A Boat Trip Like No Other – with Local Fisherman in Thailand
A boat trip is one of the best ways to enjoy and explore the beautiful South of Thailand, and nearly a must if you like snorkeling, hanging out on beautiful beaches or just relaxing in the sun and jumpimg into the water from time to time.
This blog post is NOT going to be about the common boat trips what you can book at a lot of agencies, but more a guide for people who like to travel individual and explore the beautiful South of Thailand in a different way.
Where to start?
Nearly at every Island in the south of Thailand, there is at least one fisherman village where you can experience the local life and see their ‘catch-of-the-day’. This is one of the best places to ask a local if he is willing to take you on a boat trip for a day or even a week. If you can’t speak Thai, no problem, try to find someone who can speak English or ask for help at your guesthouse/hotel or even at a bar when you enjoy your ice cold beer at the end of the day. The Thais are very friendly and always interested in helping, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find someone who can help you.
The great thing is that you really support directly a family without giving the big part of your money to an agency. Don’t get me wrong here, I had some great trips which were booked with an agency but I had the best experience when I spend some time with locals, learned about their life and was able to see how they catch prawns, fish and squid, followed by a BBQ together at the end of the day or by simply cooking on the boat. So before you take off, negotiate a price for boat and gas and check if you have to bring anything special beside your sun screen, hat , or bikini. We brought our own food and drinks and a bottle of whisky for the fisherman as a present and shared everything with him on the trip.
What can you expect?
The great thing about hiring your own boat is that you can decide where you want to go and how long you want to stay at a place. Sometimes, we just pointed at some uninhabited island and asked him to take us there. On one trip the fisherman showed us how to catch squid in the night time and took us to a rock with a very beautiful coral reef and an abundance of sea life.
Depending on how you prefer to move from island to island, it is even possible to rent a kayak and just explore everything by yourself. Either way, this is one of the best ways to get off the beaten track and see the places where usually no one else goes and discover some special spots which only the locals know. From deserted white beaches to crystal clear lagoons, this kind of trip will offer you a unique and unforgettable experience while you are supporting the people who are really in need.
Where to go?
There are a few hundred islands in Thailand and a lot of them are uninhabited, but belong to national parks and you might not be allowed to stay overnight. Once, some rangers came while we were setting up our camp and we had to leave the island, but most of the islands have several beaches with guesthouses, hotels or simple bamboo huts. We made a day trip around Koh Lanta which was really nice and spend a week around Koh Chang and several days with a kayak around Koh Lipe where we hopped from beach to beach.
To get the most out of it and enjoy clear and calm water it is always a good idea to check the weather forecast and avoid the monsoon season as the sea can be rough and the visibility can be very low. Some islands have their own microclimate and are suitable to visit the whole year long. The islands around Koh Mook and the Emerald Cave are also recommended and it doesn’t matter if you hire a fisherman, go by kayak or sail, it is definitely an adventure and 100% worth it.
Leave us a comment if you have any question or additional information on how to travel the beautiful South of Thailand and explore the islands by boat.