital PCN mobile phone within the 1800-MHz range.
All of Thailand's leading hotels offer facsimile (fax) and e-mail services. Numerous private businesses offer such facilities, most often in conjunction with translation services.
Thailand has been expanding its information service for residents and tourists alike through the Internet system. Services are now available at Thailand's leading hotels and at the many " Cyber-Cafes " that are cropping up in all major tourist destinations.
Thailand by The Passage Samui Boutique Resort, Koh Samui Island, Thailand