It is always nice to arrange private trips, especially on happy occasions such as this one and to somewhere new too. The trip was to celebrate the wedding of some friends whilst on a cruise that would take us around Phang Nga Bay, onto to Koh Phi Phi before returning to Phuket. Our chosen boat was the MV Phuket Champagne, a charming boat geared up for total relaxation, sightseeing and snorkelling.
On 8 August 2012 we departed from Ao Por Pier, at the north east side of Phuket Island. After a thorough briefing our guests soon settled into to the relaxed pace of ocean travel. It had been a long journey down from the wedding in Chumpon preceded by a few days of celebrations and revelry, everyone was happy to reset their body clocks to the ship’s speed.
The MV Phuket Champagne is run by Lotta who accompanied us on the trip. She designed the boat herself and has great attention to detail. There are so many places to relax on this boat. The main deck has comfortable seating areas for eating or playing board games. The galley is to the stern of the boat where the professional, friendly Thai crew serve delicious food. The upper deck features large comfortable beds should you wish to relax in the shade. Towards the bow on the upper deck there is a large sun deck with plenty of cushions. Lotta’s personal touch can be seen in every detail of the boat, the food is nicely presented, the crew wear their best Thai smiles, happy to assist the guests onboard. Lotta is also great fun to be around, always joking, always pointing out features of interest along the way, calling from her many years experience in the area.
After a few leisurely hours on the boat we arrived at our first stop, Koh Hong. Koh Hong is a small island situated in the heart of Phang Nga Bay, characterised by large limestone cliffs, dense jungle, white sandy beaches all surrounded by turquoise waters. The island is one of many national parks in the area and therefore is free from resorts and development. This was to be our guests first taste of swimming in the Andaman Sea, nice relief from the midday heat and at such a spectacular location. Lotta also doubled up as land tour guide and took everyone on a trek through the jungle.
Then it was back to the boat for lunch and onwards towards Koh Phi Phi. The afternoon was spent on the sun deck with beers and sunshine, listening to music and enjoying the ocean views. We approached Koh Phi Phi shortly before sunset and everyone once again took to the sea, the sun deck now doubling up as a diving board as everyone jumped into the water in an assortment of acrobatic poses. Some took to snorkelling around the bay, getting a sneak preview of what was in store for the following day.
Everyone had accommodation booked on the island for the night but no one seemed in a hurry to leave the boat, such was the great relaxed atmosphere. With some reluctance we headed over to the hustle and bustle of the busy island. Seeing the guests to their resort was an adventure in itself. Escorting a crowd of people through the small maze like passageways on Koh Phi Phi trying not to lose anyone was certainly the most stressful activity of the day. Heading back to the boat we couldn’t resist stopping off for a quick pizza to round off a perfect day.
The guests rejoined us on the boat early on 9 August, during breakfast we headed south to one of the nicest Koh Phi Phi dive sites, Koh Bida Nok. The trip’s itinerary also included Discover Scuba Diving for the guests. After our thorough briefings we were ready to take to the water. The conditions at Koh Bida Nok were perfect.
Dive One started in a nice shallow bay, nice and easy to get acquainted with the underwater world. After only a few minutes we were soon swimming by a large school of Forsters barracuda followed by an encounter with a graceful leopard shark as it swam by close to the reef. Even after thousands of dives there is something totally rewarding about diving with people for their first time. Seeing the wonder on divers faces takes me back to the first time I tried diving, where everything is new and alien, feeling weightless and mesmerised. As we surfaced, as always, everyone was surprised just how much time had passed. Time flies when you’re having fun, 45 minutes feels like 10 minutes underwater.
Niko took charge of the second dive, again spotting the leopard shark as well as giant moray eels, schooling snapper, a turtle and a blacktip reef shark. Impressive sightings for everyone’s first day of diving. Although keen to stay in the water, lunch was being prepared on MV Phuket Champagne. Diving makes you hungry and it didn’t take much persuasion to climb back onboard for another delicious treat from the galley.
The cruise back to Phuket followed much the same way as the previous day, relaxing on the sun deck, reliving the sights we’d seen along the way. Although it was the rainy season we had had great luck with the weather. Blue skies and tropical sunshine for the entire trip. A perfect trip all in all.
We’d like to wish the new married couple every happiness and success for their new lives together. We had an amazing time entertaining you for a couple of days and look forward to celebrating one of your future anniversaries in a similar fashion.
Anyone visiting Phuket or Phang Nga looking for a unique experience Thailand Dive & Sail can not recommend the MV Phuket Champagne enough. Lotta runs a nice schedule of varied trips throughout the high season. Rest assured you will be well taken care of during your time on board.