Blog, Thailand

Sailing on a Film Set

Thanks to films such as The Beach and James Bond, the Phuket/Krabi area of Thailand is well known for its stunning karst limestone islands rising up out of the calm sheltered waters of Phang Nga bay. The thought of sailing our own boat through this stunning scenery would have been a dream just 4 years ago but here we are living those dreams.

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Ko Roi, one of our favourite anchorages, not actually used in a film (yet) which means very few other visitors!

This area is so well known for its beauty that hordes of tourists visit each year, so our challenge would be to find some quieter locations just off of the main tourist trail. That meant avoiding those old film sets and scouting for potential future film sets instead. Happily we were able to benefit from the fact that there are a lot of charter companies here, that means lots of information on the islands attractions and where to anchor are freely available. + warnings of where is busy.

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Long-tail boats used for fishing and transporting tour groups alike

We set off to do a 2 week loop of the islands to the east and South of Phuket, but avoiding the notoriously busy James Bond Island and Phi-Phi where The Beach was filmed. As we left busy Phuket behind and sailed to our first island we felt like we were on holiday. We know, we know, we are always on holiday right? But after the time spent in busy areas of Malaysia coming here to Thailand and finding a quiet island felt a world of difference to us, we were still bimbling away on boat jobs, cleaning, changing anodes, filming and video editing but we felt very different inside.

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Relaxing on a deserted beach after a day of boat work in a beautiful bay on Ko Muk

The sailing here is either very easy or non-existent. Predominantly light winds mean that we either drifted along gently on calm seas or had to motor on mirror flat seas. Usually only 10 or 15 miles to the next anchorage.

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Drifting along in light winds. This was our first attempt at flying the drone whilst sailing, landing was very stressful even at these slow speeds and flat water, more practice needed!

Here are some of our favourite spots:

Ko Roi

The stunning anchorage pictured at the top of this blog was one of our favourites, a small tunnel from the beach leads to a hong which is home to a huge colony of bats roosting during the day.

Koh Hong, Krabi

When full of water, the hong creates a beautiful natural swimming pool. There are a couple of beaches either side of the hong entrance that have beautiful clear water and made an ideal spot to gaze back at Florence… We rowed in between the lines of long tail boats with tour groups, it took great patience and timing to get some photos without tour groups in them!

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We left this picture to be captioned by our Instagram followers, they did better job than we could and made us laugh. ‘Lost at tree’ and ‘Out on a limb’ were among our favourites. Have a look at what else they came up with on Instagram.
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Enjoying the swimming pool like ko Hong

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Koh Mook

The Emerald Cave here is worth the stop, it’s less crowded in the evening and early morning. We anchored around the corner from the busy cave area at Sabai Beach, which we had pretty much to ourselves for 3 beautiful nights. We took the path from the top of the beach up to the view point and down into the village and resort on the other side. In the heat and humidity it probably wasn’t the best idea and the village on the other side was dirty and a disappointment. However, we had a delicious lunch and fruit smoothie on the beach and the viewpoint was worth the hike.

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The beautiful hong through the emerald cave at ko Mook (you have time it right between the tour groups if you want it to yourselves). You need a torch and it is a 60m paddle through a pitch black tunnel to get in here.

Ko Ha

This had been recommended to us by friends for the clear water snorkeling. It has been so long since we had a decent snorkel in clear water so we made the most of exploring underwater in this beautiful anchorage. We did well to time this in between the visits from tour groups, up to 10 speed boats at a time with between 10 and 30 guests on each boat.

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Ko Ha, quiet in the evening once the tour groups had headed back to their hotels

Holiday over, it is back down to earth with a bump and we have to throw ourselves into getting Florence ready to cross the Indian Ocean. The discussion on board returns to, how close can we anchor to the supermarket, and how many kilos of provisions can we load into the dinghy and not sink on the row back to Florence.

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Sailing back towards Phuket at the end of our 2 week ‘holiday’

5 thoughts on “Sailing on a Film Set”

  1. Beautiful and drone pictures are stunning. Is it wise to go to India with virus active, haven’t they shut all their boarders now.

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  2. I was zooming in and out of google earth looking at all the tuamotu atolls lacking passages (much more remote that way, if no one can get into the lagoon), trying to think about how to get onto some of them the “next” time I’m out there on a boat, and I googled “methods for crossing an atoll reef in a dinghy to land on the beach” and somehow your dinghy video popped up. I then proceeded to watch your ≈20 minute video lauding the “machine”. Called to my wife in the other room “you know they’re real cruisers because they talked about how awesome their dinghy is for 20 minutes.” Just discovered the site but I love it. Going to make my way through the material now, but thanks for posting your experience, and for making it a genuine account. If we ever do it again (with the kids) I think we’ll go for a hard sailing dinghy as well. if we can find/afford one.

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