There is an overwhelming array of breathtaking destinations to be visited on a superyacht charter and a multi-island paradise awaits you in Thailand. Secluded white-sand beaches, jungle-covered islands and ancient Thai traditions combine to offer a luxurious island escape that will indulge all the senses. Here, discover what you can see on a cruise through Koh Samui.
Koh Samui and Ang Thong National Park
Taxi transfer from Koh Samui International Airport to Bo Phut (about 15km), and board your yacht at the bustling Fisherman Village. Since the opening of its airport in 1989, Samui, Thailand’s second-largest island, has come a long way. From a palm-covered haven of tropical peace, it has grown into a sophisticated holiday destination.
Koh Samui’s beaches are rightly famous for their white sands, clear water and picturesque looks, many featuring huge granite boulders. Most of the island’s popular beaches – Chaweng, Lamai, Bo phut, and Maenam – are on the north and east coasts.
The Ang Thong National Park covers 42 islands in a total area of 102 km2, of which only 18 km2 is land. Most of the islands are close to each other and sailing around the park offers breathtaking panoramas. Islands are covered with tropical forest, some have mountains ranging between 10 and 400 metres above sea level. The islands are of different shapes and sizes and mostly uninhabited.
Over many centuries, the sea and the weather have created peculiar-looking caves and cliffs. Locals often named them after their distinguishing shape, such as ‘Sleeping Cow’, ‘Three Pillars’ and – Chicken’ Island. Part of the movie ‘The Beach’, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tilda Swinton, was filmed here.
On land, dry evergreen forest covers the large islands of Koh Wua Talap, Ko Paluai, and Ko Sam Sao. The Ang Thong Lady’s Slipper Orchid is an endemic species found only in Ang Thong. Plants found in limestone crevices with little or no soil are often small, dry-tolerant, and slow-growing such as Dracaena Loureira, Malayan Spurge Tree, Euphorbia Antiquarum, and Morinda Tinctoria. The wildlife consists of smaller animals and includes 16 species of mammals, more than 50 species of birds and 5 species of amphibians.
Koh See Ko Ha, Koh Taen and Koh Mudsum
Koh See Koh Ha means ‘Four Islands, Five Islands’, as one island is hidden behind another. The islands are home to swifts, sought after for their nests, which are the main ingredient in birds’ nest soup. The birds are protected as their nests sell at a high price.
Sea Gypsies are the only island inhabitants; their small wooden homes perch on rocky outcrops – much like nests themselves – and the gipsies are employed to guard the nests against poachers.
Koh Taen is inhabited by a few people, and the population fluctuates with the tourist season. The island is near the fishing village of Thong Krut on the south coast of Samui, and accessible only by boat. It has several beaches and is surrounded by a coral reef, which is great for snorkelling. Ko Taen has a mangrove forest on the southwest coast with abundant wildlife and there is a small temple with a freshwater spring right on the beach.
Koh Mudsum to Koh Phangan
Famous for its full moon parties at Haad Rin Beach, Koh Phangan is majoritively a backpacker destination. Parties usually feature electronic music and attract anywhere from 4 – 5,000 party-goers. The name, Pha-ngan’ comes from the word ‘Ngan’, meaning ‘sand bar’ in the southern dialect and indeed, there are many sand bars around the island.
The village is based around the coastline while the mountainous interior is generally inaccessible. More than half the island is designated as a National Park and has more than 80 km2 of rain forest with diverse flora and fauna. It is also considered a spiritual place with numerous Buddhist temples around the Island and a thriving spa, yoga retreat and meditation industry.
Koh Kong Than Sadet, a small island with a scenic beach, is great for swimming. It is the gateway to Than Sadet National Park, which includes the Than Sadet Waterfalls. The waterfalls have been visited by three Kings of Thailand and are the biggest on Koh Phangan. The National Park offers guided tours through the jungle, where often one can spot giant monitor lizards.
Had Thong Nai Pan is a picturesque cove with two beautiful beaches offering good swimming, a small village, a few cool bars and a short trek to the Than Prawes Waterfall. Had Khuad, known as bottle beach, is a beautiful stretch of long white sand beach, great for swimming with several restaurants, and is only reachable by boat or via a hike round the headland.
Koh Phangan to Koh Tao
Koh Tao was likely a stop-off point for Malay fishermen in the past, due largely to its isolated position in the Gulf of Thailand. It was once used as a political prison in a similar way to Koh Tarutao in the South, but in 1947, the prisoner inhabitants were given a Royal pardon and the island was once again abandoned.
The legend goes that two brothers from Koh Phangan sailed to Koh Tao and settled on the land that is now considered Sairee beach. They farmed and fished and lead a simple lifestyle. Gradually a few simple shops and dive huts started to appear, then resorts, and later bars and other tourism businesses. The island developed two main areas: Sairee Beach, now thriving with nightclubs, resorts and dive shops, and the sleepier ‘local’ side of Chalok Ban Kao. Koh Nang Yuan is just a short distance from the west side of Koh Tao. It has a lovely beach and is best visited before 9:30 am or after 4:30 pm. Hike 10 to15 minutes up the steep path to the viewpoint of the three islands’ highest peak and you will be rewarded with a view which is nothing short of stunning. The island’s newest attraction is inter-island ziplining!
Koh Tao to Koh Phangan
Cruise down the west coast of Koh Phangan to Koh Kong Nui, a small island, with surrounding waters that are good for water sports. Had Lad, Had Yao and Ao Chao Phao are neighbouring beaches, sharing one of the best stretches of coral reef, great for snorkelling. There are several good local Thai restaurants on all three beaches. Koh Kong Kliang, another small island, is also good for snorkelling and gentle kayaking.
Koh Phangan to Bophut Beach
Disembark at the Fisherman Village for transfer to Koh Samui Airport.
Where to stay before and after your trip
Located within the prestigious Narayan Heights estate on the Northeast coast of Koh Samui, the 5-bedroom Villa Natha boasts gorgeous views of the famous Five Islands as well as the surrounding undulating greenery. Villa Natha’s multi-level architecture seamlessly combines relaxed indoor and outdoor living with tranquil lounging spaces, a dramatic 23m L-shaped infinity pool, and exclusive facilities such as a fully-equipped private gym and a fabulous private cinema.