Maneuvering through the turquoise waters surrounding Phuket is a wonderful experience. Island taxi boats known as Longtails or Reua Hang Yao are built to last 50 years and cut through the sea with ease. Indispensable to fisherman, the Longtail requires a skilled hand and well-defined body behind the helm to navigate the wooden vessel. Many of these seaworthy crafts can be hired to visit nearby islands for a negotiated price, normally to be between 500-2000 baht for return trip.
Longtail boars are not as flashy or fast as modern speedboats. However a trip in a longtail boat is an interesting experience and a great way to take short sightseeing trips.
It's not for the feint-hearted though as there is usually no safety equipment like life vests.
We wanted to go to Koh Heh for the day (or Coral Island as it is more commonly known). It is situated a few kilometers off the coast of Phuket (on the south east side). We went to Chalong Pier to have a look at the prices of getting a boat over there and met a man touting for business for his son who had a long-tail boat. He offered to take us over there the following day.
We paid around 1,500 bht for 4 of us (which I think was a bit on the more expensive side - you could probably haggle and get the price down), but it was our boat for the day. He took us over there and stayed on the island until we wanted to go back.
My tip for anyone travelling on a long-tail, is to pack things in plastic bags inside your rucksack as the waves can wash over the side - and wear clothes/shoes you don't mind getting wet. Our children thought it was great fun because we all got soaked - and it was......much better than going on a normal boat over there.
Bear in mind,
this is not a free ride.
You are on board
to help with the
sailing, cooking, and/or cleaning.
So only those who
feel comfortable in this
setting should apply.
You will most probably be asked
to contribute to costs,
which usually can be anywhere
between $10 - $50 US a day.
You can also go on the internet
and plan your sailing beforehand.
Having this experience
with a few boats already,
(I have sailed on 3)
I strongly recommend
that you take time
in finding the right vessel
before you board.
A prior encounter with the captain
is not always possible.
Since most probably you will
take a flight to meet up with the boat.
Or the boat will be sailing to pick you up.
Exchange as much information before hand,
including pictures of the exterior
and interior of the vessel,
equipment on board, and a description
with picture of the captain
and his experiences.
make sure the captain is not
looking for a personal mate.
And is serious in his request.
my experiences were learning ones.
And traveling by sea
can allow you to see places
you may not have by land.
Often it’s also cheaper.
Try making a commitment for
2 weeks at first,
and extend it if all goes well.
site with links to crewing opportunities; forums; crewing services;
updated. Very Good!
and Bon Voyage!
Another adventurous way
to get to or around Thailand
and maybe even further,
is sailing as a crew member.
With Phuket as one of SE Asia’s
main destination for yachts,
this is a great place to hop on board.
Just visit one Phuket’s 2 marina’s.
Phuket Blue Lagoon at Ao Sapam,
about 20 km north of Phuket town
on the east shore or
Yacht Haven Marina at Laem Phrao
on the eastern side of the northern tip.
TO be continued
When arriving at Phuket ferry terminal, you are welcomed by agents offering single tickets for 600 Baht and return tickets for 1,000 Baht. Officialy the one way cost of the ferry from Phuket to Phi Phi Don is 580 Baht, plus an additional 20 Baht tax at the Phi Phi Don side. The tickets sold at the Phuket side does not include the Phi Phi Don tax of 20 Baht. Return tickets to Phuket can be bought at 300 Baht on Phi Phi Don Island.
Being a main tourist area and a bustling beach town, phuket has many options for the tourists and one of the options in island hopping around Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga Provinces is via a speed boat but hiring a private speed boat for a day of island hopping around phi phi islands, krabi islands, james bond island, similan islands, khai islands, koh lanta islands and more will set you 30,000-50,000 baht for a whole day boat rental (the price is for the boat and if you are only three persons, divide this by a three and if ten person, divide by ten) depending on the route and the number of islands visited (example is phi phi island and khai island only or krabi + phi phi islands + james bond island or Phi Phi Island + Koh Lanta island, etc). the private speed boat is up to ten persons only and lunch and park entrance fees are not included, just the snorkelling equipment and free water and juices. if you want to have it cheaper, then just book a speed boat tour of the assorted islands with a big speed boat for 35 people at the many travel agencies in and around phuket and the price will be 3,000-4,500 baht per person and it includes everything like park entrances and free drinks and juices and snorkelling equipment and even the buffet lunch.
if you want a cheaper option of going island hopping among the many nice islands along the andaman sea around Phuket Island, Phanga Province or Krabi province then the cheaper option will be hiring a long tail boat. it will be the cheapest thing to get a tour from these long tail boats as they are slower and can only accomodate up to 8 people and the main disadvantage in using these long tail boats is that you can only visit one to two islands instead of 4 to 6 islands when using the speed boat tours as for example, a long tail boat tour of phi phi islands (maya bay at phi phi le and tonsai bay at phi phi don will take 6 hours round trip by long tail boat and you can only spend up to 3 hours at the phi phi islands and the park fees and lunch is not included, you must bring your own food and drinks but they provide the snorkelling equipment) a whole day long tail boat tour will cost 3,000 baht for the boat (if you are 8 people then divide this by 8, so it is the cheapest option but it takes a long time to reach your destination).
