Phuket Travel Information & Planning Guide

Base Location
Ao Po Grand Marina

Nearest Airport

Provisioning Service
Online Provisioning 
Store Available

Cruising Licences
A formal licence 
is not required

Find everything you need to prepare for a charter in Phuket. From important base information to required documents for international travel, you can use this information as your guide before and during your charter. Don’t forget to pack a copy to take with you.


Before you go


Ao Po Grand Marina
113/1 Moo 6
Tambon Paklok
Amphur Thalang
Phuket 83110

Our Phuket base is located at the new Ao Po Grand Marina near Ao Po Bay.

Ao Po Grand Marina has the benefit of 24 hour access independent of the tide. It is also ideally situated at the gateway to stunning Phang Nga Bay and is conveniently close to Phuket’s major facilities (15 minutes from the airport) and vacation destinations.

Base hours
Monday – Sunday: 8:00am to 5:00pm
VHF radio watch channel 72 (7 days a week from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm)

Time zone
Standard time zone for Thailand is UTC/GMT +7 hours.

The official language is Thai and English.

Cost of living
Prices vary from restaurant to restaurant, however the following is a guide for your reference. A bottle of wine costs from about 500 baht in a supermarket and at least twice that in a restaurant. A bottle of beer costs about 35 to 45 baht in a supermarket and from 80 baht up to 150 baht in a restaurant. Good quality Thai food can cost as little as 200 baht per course in a local restaurant where a meal in a resort can cost anything from 1000 baht per person and more.

What to bring

Passport and visas
Please ensure your passport is valid for the period of travel and for six months after you return. Your passport name must match the name on the flight ticket otherwise you may not be able to travel and insurance may be invalid.

Please note country entry/exit requirements are subject to change. Please check Foreign travel advice – GOV.UK ( for the latest information before you leave. Sunsail is not accountable for any requirement changes.

Customs + immigration
Before leaving the airport, you will have to clear immigration and customs. A landing card will be given to you on the plane, along with a customs declaration form. Airlines will assume no liability for perishable articles, e.g. food, which may also be confiscated by customs.

Sailing licences
Although no formal sailing certifications are required for pleasure craft sailing or cruising in Thailand, it is strongly recommended that you bring any certificates or licence that you may have with you. This may be useful should you be contacted by customs or Port Police.

Luggage + packing list
We would highly recommend packing prescription medicine and essential clothing (swimsuit, t-shirt and shorts) in your hand luggage as occasionally your luggage may arrive at the base after you do.

Please pack using soft-sided bags, as these are easier to store on your yacht.

What’s on board

One 40 liter cooler is included with all yachts at no additional charge. Please return them clean and undamaged otherwise you will be charged for replacement. Extra coolers are available at the base on a first come first served basis at a cost of 50 baht per day.

Mobile phones
Your mobile phone may work when in Thailand but please check with your service provider for coverage details and call costs. You will need to activate international roaming on your contract.

Buying a SIM card once you are in Thailand is an easier and cheaper option. A SIM card can be bought on a pay as you go basis for about 50 Thai Baht. Calls are cheap to make and free to receive.

The only thing you have to consider is whether your own mobile phone is locked. Many phone providers deliberately lock their phones to make it impossible to use on rival networks. This can be overcome however for a small price at any phone shop in Thailand.

Music + iPods
All boats are fitted with a radio and CD player. If you wish to listen to your iPod whilst sailing you will need to bring along an iTrip or FM radio transmitter.

The use of flying drones may be restricted in some areas. For current drone regulations in this destination, please visit

The standard voltage on all yachts is 12 volts. 

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How to get there

Bangkok Savarnabhumi Airport
Savarnabhumi Airportis is approximately 20 miles east of the city center. From Savarnabhumi, you will require the domestic terminal for your connection to Phuket Airport.

Savarnabhumi Airport offers banking and a selection of bureau de change, bars, coffee shops and restaurants as well as duty free and souvenir shoping. International departure taxes are now included in the price of the flight ticket.

Phuket Airport
Phuket Airport is approximately 25 minutes from the base. Facilities include bureau de change, duty free and merchandise shops, a post office and restaurants.

Car rental
At the airport you will find, David Car Rent and Airport Car Rent  which is one of the few companies that rent self drive mini busses.

