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Ocean escapes in Thailand – Adventures in the Land of Smiles

In November 2020, Captain Fraser Gow left the wintry Dutch coastline behind, and, on the instructions of her Owner, took the Amels 206 STARDUST south to the sun and the Land of Smiles.

Reflecting on the trip to Thailand, he tells us all about his experiences in a hospitable land of beauty and adventure.

With no less than three coastlines, 12,000km2 of coral reefs, sandy white beaches, pristine, jungle cloaked islands and world-class diving opportunities, Thailand is not only a paradise, it’s a superyachting dream come true.

Dreaming of adventures

An adventurous captain, Captain Fraser likes to propose daring itineraries to the Owners. “As a captain my responsibility to the Owner is to dream up ideas and adventures of what can be done with this vessel and then put that suggestion into practice.”

Thailand certainly offers plenty of opportunity for adventure. Almost every kind of outdoor activity imaginable is possible in the country’s infinitely diverse land and seascapes. In its oceans of crystalline cobalt alone, Thailand boasts an abundance of marine life. The country’s extensive coral reefs are home to one in every four marine species, including 4,000 different fish.

For the more adventurous, the unending waters offer the opportunity to swim with manta rays as well as leopard, whale, or bull sharks.

“With STARDUST we were able to cruise extensively around the surrounding waters of Phuket, there is no shortage of protected anchorages. Although the shallow waters of Phang Nga Bay did require anchoring further out and venturing further in with tenders and kayaks. We had a wonderful time exploring the mangroves and sea caves. The caves lead to the “hongs” or rooms in the centre of the islands accessible only by kayak and only at low tide. A truly memorable experience! Ashore guests and crew alike enjoyed Phuket’s world-class golf courses.”

Stardust – photo © Damen Yachting

On the fairways

Thailand is renowned as one of the world’s best locations for year-round golfing. Here, all the elements combine to ensure a pleasant time on the green. The climate is excellent, the courses superb and challenging – you’ll need to overcome water hazards and avoid some trickily-placed bunkers – and, with the game over, there’s ample opportunity to relax in the clubhouse and enjoy some of Thailand’s world-famous hospitality.

Stardust – photo © Damen Yachting

A walk on the wild side

“There’s plenty of jungle trekking to be done. The crew were picking a new hike every weekend. We experienced some incredible waterfalls. We were privileged to see some wonderful sights. We saw monkeys coming out of the jungle to eat oysters.”

Thailand is literally packed with national parks – many of them dotted along the country’s epic coastline. Amongst the many natural treasures to be found are tropical beaches, misty jungles, mighty waterfalls, and idyllic islands. Thailand’s national parks are home to a bewildering array of wildlife that includes tigers, elephants, leopards, bears and pangolins.

Food as warming as the welcome

Out at sea, STARDUST’s guests enjoyed a spot of deep-sea fishing, bringing in their own tuna. The sea is just one of the many sources of Thailand’s rich cuisine. Thai food draws on inspiration – and ingredients – from India, China, and Portugal. This is then crafted into a distinct and unique cuisine of its very own. Known for its delicate balancing of sweet, sour, salty and bitter flavours, Thai food is regionally diverse and seasonally vibrant. In the south, fresh seafood prevails and is frequently served with spices as warm as the welcome.

Target destination

“Thailand is fast becoming one of the target destinations in South East Asia for superyachts. There’s a large number of yachts heading that way. It has a very friendly culture, and the yachting infrastructure is developing. For example, the Yacht Haven Marina in Phuket has recently expanded its facility and is able to accommodate vessels up to 90m LOA. In terms of work being done, the skilled workforce is improving every year. During our stay, we were able to find local contractors to assist with all our maintenance requirements.”

Stardust at a glance

  • Amels 206 (62.50 metres / 206ft)
  • Delivered 2020
  • 1161 GT
  • 12 guests, 13 Crew + Captain
  • Interior design by Laura Sessa
  • Exterior design by Tim Heywoood
  • Naval Architecture by Damen Yachting
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