Area: 514,000 sq km
Capital City: Bangkok
Official Languages: Thai is the main language. English is widely spoken in all major tourist locations. However, if you are traveling around Thailand, it's a good idea to buy a phrase book. Other languages spoken in Thailand are Chinese, Lao, Malay and Mon-Khmer, while English use is becoming more prevalent in government and commerce.
Ethnic groups: Approximately 75% of the citizenry are ethnic Thais, 14% are Chinese, and the remaining 11% are mostly Indian, Malay, Karen, Khmer, or Mon.
Religion: Buddhist 94.6%, Muslim, Christian
Government: Constitutional Monarchy
Industries: tourism, textiles and garments, agricultural processing, beverages, tobacco, cement, light manufacturing such as jewelry and electric appliances, computers and parts, integrated circuits, furniture, plastics, automobiles and automotive parts; world's second-largest tungsten producer and third-largest tin producer
Tipping: Among Thais, tipping is not practiced except perhaps leaving the loose change from a restaurant bill or rounding the taxi fair up to an even number. There's no reason for you to change tipping practices or to feel odd about it. In hotels, restaurants and bars frequented by tourists, tipping is more common and even expected by some. This is particularly true of "high class" venues. If you elect to go along with this, there's no reason to be extravagant about it. Depending on the service, 0-40 baht should be fine. It is not necessary to give a tip in an establishment that has a service charge, as that's supposed to be the tip. Minorities of Thais who deal with foreigners not only expect a tip, but hint or even ask for one -- this is not Thai style and, in fact, is considered rude. The best thing to do in this situation is to smile and ignore it.
Currency: Baht (THB) (100 satangs makes 1 baht)
Electricity: Electricity in Thailand is 220 Volts, alternating at 50 cycles per second. If you travel to Thailand with a device that does not accept 220 Volts at 50 Hertz, you will need a voltage converter.
Time: GMT + 7 hours. Seven hours ahead of London.
Arrival & Customs
How to get there: Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport is Thailand's principal airport, which is situated 20 miles outside of the city centre. The majority of flights entering or departing Thailand do so from Bangkok, which receives and sends flights to major airports all around the world.
Thai Airways provides flights from Bangkok to Phuket. There are also direct flights into Phuket from Germany and Australia. It's no longer necessary that clients reconfirm Internal and International flights on most airlines. If required, reconfirmation can be done at the airport on arrival, or at the Moorings base. There's no need for clients to reconfirm Thai Airways or Malaysian Airlines domestic and international flights.
Customs & Immigration: A valid passport for each passenger and a crew list are compulsory for clearance.
Expiration date must be no earlier than 6 months after your planned return.
Provisions & Beverages
A fantastic range of Food and Drinks packages which can be pre-ordered and will be on your boat when you arrive.
The nearest supermarket is a 45 minute taxi ride from the base.
Thailand is a year round sailing destination. There are two main seasons, which are called the wet and dry season, or the SW or NE monsoon, respectively. Seasonal winds tend to be predictable, although there may be inconsistencies as they change from one to the other.
North East Monsoon (Dry - November to April)
The NE monsoon runs from November to April and has wind speeds of force 2 to 4 from the NE. The winds are quite stable during this period and temperatures are usually in the region of 30 deg C. It is consistently dry and sunny, with ideal conditions for sailing. If you wish to visit the Similan Islands you can only do so during the North East Monsoon and will be asked to sign a Moorings disclaimer before you leave the base.
South West Monsoon (Wet - May to Oct)
The SW monsoon, takes place from May to October with winds force 2 to 6, from the SW. There is more wind during this season, making sailing a bit more exhilarating than the NE season. There are some rainy periods, sometimes prolonged but usually only lasting approximately 1 to 2 hours in the late afternoon or early evening. The direction of the prevailing wind means that the anchorages on the West Coast of Phuket cannot be used during this period. You are advised to anchor on the East coasts of the islands or in sheltered bays. There is still safe sailing in Phang Nga Bay right down to Koh Phi Phi with larger swells in more exposed areas. The Similan Islands are closed to visitors during the South West Monsoon. During September and October there can be extended periods of rain sometimes lasting up to 5 days at a time.
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. Credit cards are accepted only at larger restaurants and resorts.
The base has the following facilities: showers and toilets, bars and restaurants, hotel and pool, selection of shops, bank and ATM, telephone, and provisioning.
Boarding / Departure
Charters start at 4 PM. You 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. All charters end at 9:00 am at which time the boat must be returned and ready for debriefing and checks.