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Thailand
 

Traditional Sail & Dive Safari
7 days from 1290 (snorkel) / 1390 (diver)



Thailand's west coast has long been admired as some of the most idyllic in the world.  Punctuated by dramatic limestone islands and often covered in seasonally dry tropical forest, the marine landscape in this part of the Andaman Sea lends itself ideally to exploration by sailing yacht, traditional 'junk', sea kayak, snorkel and scuba.

Phuket is the northern gateway to this area and although itself relatively developed, the myriad of islands around it provide some wonderful exploration from the water.  Phang Nga Bay National Marine Park provides opportunities for some excellent exploration under sail, or by sea kayak.  Although these islands are too close to the mainland to provide good diving conditions, you can do some excellent 'above water snorkelling' on the low tide.  As the water levels drop, you can kayak close to some wonderfully colourful corals and sponges which are exposed in the shallows at the edges of some of the undisturbed islands.


For the clearest waters and least disturbed land and marine environments, you need to get away from the hub and explore the protected marine park areas to the west, north and south.   These include the Similan and Surin Islands far out in the Andaman Sea and Richelieu Rock.  Richelieu is a submerged rock between these islands famous for opportunities to dive and snorkel with whale sharks.

Ko Tarutao, Rawi and Adang in the far south west of Thailand lie close to the Malaysian Islands of Langkawi.  Like Langkawi, these islands contain some excellent land based wildlife within its forests, mangroves, and cave systems.  Species include hornbills, mouse deer, wild pig, dusky langurs and crab-eating monkeys.  Unlike Langkawi where the seas tend to be too shallow for good diving or snorkeling, the islands of the Ko Tarutao and Ko Phetra National Marine Parks have some stunning reefs and clear blue waters ideal for underwater exploration.

Photographs kindly provided by John Gray, Ralph Pannell, June Hong Chian Lee, Frank de Groot 

     

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