Thai Adventure Articles

A Complete Guide To Boating In Thailand

The waters of Thailand offer visitors a wealth of options for exploration. Travelers can choose between a stunning cruise off the coast of the southern islands or traveling down the rivers of the north. 

The possibilities are limitless. There are boats available for every interest, from the fisherman to the kayaker to the yacht enthusiast. Here's the guide to everything that you need to know to help plan your perfect boating experience on your trip.

Koh Samui

This island paradise has a wide variety of great boating options. Starting with the simple canoes and kayaks that are available for rent on the beach at Chaweng, located on the island's eastern shore, these small boats are a great way to get out and enjoy the feel of the water. Those looking for a bit more power and speed can charter speedboats for the day from one of the many tour boat operators. Then for those that are looking to get out on the water and take it easy, the same tour companies offer a wide range of day trips for fishermen and snorkelers alike.


Koh Pha Ngan

Leaving Koh Samui, visitors to this smaller island to the north have the option of traveling in style by boat taxi. These long boats pick up passengers as they travel around the island, taking people to and from their hard to reach destinations.

This is the only way to reach the famed Bottle Beach on the north side of the island. For the scuba divers looking to get to know the fish better, there are daily trips out to the various marine nature reserves like Ang Thong National Park. The national park that is reachable only by boat is an hour's ride from the island and well worth the trip.

The charter takes the traveler on a ride of a lifetime as it maneuvers towards the collection of some forty-two small islands. There are also charter tours to the island of Koh Tao with its breathtaking coral.


On the other side of Thailand's mainland, there is the island of Phuket that offers up its own brand of boating. Those looking to take advantage of the winds around the island can go out on catamarans and other sailboats. Phuket is also home to one of the largest yacht clubs in Thailand. Tourists can go out on fun filled, day long chartered yacht trips around the waters of the island. Throughout the year, there are a number of regattas that draw in competitors from around the world. Those wishing to learn the basics of sailing can take lessons here.

As in Koh Samui, there are also the choices of charters for big game fishing in the Andaman Sea. The charter boats will also take guests out to the islands of Krabi and Koh Phi Phi to experience the world-renowned diving.

Another must on the diving circuit is the Similian Islands that can be reached as a part of a charter boat tour. Phang Nga Bay is another must see sight with its incredible standalone rock formations. Coral Island, not surprisingly, is known for its reefs and is only 20 minutes away by boat.    



One of Bangkok's best-known sites is its floating Damnoen Saduak market along the River Kwai. Tourists visiting the city can take motorboat taxis up and down the river to experience the sights and smells of this amazing market place.

There is the choice between those that wish to just travel by taxi and the different tours offered by guides. Travelers can opt for the full day cultural tour or the half-day cruises.    

Chiang Mai

Heading north to the province of Chiang Mai, travelers are still presented with a number of great boating choices. The rivers and tributaries of the north provide various tours as parts of treks and jungle experiences.

For the more adventurous trekker, there are bamboo raft rides down the rivers. The Mae Kok River is one of the more popular river rides. The Mae Kok, which originates in Burma to the north runs through the jungle and past many of the Hill tribe villages.

This charter tour gives travelers the opportunity to experience the natural beauty around them and to meet the people of these isolated tribes. The boat tour also passes the Karen tribe where tourists can stop, buy handmade crafts from the tribes’ people and watch an elephant show.  

Whether you're out for adventure or for relaxation, Thailand has a world of choices when it comes to boating. The wide selection of small and large watercrafts that transport you to and from the various sights and experiences are themselves an integral part of the Thailand adventure.      


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