he Gulf of Thailand offers excellent yearround sailing opportunities for both the seasoned yachtsman and leisure sailors with exceptional weather conditions. Incorporating over 320,000 km², the area boasts pristine, clear blue waters generously dotted with islands, coral reefs and teeming with a rich variety of sea life. Taking this into account along with the large local population and a thriving tourist industry, you would think that there would be ample marina facilities in the Gulf. However, the very opposite is true, there is a real dearth of permanent boat moorings in the entire region.
This is why the yachting community has so warmly welcomed the new state-of-the-art marina on the island of Koh Chang. Koh Chang is Thailand's third largest island and one of the jewels of the Gulf. It is part of an archipelago of over 50 islands, most of which are designated as a national marine park. It is the perfect spot for a marina and now thanks to the region's leading property developer, Siam Royal View, it boasts one of the finest boating facilities in the whole of Thailand. The new marina is part of a real estate development that last year won welldeserved recognition at both the Thailand and the South East Asian Property Awards. Siam Royal View on Koh Chang was named the "Best Villa Development on Thailand's Eastern Seaboard" and recognised as one of the outstanding property projects in the country. The company has now taken the award-winning high standards they set on land to the water and what a good job they have done! The marina on Koh Chang is a boat owner's dream and one of only two comparable marinas in the entire Gulf of Thailand.
The marina had a soft opening in November last year and is now operating at 50% of its eventual 75 wet berth capacity. It can accommodate craft up to 90 feet in length at moorings, provides a large number of dry berths for smaller sailing and speed boats up to 40 feet in length and can house recreational watercraft. It is the kind of facility that boat owners based in Bangkok and the Eastern seaboard have wanted for many years - and when they see the marina they are likely to conclude it was well worth the wait.
The marina is meticulously organised to provide everything a sailor could wish for at his home port. Siam Royal View has listened to their market and provided individual power and water supplies to every boat stand. This allows owners to stay overnight on their boats should they wish to - something that is not allowed in many marinas throughout Thailand. This a massive bonus for weekend sailors who can now enjoy their sailing without incurring additional hotel costs.
Even better than sleeping on your boat is the chance of owning a home where you can literally moor up at the end of the garden. Boat owners can take the opportunity of having a main, second or holiday home on Koh Chang with private mooring right outside their residence. Within the marina section of their development, Siam Royal View has developed a number of plots offering private mooring directly on the river. In addition, the latest phase of construction involves the creation of a "Canal Village" where yet more homes can benefit from private mooring. These truly are dream homes for water sport and boat enthusiasts.
There are also plenty of land-based creature comforts including the additional benefit of having access to the entire development's facilities which include the Marina Pub, the Beach Club restaurant, luxury swimming pools, a nine-hole golf course and a water sports centre. That is to say nothing of the six beautiful de facto private beaches that border Siam Royal View's land. It certainly has the "wow" factor.
The marina, and indeed the entire development, is nestled on the north-west corner of Koh Chang, bordered on one side by the blue of the ocean and on the other by a backdrop of lush, green tropical forest. Much of the island is designated as national parkland and protected by statute so the stunning vistas are guaranteed to remain.
Koh Chang – A Sabai Sabai Welcome Awaits
Until recent years, when compared to the resorts on Phuket and Koh Samui, Koh Chang was one of the lesser known of Thailand's major islands. However, as the more popular destinations have become subjected to the curse of over-development, the more discerning traveller has been increasingly attracted to Thailand's third largest island which lies just a short distance off the eastern seaboard province of Trat. The fact that the majority of Koh Chang is protected national park and strict building codes are rigorously enforced ensures that untrammelled development is not possible and that will retain its outstanding natural beauty.
There is a saying in Thailand: "Sabai Sabai". This epitomises life on Koh Chang as it means relaxed, comfortable and easy going – this is very much the nature of the island. A few reasons why Koh Chang is the stand out of Thailand's islands:
♦ It boasts a series of stunning, uncrowded and sometimes even isolated beaches stretching down the entire 30km of the west coast
♦ Glorious mountains blanketed with pristine tropical forest and crossed with scenic waterfalls provide a stunning backdrop
♦ Within easy reach of over 50 neighbouring islands with isolated beaches and secluded coves; truly a sailor's paradise
♦ Exceptional coral reefs and sealife make it a diver's heaven – not to mention the bonus of Thailand's largest wreck diving site
♦ Exceptional restaurants specialising in local and international cuisine as well as delicious fresh seafood
♦ Stress-free relaxation is provided at a myriad of local bars, beach clubs and restaurants where it is possible to kick back, chill out and revel in the surroundings
♦ Plenty of local colour, culture and traditional island life including ancient fishing villages and secluded coconut groves
♦ It's easy to reach with a 40-minute flight and short ferry hop from Bangkok
The marina itself is in the perfect location, nestled behind a bend in the Klong Son River. Local fishing boats previously used the spot as a safe haven when storms blew in, which testifies to the level of protection the marina offers. They have now moved and provide a little local colour for boat owners that sail up river. Moving down river, it is a matter of minutes before sailors can be out on the open waters of the stunning Klong Son Bay and beyond.
Koh Chang and its surrounding waters are a true sailor's paradise. There are more than 50 islands in the archipelago ranging from renowned boutique resort islands like Koh Mak and Koh Kood to barren rocks that are home to seabirds and scrub. Many of the smaller islands are uninhabited and offer plenty of sheltered coves and stunning isolated beaches where the sailor can drop anchor in their own little piece of paradise. The local waters teem with sea life and those wanting to dive or snorkel can marvel at the richness of the dozens of coral reefs.
For those wanting to sail further afield, there are the coastal waters of both Thailand and Cambodia to visit; a sail up to the bright lights of Pattaya or down to the golden beaches of Sihanoukville. The more intrepid sailor wanting to indulge in some open ocean sailing can sail across the Gulf to the holiday island of Samui, its neighbouring islands and the Ang Thong Marine Park.
The possibilities are so rich and varied that it is little wonder that the marina has attracted the attention of sailors in Bangkok and even further afield. Koh Chang is about a three-hour drive from Thailand's capital, or a 40 minute flight to Trat and a quick hop across to the island. Siam Royal View offers a private speedboat service from the mainland so their boat owners (and residents of their villas) can make the most of their leisure time. They even provide a driver to bring client's cars across on the ferry. That is the kind of attention to detail that won them awards and it shows in everything they do.
The award-winning project is now open and finally offers an exclusive, fully-equipped mooring solution for boat owners and sailors