Sunset Cruise to Coral Island
It's been mentioned quite a few times on the blog - we have some friends with a travel company called Easy Day Thailand who can help with pretty much any tour you may need in Phuket. For some tours and attractions they are a booking agent, and some tours they run themselves. We got invited out onto the MV Sai Mai a couple of weeks ago for a sunset trip starting at Chalong Bay, a new idea they have had .. so we along with a couple of other people were guinea pigs for the sunset cruise :) The Sai Mai is a boat that can be chartered for small groups, either for the day or for multi day trips. It has 3 cabins, so can comfortably sleep 6 guests. On a day trip or sunset cruise, you can squeeze in up to about 10 people without feeling crowded. I've known the boat for years and we used to book it for dive charters, which we sell at Sunrise Divers. We met everyone at Chalong Pier for the evening trip. Chalong Bay is used by many boats on all kind of trips. Most visitors to Phuket are likely to end up here sometime for some trip or other!
We headed out a bit after 5pm. On a "regular" trip the guests can get picked up from hotels around 4 - 4:30pm. The idea was to head to Koh Kaew Yai, which is a very interesting little island just off Phromthep Cape. The afternoon had been a bit windy, the sea just a bit too bouncy, so we headed instead to Coral Island (Koh He) which is always very sheltered. Aside from the breeze, it was a very pleasant evening, slightly cloudy but still some sun.
(above) We sat and chatted on the front deck of the Sai Mai, a comfy place to sit with a cold beer and enjoy the ocean breeze. Now, this is NOT a booze cruise, but the regular price of 3500 Baht per person does include beers. Kids are cheaper (2000 Baht up to age 11) - no beers for them and tiny kids up to 4 years old are free. Families with 2 or more kids get one kid free. Or you can charter the boat for the evening for 21,000 Baht for up to 10 adults. I hope to get out again sometime on a nice calm day so I can get to Koh Kaew Yai.
We dropped anchor at Coral Island. Some people (including my boy - see below) went off for some snorkeling ...
Coral Island is pretty decent for snorkeling, the water is not crystal clear, but then again I am spoiled! I remember years ago doing a couple of dives here with an English diver who had only ever dived in England. After the first dive, he was so excited ... we did see quite a lot on the dive, but still I was thinking "yeh, that was OK" .. but compared to what he'd seen before, it was amazing! Actually in the shallow water at Coral Island, the snorkeling is quite good. All snorkel gear and life vests provided on these trips. In the middle of the day the place is packed with daytrippers, but after 5pm on a sunset trip, it's your island! Great! I jumped into the dinghy with my daughter and we did a few loops around the Sai Mai while I tried to get a perfect photo ...
(above) The Sai Mai. Sunset at Coral Island.
Yeh, not a bad place, right? There was quite a bit of cloud towards the horizon, but just around sunset the sun found a way to peep through. I don't know about you, but sunset is my favourite time of day. Preferably with a beer in hand! And then after sunset - dinner time! This is a sunset, sightseeing, snorkeling and dinner cruise. Food was served about 7pm. The captain moved the boat to the most sheltered spot (flat calm) and we could dig in! Food was good. I am told that (if you book ahead) food requests can be taken, and the dishes do vary from day to day. Want spicy? Ask! I like spicy :)
We had 4 different dishes for dinner - fried whole fish, fried mixed vegetables, breaded shrimp and chicken, and tom yum soup. And plenty of rice! A couple of photos of the food below.
Fried fish, when it's done just right ... I can eat that all night (washed down with a few beers)! We started back towards Chalong Bay after 7:30pm, getting back around 8pm. A very nice evening for all the family and not back too late (it was a Sunday so the kids had school next day). Anyone wants to book a sunset trip like this or any other tour or boat trip ... ask Easy Day Thailand ... UPDATE AUGUST 2015 - Unfortunately my friends have sold this boat, but can certainly help with sunset trips on other boats!
Sunset Tour - Map
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