Talking to a business associate recently, I asked how his time in lockdown went. His answer instantly brought on pangs of jealousy when finding out he had spent his 6 weeks of lockdown on a yacht off the coast of Koh Phi Phi.
Boating is big in Thailand, especially after the Government removed the luxury tax. And, there is just something ethereal about being on the water that soothes the mind and compresses all of life’s other troubles. Whether it be the isolated feeling of bonding with Mother Nature, listening to the delicate sounds of water, or presenting you with a change of scenery from your regular daily routine—the popularity of boating heavily corresponds to the happiness it produces.
Hua Hin isn’t really well known for its boating. Still, in the area around Hua Hin there are small islands and beautiful beaches to access by boat, especially in the area of Dolphin Bay and further South. According to Scott Finsten, Harbor Master at Ocean Marina Pattaya, “People don’t realize what the Gulf of Thailand has to offer. Everyone goes to Singapore, Malaysia or Phuket, on the Andaman side, but few people come up here, and you go to some of these islands, especially off of Prachuabkirikan with the national park Sam Roi Yot, it’s just beautiful there.”
Hua Hin itself doesn’t have a marina. However, just 18Km’s south in Pak Nam Pran you’ll find a full service professionally run marina called Racer Marina. Racer was developed by a group of four businessmen (Thai, Swiss, American, and French) who are all passionate about yachting. Taking from their boating experiences in Ibiza, Miami, Phuket, and St Tropez, they have built a European managed marina with excellent facilities and support staff.
Encompassing 51,200 square meters, Racer has over 120 wet berths and 200 dry berths and can accommodate yachts up to 75 feet. The marina is full service, meaning, they can paint your boat, perform engine service and repair, install equipment such as air conditioning, repair or replace woodwork, install or repair marine electronics, and they can provide long-distance towing. The marina also has a 35-ton travel lift to take your boat in and out of the water for repair or dry storage.
They even have an on-site café called Café Racer that offers indoor and outdoor seating, excellent coffee, and a wide range of beers. This place is dedicated to motorsports and is serviced by Thai, French, and English-speaking staff.
If boating is starting to sound interesting, but you are new to the sport, check out Island Spirit Sailing School. Island Spirit offers courses in Sailing and Powerboating and has locations in Pattaya and Phuket. Their courses run the gamut from a 2 day beginner course to their 11 day “Yacht Master Offshore” course which qualifies you to operate a boat up to 150 nautiucal miles from the coast. For more information on all of their classes you can visit their website, https://www.sailingschoolthailand.com.
Just like the constant improvements in mobile phones, the advancements that boat builders have made in recent years would have been unimaginable to your father’s and grandfather’s generations of boaters.
Today’s boats have helm systems that make it easier than ever to dock, safety, and communications features that make it easier than ever to get help and creature comforts that make being on the water feel like being at home sweet home. Some boats are even built with magnets in the tables and special drinkware, to keep frosty beverages from spilling.
And, did I mention that kids love boating? Back in the day, moms and dads would tie inner tubes to ski ropes and tell kids to hang on. Nowadays, there are all kinds of fun toys go with boating, from inflatable water slides and rock climbing walls to three- and four-person inflatables that can be pulled behind the boat. Concerned about critters? Netted “playpens” can be hung off the back of a boat to give you peace of mind. Some boats even have “never-ending wakes” for surfers who want to ride the endless summer forever.
HOT Hua Hin Co. Ltd has partnered with Asia’s leading yacht sales, brokerage and service company, Simpson Marine, to offer new and used boats to the greater Hua Hin community, they have an extensive inventory of both new and used power and sailboats. To see a sampling, clicking here.