Long tail boats are available along patong beach (but the you need an additonal 1 1/2 hour travel time to reach phi phi island) and at the chalong pier in phuket town. transportation to chalong pier is not inlcuded so you have to take a tuk tuk or taxi from patong to phuket town and vice versa for 600 to 800 baht. You can book a long tail boat tour at the assorted travel agencies and tour stalls lining patong.
the middle option when taking assorted island hopping tours around the glistening islands off the andaman sea in the provinces of Phuket, Krabi and Phang Nga is the big boat tour. It costs less than that of a speed boat tour (3,000 to 5,000 baht for a speed boat tour) and about 1,000 baht for a long tail boat tour (including park entrance fees, transport via tuk tuk to and from phuket town, but not lunch). the big boat tours will cost from 1,500 baht to 2,500 baht (including buffet lunch, assorted drinks and park entrance fees and snorkelling gear and transport to and from hotel to the chalong pier in phuket town) depending on the number or Islands seen. for example, a phi phi island tour that includes phi phi le and phi phi don islands is 1,600 baht per person. but the disadvantage is that it will take longer at 1:30 to 2 hours per trip to and from the phi phi islands and that you cannot go near the beach at the famous maya bay as there are no pier at maya bay so that you could only snorkel in the vicinity of maya bay. but you can swim at the beach in tonsai bay in phi phi don island as they have a pier there. and no stop over at the khai islands as they have no pier there too.
Mist of the Tourists Going to Phuket on a holiday not only go to the assorted Phuket Beaches like Patong, Kata or Karon but also do the various Island Hopping tours around the many Islands in the Andaman Sea and there are many island hopping options available but they all start and stop at the Chalong Pier in Chalong Bay at 8 kilometers south of Phuket Town. The different island hopping tours all have transport service to and from the hotels in the Patong and other areas to Chalong Pier and travel time is usually 40 minutes to 1 hour. Most of Phuket's speed boat, fishing boats, big tour boats, snorkeling companies and yacht charter are also located here.
If you take a boat to to the surrounding islands...choose the traditional fishing boats...it's the wooden boats you see in all the pics. It takes a little longer...but it's a great experience.
Plus...the locals are always good for a conversation. The people in thailand are some of the most beautiful in the world....
-Plenty of Food Outlets at Rassada Pier including one restaurant (Chom View Restaurat) but only available until 8AM, we arrived around 6AM at the pier and left at 7:30AM after finding out our boat straight to Ao Nang, Krabi isn't available that day. We hope to have even a coffee before leaving but all closed until 8AM as the Pier Personnel informs
-Buy your food and coffee along the way to the Pier if you are to arrive early
-Initial plan is to get direct to Ao Nang, Krabi from Rassada Pier early morning of Tuesday, August 19, said fare per pax is B700, approximately 2 hour journey
-Arrived at the Pier a lot earlier to secure boat tickets finding out that Ao Nang Princess (the boat direct to Krabi from Phuket's Rassada Pier) only operates 3 times a week as of Aug 2014 (1 schedule per day at 8AM) and current schedule was Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays
-Ended up getting a cab from Rassada Pier to Ao Nang for B2800 (able to lowered it down from a hefty price of B4000), needed to arrive Ao Nang before lunch because a pre-paid island tour will commence at 12:30PM that same day
-There are a lot of dogs wandering around the Pier Premises, no Pier Personnel shows up until 7:30AM (apart from the Security at the gate whom continued to dream in his sleep after we walked in), we arrived at the Pier around 6:30AM, all the dogs keep following us wherever we go, when we stopped walking, they stopped and stared at us (all the time) until we left the Pier at around 8AM
-To get them away, turn on the flash of your camera and shoot continuously focusing onto them, one almost bark but ran away when the sound of shutter never stops
-Had to spent a good 30 minutes of deleting almost 200 shots of them afterwards, but better than one of us ending to have an anti-rabies vaccine in Phuket while on a holiday
Longtails boats have a car motor engine and used for small trips near beaches.Rates start from 400 baht