On arrival in Phuket, a transfer from the airport to the base can be arranged. If you would like to use this service, we just need your arrival details prior to departure for Phuket Airport. There will then be a Sunsail driver waiting for you with a Sunsail board to bring you directly to the Marina.

Transfers from Phuket Airport to the Base takes 25 minutes and can be arranged on request.
The approximate cost of a taxi for up to 4 people is 900 Baht each way, a minibus for up to 8 people 1100 Baht each way.
Please note: The Airport taxis generally do not know where the Sunsail office is in the Ao Po marina and clients may be dropped off at the wrong place and sometimes even the wrong marina.

We request that you send your travel arrangements to us  prior to departure so we can assist with transfer details where required.
Please Note: Guests arriving separately should bring a copy of the charter contract / invoice.

Travel notice: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised of an update to the local laws and customs in Thailand. You can’t bring vaporizers, eg, e-cigarettes and e-baraku, and refills into Thailand. These items are likely to be confiscated, and you could be fined or sent to prison if convicted. The sale or supply of e-cigarettes and similar devices is also banned and you could face a heavy fine or imprisonment if found guilty.

Boarding time + checking out

On arrival
Charters can start and finish on any day of the week and all charters will board at 4:00pm on the first day and finish at 9:00am on the last day. However we always try to be as flexible as possible and we are happy for clients to contact the base prior to arrival as the yacht may be available earlier so that they may board early.

These are carried out individually for each yacht and are mandatory for all clients. The chart brief describes the cruising area and any potential hazards. The yacht briefing introduces you to your yacht and its systems and rigging. It is important that all systems and equipment are fully understood. Chart briefings will be conducted at 1pm for The Moorings and 2.30pm for Sunsail. This will take up to 2 hours so you need to allow plenty of time. You will not be permitted to leave without adequate briefing. You may not depart the dock after 5pm.

All skippers must attend a Chart Briefing which covers all you need to know about the cruising area, use of the VHF radio, how to call for assistance, and more. A Boat Briefing will also be provided onboard your yacht.

Out of hours
If you are arriving after 5:00 pm and have requested a transfer you will be met by a member of staff and shown to your yacht. If we have no arrival details and we have not heard from you by 5:00 pm we will put a sign on the door stating your yacht name, location and also the base managers contact number. The yacht will be lit up and have an information sheet listing what is available at the base such as toilets, showers, restaurants, etc.

On departure

You have to disembark by 9:00 am so it is recommended returning to the base the day before.

We will always try to allow you to return later than the 9:00 am finish time so you should avoid booking flights that depart before noon on your last day. If the yacht is booked to go out again on the day you finish you will have to disembark at 9:00 but even then it is possible to return to the base the day your charter finishes.

Before departing your boat, a member of staff will do a debrief with you.

The debrief is to let us know if you have encountered any problems with the boat or lost or broken anything during the trip, this enables us to rectify problems for the next charter.

We also ask that you bag dirty laundry and leave in the cockpit, empty all cupboards and refrigerator of food and throw away any perishables, return snorkel gear and any extra life-jackets and ensure that the boat is handed back to Sunsail in a clean and tidy state. We reserve the right to charge for boats left less than shipshape.

What happens once you are onboard
All boats are prepared as per the booking for boarding time. All clients will receive an individual yacht and chart briefing. This will take up to 2 hours so you need to allow plenty of time. You will not be permitted to leave without adequate briefing.

The latest that a Sunsail yacht can depart from the marina is 5pm as the nearest anchorage is half an hour away and all yachts must be anchored by 5:30pm. The area and yacht briefings take up to an hour each and provisioning shopping will take around 3 hours including taxi transfers.

Therefore if you wish to depart on the day your charter starts you should arrive no later than 1pm if you are doing your own provisioning or 3pm if you have provisioned online.

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About the marina

Marina facilities

Water and electricity are available on the berths at the base and there is a deep water fuel dock. Showers and toilets are available 8:00 to 18:00. There are several restaurants and two nearby resorts for those wishing to spend a night ashore before and after their charter. ATM available.

