Thailand is one of the most visited countries in the world, drawing millions of tourists each year — and for good reason. The pristine beaches, year-round sunshine, friendly locals and, of course, the beloved Thai cuisine make it the perfect place to escape the stresses of life. This country’s popularity, which can translate to bustling cities and crowded resorts on the mainland, is why the more discerning traveler is opting for a hidden gem, known as Phuket. This remote island in Southern Thailand offers a different Thailand experience, where the focus is on the experience.
Star Clippers offers four unique, seven-day sailing adventures in Southeast Asia aboard the 170-passenger Star Clipper, all with Phuket as its home base. The Northern Phuket and Southern Phuket sailings explore the islands of Southern Thailand, while the Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand itinerary begins or ends in vibrant Singapore and features ports of call in Malaysia. Here are six great reasons why a sailing in the waters around Phuket:
Escape the Hustle and Bustle: Many travelers don’t realize that in addition to the popular (and sometimes crowded) mainland, Thailand is comprised of hundreds of tiny islands in the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea, where crowds are few and life moves along at a leisurely pace. Guests on the Star Clipper visit some of the most secluded of these islands, including Ko Surin, a national park, that comprises five islands near the Myanmar border, and Ko Adong, an important nesting area for sea turtles.
Get the Long View: The topography of Southern Thailand is like no place else, with its sheer limestone crags, lush rain forests and crystal clear blue water – making for a paradisiacal setting. What better place to enjoy the view (and get a few photos) than from the deck of a tall ship as it sails through these picturesque island chains? Guests are welcome (and encouraged) to climb the 100 feet to the top of the ship’s crow’s nest for an unforgettable vista.
Dive In: Divers and snorkelers love Thailand, especially the waters around the Similan Islands, known for offering some of the best diving experiences in the world. With water clear enough to see nearly 100 feet down, the underwater panoramas here are worthy of the hype. A certified dive master on board the Star Clipper means guests can choose from diving or snorkeling adventures here.
Don’t Sacrifice Luxury: Resort lovers looking for a change will love the modern luxury and relaxed pace of a Star Clippers sailing. Spacious accommodations, gleaming teak decks with ample space for sunning and multiple pools, and gourmet dining allow for a luxury vacation. Guests looking to get active can try their hand at hoisting the sails with the crew or trying out a variety of complimentary water sports like paddle boarding, wind surfing and water skiing.
Go Solo: Cruising can be expensive for solo travelers. So Star Clippers is waiving single supplements on all Far East sailings in 2017 and 2018, which translates to starting fares of $1,360 for a seven-night sailing. The intimate size of the ship – just 170 guests – and welcoming environment makes it easy for single travelers to make new friends.
See More: The trek to Thailand is a long haul, so it only makes sense that travelers want to get the most out of their time in the Far East. Star Clippers’ affordable land tour packages, which can be added for pre- or post-sailing, include hotel nights, tours and transfers. The three-day Lion City Tour in Singapore, for example, includes two night’s accommodation with breakfast, a half day city tour and two complimentary transfers, and starts at $369 per person, double.
For more than 25 years, Star Clippers has been introducing travelers to the thrill of modern tall ship sailing to remote ports in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Indonesia and Far East. The company operates three of the world’s largest and tallest sailing vessels: Star Clipper and Star Flyer are traditional clipper ships with modern amenities carrying 170 guests, while the 227-guest Royal Clipper holds the Guinness World Record for being the largest and only five-masted, full-rigged sailing ship in service today. All three ships have expansive teak decks, swimming pools, informal dining, convivial tropical bars on deck and piano lounges. The brand’s newest vessel, Flying Clipper, will debut in Fall 2018.
Star Clippers, www.starclippers.com