THAILAND HAS IT ALL
areas in the world boast first-class diving. Other places are renowned
for their sailing, while still others draw the dedicated big-game
fishermen. But Thailand is one country which has all of these attractions
and more. Much more.
Are you planning a diving holiday? Why not combine it with sailing? Or
with sailing and golf. Or with sailing and sea canoeing and fishing
and golf and horseback riding and jungle trekking and disco dancing
and seafood dining of unexcelled quality. Why not?
TWO SIDES, TWO SEASONS T
has it all. More, this country has it all at any time of the year.
When the diving or sailing isn't at its best in the Andaman Sea, go
across to the Gulf of Thailand. Or vice-versa. Pattaya offers all
water sports year -round. Phang Nga Bay is fine for sailing at any
time of the year.You
can always find good conditions for your favourite sea sport in Thailand.
Calm seas, sunny skies and ideal temperatures both in and out of the
water help make this land a paradise for sea-sport enthusiasts.
2,710 kilometres of coastline fronts on both the Indian and the Pacific
Oceans. Thai waters include a dozen marine national parks,all of them awe-inspiringly
beautiful natural preserves. Hundreds and hundreds of islands, many of them
uninhabited, provide an abundance of coral reefs, beaches, and other scenic
marvels for the visitor.
dramatic, sheer-sided islands of areas such as Phang Nga Bay, Krabi and
Ang Thong Marine National Park are of limestone. Holed with sea-caves, snaggled
with stalactites and fringed with jungle, they thrust hundreds of metres
out of the sea. Other island groups are granitic, of lower relief and more
heavily forested. Some of them the Similan Islands, for instance have shorelines
jumbled with enormous sea-sculpted rocks. Beneath the sea, similar boulders
spill down in piles to 40 metres and more. Encrusted with coral and algae,
they are home to vast numbers and varieties of fish which stream and drift
through their caves and archways.
THE ANDAMAN SEAF
Malaysia in the south to Myanmar in the north, Thailand's Andaman
Sea extends over 870 kilometres of scenic coastline -coastline which
includes hundreds of delightful islands, many of them uninhabited.
Tarutao Marine National Park lies just five kilometres from Langkawi,
in Malaysia while Ko Surin National Park is located only a few kilometres
south of Myanmar waters.
two frontiers the visitor can explore such idyllic island groups as Ko Phi
Phi, Ko Racha, and Ko Similan, not to mention any number of other, lesser
known attractions. The is land of Phuket, meanwhile, provides a convenient
base of operations for more remote destinations.
Andaman Sea is deep and clean, flushed by the Indian Ocean. Water temperatures
are similar to those in the Gulf - ranging between 26°-28°C year-round.
This is a rare treat for visitors who are used to wearing wetsuits (or even
drysuits) when diving or windsurfing. Sailing is also an entirely different
experience where you don't have to worry about the cold. Winds don't normally
get much above 15 knots, though 25- to 30-knot winds are possible. In the
high season, meanwhile, the seas are usually slight to moderate, with waves
generally of less than a metre.
This side of the Thai peninsula puts forward its best face during the northeast
monsoon season. "Monsoon season", contrary to some popular opinion, does
not mean unremitting torrential rains. In fact, you can rely on consistently
fine weather and calm seas from November through March, with peak conditions
extending from late December until late February. From April through October,
on the other hand, the southwest monsoon does bring rain and squalls and
rough seas (though rarely more than 4-metre waves) to exposed coastlines
in the Andaman. Even in this season, however, there are frequently periods
of fine weather. At this time of year, with favourable weather reports,
diving and sail ing daytrips are still possible to destinations such as
Phi Phi, Racha, and the Similans, though scheduled ex-cursions cannot be
re lied upon and longer cruises are often ill-ad vised.
THE GULF OF THAILAND
Malaysia in the west to Bangkok in the north to Vietnam in the east,
the Gulf of Thailand extends in a great curve for 1,840 kilometres.
Part of a geological feature known as the Sunda Shelf, the Gulf is
essentially a shallow bowl, rarely deeper than 80 metres and on average
no more than 30 metres. Bottled up by a submarine ridge which runs
between Kota Baru and Vietnam, the Gulf is diluted by freshwater runoff
from the many rivers to the north. Like the Andaman Sea, the Gulf
is warm (26'-30'C) all year round -a boon to divers, windsurfers,
and sailors alike.
underwater visibility is good, better than most places in the world. The
gamefishing is not as good as it is on the other side of the peninsula (though
it is still good enough to be recommended if you are in the area). Seaside
resorts such as Ko Samui and Pattaya are known around the world. Less familiar
are the hundreds of islands, the national parks and travel frontiers such
as Ang Thong and Ko Chang. Motor cruising, sailing, sea canoeing, and scuba-diving
trips all find plenty of extraordinarily scenic and largely unspoiled waters
for the exploration.
The May-October southwest monsoon is high season in most of the Gulf of
Thailand. Skies are consistently sunny, the air is dry, and the seas are
calm ideal conditions for just about any sea sport. The exception is Trat
Province on the southeastern side of the Gulf. Here, the 47 islands of Koh
Chang National Park are exposed to the southwest monsoon, so diving and
other sea sports are better advised during the same months the Andaman is
enjoying its high season.
then, Thailand's seas present a dazzling variety of attractions both exotic
and familiar. Complete novices as well as dedicated sailing, diving, windsurfing,
and game-fishing enthusiasts from all over the world are drawn by the combination
of great facilities and ideal natural conditions.