Dock facilities

Cost GuideApprox 38 baht per liter
Fuel Station LocationAt the base

Sailing licenses

Experience level
Sailing experience: Level 2 

Experience levels are based on sailing conditions and the length of passages within your chosen sailing area. Follow the link for more information on the sailing conditions.

Sailing grounds

Skippered charter information
The skipper’s time is booked from 12:00 noon to 12:00 noon in 24-hour periods. If you have reserved him for the first day of your charter and have a 4:00pm start, he will use this time to ensure he is happy with all aspects of the yacht and will be at the base to meet you upon your arrival. If you have reserved him for a later date on your charter he will start at 12:00 noon on that day.

The skipper is responsible for the safety of the yacht at all times. He is not permitted to dive with you, nor leave the vessel overnight. He must conduct a safety brief with you before leaving the dock regardless of the duration of his contract with you.

For “check out charters” (anything less than the full duration of the charter) the check out skipper’s time is booked from 4:00pm to 4:00pm to allow for a meet and greet in the evening and go over basic systems, then a full day with you the next day.

This skipper is required to give you a thorough briefing on all aspects of the yacht and dinghy in addition to assisting you with planning an itinerary for the trip and advising you how to contact the base, the return to base procedures and the emergency assistance procedures. The skipper will give you a full chart briefing during his time with you on the yacht. It is also suggested that you make it clear exactly what you want to cover…anchoring, docking, etc.

The skipper will be required to give you as much information as you require concerning the yacht and its systems, sailing skills and navigation in general.

The skipper fee does not include food or beverages for the skipper and are the responsibility of the client. It is suggested that you discuss this on the first day with the skipper and establish whether you will give the skipper cash for meals, whether you have included him in your provisioning or whether you will accommodate him as part of the group for meals ashore.  The skipper must have his own cabin.

For one-day check out skipper’s it is the client’s responsibility to get the skipper back to the base. If you prefer not to come back to the base you must pay for his expenses (ferry, taxi, etc.) to get him back to the base.

The average tip for a skipper is 15 to 20% percent of the skipper’s fee. This is, of course, at the client’s discretion.

More information on Skippered Charter Options.

Download Sunsails Thailand Cruising Guide here.

Sailing area restrictions
During the NE season the cruising area includes all Thai Waters from the Surin and Similan islands in the North down to Koh Tarutao and the Butang islands in the South. Yachts cannot cross the border in to Mayanmar/Burma under any circumstances. During the SW monsoon, The Surin, Similan Islands, and anchorages on the West coast of Phuket cannot be used. The cruising area has a tidal range of 3m at high water springs.  

The Sunsail 4-Hour Commitment applies when within 20 sailing miles distance from the base.

Night sailing
Night sailing is only permitted when making long offshore passages that cannot be completed in daylight hours. Any night sailing must be approved in advance by the Base manager and you must depart and be clear of all obstructions at least 30 minutes before sunset and arrive at your destination at least 30 minutes after sunrise.

Charts + pilot books
All the charts and pilot books you will need for the sailing area are on board the yacht. 

Formalities + taxes

A valid passport and crew list is compulsory for clearance. Crew list for clearance must show date of issue of passports.

Moorings fees + taxes
200 Baht per person per night when cruising in National Park Areas. 400 Baht per person per night + 400 Baht per yacht per night when visiting the Similan or Surin islands National Park which are accessible only from November to April. Overnight stops need to be at anchor as the mooring boys are not well maintained.

Health + safety

Illness or injury 
If you get sick and need to visit the doctor or hospital during your trip please contact the base manager or a member of Sunsail staff as soon as possible. 

Swim Safe 

Swimming is often a fun and important part of a holiday. However local rules, flag systems, currents and where swimming may be permitted, can be different and vary from country to country. Snorkel vests, Life Jackets and Diver Down flags are all available on board. 


Be aware of your surroundings

Look out for others

Do not overestimate your ability

Diving is popular but you should be aware that the only decompression facility is in Papeete and that in the event of an accident it might take some time to reach there.


All yachts are equipped with adult life jackets, harnesses, snorkel vests & diver down flags. You can see all this equipment demonstrated in our online safety briefing, and we strongly recommend that you make use this equipment during your holiday. This safety equipment will be displayed in the saloon of your boat on boarding – If you have any questions feel free to ask our base staff during your briefing. 

