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I had heard of The Yacht Week before – the company runs incredible, perhaps notorious, trips around Europe in places like Croatia, Greece and Italy arranging fleets of boats that travel through the area for one week in what is essentially a nonstop party along the water complete with organized parties every night, on staff DJs and plenty of opportunities for letting loose.
I had no idea they offered trips in Thailand as well and was both surprised and excited to get an invite to join them over Christmas.
I’d never been sailing. It would be a completely new way to experience the Thai islands and, when it comes to Thailand, I want to experience it all – from sleeping on the floor of a northern Thai hill tribe (as I started out December doing) to sunbathing on the top of a yacht sailing through southern Thailand (as I ended December doing).
I had no clue what I was getting myself into…
I know, I know – of course the people who go on The Yacht Week are on holiday and not kind of working/kind of vacationing like me and the rest of my boat of other bloggers, Instagrammers, photographers and videographers were so it’s not an issue…but if you do need to check in with the office at all, it will be difficult between unreliable mobile and WiFi service (you’re out at sea!) combined with all the fun you’ll be having instead.
Anyway, now on to how The Yacht Week actually works and how to get your butt onto one of the boats yourself…
The Yacht Week creates opportunities for those of us who aren’t millionaires to experience sailing in extraordinary locales for one week with a group of other adventurous, fun-seeking guys and gals. All the trips have an equal mix of guys and girls who are mainly in their 20s-30s…as is the crew and staff. Most people who join have never sailed before but everything is taken care of from the yacht rental to the experienced skipper who will guide your trip.
Trips are available at set weeks throughout the year in six destinations around the world and you can book either an entire yacht with a group of friends or, if you don’t have a large enough group to book the whole boat, double cabins in a shared yacht.
The Yacht Week runs trips in Croatia, Greece, Italy, Turkey, the British Virgin Islands and Thailand.
While I heard tales that some of the European trips are quite wild, in Croatia especially, the Thailand tour tends to be a little more chilled and relaxed – lots of sunbathing, lots of excursions to hidden islands and lagoons, lot of massages if you so choose.
The journey started in Phuket, where you meet at the yacht marina to gather with your group and get on the boat. From there we headed out to sea stopping every evening in a new destination with day stops along the way as well. The Thailand route (full map below) included overnight stays in Phuket, Railay, Koh Lanta, Koh Phi Phi and Koh Yao Noi while during the day we stopped at incredible places in the middle of the sea that you can normally only see during day boat tours from the main islands include the lagoon in Koh Hong, the Emerald Cave in Koh Mook, the strip of sand in the middle of the ocean at Chicken Island, Maya Bay near Koh Phi Phi (famous for being where they filmed The Beach), ‘James Bond Island’ in Phang-Nga Bay near Phuket and more.
I had actually visited all the main islands before but had barely been to any of the smaller stops since they all require hiring a long tail boat or day trip to reach. Being able to sail right up to the destinations, on our own time, and take a dinghy in to explore, as opposed to being on a large group tour, was pretty cool.
Every night you’ll head to shore to have dinner (normally boats choose a place to eat together but you have the freedom to eat wherever or do whatever you’d like) and then head to a party organized by The Yacht Week at clubs, beach bars and resorts.
So how much does this all cost? It’s certainly not cheap, but it’s not outrageous either, especially when you consider all you get.
You can go on The Yacht Week two ways – by booking an entire yacht (that fits 10 people) or booking a double room on a yacht (called a cabin booking).
For the Thailand route, cabin bookings are €1,400 per person (including a skipper, hostess, food, yacht fees etc.) while yacht bookings are typically €600-800 per person for a 10 person yacht including a skipper (although each yacht varies in price). You book the yacht and then separately you book the skipper to sail the boat (€700-1,050) and a hostess who cooks your breakfasts and lunches and helps keep the boat tidy (€600 and totally worth it).
Since most Paper Planes readers are thinking in U.S. dollars or Thai baht, here’s how the pricing converts. Currently €1 = $1.09 and €1 = 39.7 baht.
Cabin bookings (per person):
Yacht bookings (per person):
Skipper (per boat):
Hostess (per boat):
You can see a breakdown of prices and what’s included on The Yacht Week website here. For example, when you make a cabin booking, your breakfasts and lunches are included but if you’re booking the entire yacht with friends you’re responsible for paying for your food/groceries for the week separate from the booking fee.
A major thing to keep in mind for both sets of bookings is that you’ll still be paying for things throughout the week on top of the initial trip costs such as:
So, is it expensive? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes. Especially if you’re able to get a full group together and rent your own yacht you’re sure to have an unforgettable trip and completely enjoy yourself.
I have my eye on Croatia or Turkey next…who’s with me?
Note: I was a grateful guest of The Yacht Week but all opinions are my own. If you’re interested in learning more about The Yacht Week and all the destinations it operates in, head to http://www.theyachtweek.com.