Phang Nga Bay has been attracting sailors for over two thousand
Early Chinese adventurers risked their lives to harvest the valuable
bird's nests that rest deep inside the limestone caves on the many
spectacular small islands that dot the region.
Early cave painters recount these remarkable adventures centuries
before the region became Thailand.
East West Siam now offers visitors to Phuket the opportunity to
join on a romantic sunset cruise on a path that follows this historic
journey aboard a traditional Siamese rigged Junk, the June Bahtra.
This beautiful vessel was reconditioned in the 1980s to serve the
international tourism industry. There is no better way to explore
Phang Nga Bay and experience the silent beauty of the majestic islands
as sailors from antiquity did.
While the June Bahtra offers full day cruises up into the northern
reaches of Phang Nga, the sunset cruise is a more modest adventure
and a perfect way to end a day at the beach or exploring Phuket
Guests are picked up from their hotel or resort by air conditioned
bus around 4 pm. The cruise begins at Phuket's world class yacht
marina, the Yacht Haven on the eastern side of the island.
The June Bahtra is made from beautiful woods with soft red, traditional
Junk sails designed to capture the winds, just like boats that sailed
these waters in the distant past. Everything about the June Bahtra
is custom designed with Thai themes. Local textiles cover the comfortable
beds that are spread around the deck for guests to relax and watch
the emerging night stars.
The sunset cruise on the June Bahtra begins before 5 pm. Guests
are served refreshing drinks and roasted local cashews upon arrival.
Then there's almost two hours of sailing towards Lawa Island when
the refreshing late afternoon breezes cool and enchant after a long,
hot day on the mainland. "You'll notice the sails on the June
Bahtra look like the wings of butterflies", Chutima, East West
Siam's Marketing Director observed. "The early Chinese sailors
knew a lot about aerodynamics by watching nature and designed their
fastest boats to imitate butterflies that were agile and quick."
After the sun sets behind distant Phuket, guests are served a Thai
buffet dinner of five delicious courses accompanied by an open bar.
It's a great way to sample fresh local fish and popular Thai and
Chinese foods while watching the tall, dark limestone islands glide
The June Bahtra can handle small groups comfortably. The experienced
crew have worked on traditional junks for many years and limberly
climb to adjust sails to catch every breeze.
"There is no experience quite like a romantic sunset cruise
aboard the June Bahtra," says Antoine Mouille, base manager
for Thai Marine Leisure, the handling agent for East West Siam.
"We have three different junk-rigged boats, the June Bahtra
I and II and the Jit Jai which is larger and can handle larger groups.
We offer our guests an authentic and memorable experience of Thailand."
After four hours of comfortable sailing and cruising and eating
and resting, guests are returned to their hotels by 9:30 pm having
experienced one of the magical adventures to be enjoyed on Phuket.
Tel: +66-76 344 022.