We have a very limited supply of children’s life jackets on base so highly recommend that if you are travelling with children, you bring their own. This ensures that children have correctly fitting jackets that are comfortable for them.  

Children should not be allowed in the dinghy without a life jacket or buoyancy aid and should wear a buoyancy aid or harness whilst on deck. 

Children under the age of 16 should not operate an outboard engine and should be supervised at all times when in the dinghy. 

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Sunsail Provisioning
Provisioning is available at this location. All provisioning orders should be placed no later than 7 days prior to the charter start date.


The Port of Call Restaurant (Thai and International cuisine) Open daily from 8:30 am till 21:00.

The Gallery 1 minute from the marina and Pier 88 a 5 minute walk.

Eating out
This can be extremely good value. If you eat at a local food stall you can get a meal for as little as 100 baht per person. Eating in local restaurants you can expect to pay around 200 baht per course for delicious Thai food. Alcohol is generally more expensive than food. A small bottle of beer is about 80 baht and a reasonable bottle of wine about 1000 baht.

Thai food is all cooked to order using fresh ingredients and lots of chilli. It is quite easy to ask for the meal to be made a little less spicy for western tastes. Seafood features on every menu with chicken, pork and beef also available as well as great vegetarian food. Rice and noodles are also main staples but western food is also easily available.

Tipping is not expected in restaurants and bars but if you wish to do so 10-15 percent of the amount charged is ample.

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Around the base


For those wishing to book accommodation ashore for the night before or after their charter Sunsail Phuket is able to book rooms at discounted rates at the nearby Supalai and Chandara resorts. All rooms are fully air-conditioned and the prices include local taxes and breakfast. To obtain special rates booking should be made with Sunsail Thailand. We suggest you make bookings well in advance, so please contact the base with your requirements.

The unit of currency in Thailand is the Baht.

Money changing facilities are available at the airport and in most medium sized towns. We recommend that sufficient money is changed before departing into the cruising area. The average would be 1,000 baht per person per day.

The airport is easiest and there are banks and ATM machines at the Tesco supermarket. There are moneychangers at Ao Nang beach and on Phi-Phi, although the exchange rates may not be so good.

Credit card information
Credit cards are accepted only at larger restaurants and resorts.

Jatujak Market The biggest market in Phuket, with over 1,000 stalls. On Chaofa West Road from Central Shopping Mall, heading south toward Chalong Bay direction; turn left at the first traffic light – Sat, Sun 4:30 – 8:30. This is a typical Thai bazaar, featuring all sorts of items from fish to clothing.

Thai silk is on the top of most visitors’ shopping lists. It is sold in a range of colors, and in various widths, lengths and thicknesses, or as bespoke products such as shirts, blouses, men’s suits and ladies’ silk jackets, bedcovers and furnishings. Some of the most popular silk items in Phuket include handkerchiefs, scarves, pillow cases, photo frames, handbags, cosmetic bags and evening bags.
Jewellery, gold, Thai sapphires and pearls from local pearl farms are available everywhere.

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Things to do

Sunsail offer a whole range of shore based excursions which are extra to our normal product and are organised through a 3rd party company. Ask at the base or the booking office for further details.

Water Toys + Sports

Fishing with rod and reel or hand lines is permitted  in most of the cruising area, however, fishing is prohibited in all Thai National Parks. Spearfishing is not permitted. There’s a fishing shop 10 minutes from the marina if you’d like to purchase equipment. 

The diving in Thailand is excellent. Clients must carry a PADI open water or equivalent qualification to be able to dive. Unqualified divers can do courses or resort dives. Prices range from center to center, but it usually costs between 2,500 Baht and 3,500 Baht per person for two dives and lunch. 


Sunsail provides flippers, however does not provide masks or snorkels at this time. You can either bring these with you or purchase when you arrive.

The Surin Islands are another 50 miles north of the Similans and also offer superb diving, but fewer dive operators visit them. The Similan and Surin Islands are National Parks and are subject to a daily entry fee, which will be collected on site. 

You will be asked to complete a waiver of responsibility form prior to departure from the base, if intending to cruise to the Similan or Surin Islands.

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For more information on what’s included on your yacht, please view the full list here.

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