Samui Wining & Dining
Take to the high seas with Sa-Ard’s Watersport Center.


Sa-Ard’s Watersport Center is well established on the island, and provides boat hire, boat tours and watersport activities. The business was established nearly 17 years ago, and is named after its owner, Khun Sa-ard Panyawan. He is known in Thailand as a champion windsurfer, having represented the country in both the 1984 Los Angeles and the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games. He qualified for the national team at age 13 and won gold at the South East Asian games on five different occasions. They have some impressive vessels, and there’s bound to be one to suit your needs.

        So let’s introduce you to the fleet. Kindred Spirit is a 13m long catamaran that can comfortably hold 15 people and easily sleeps six. There is a bedroom with en-suite bathroom in the starboard hull and two further double rooms in the port hull with a shared bathroom. A large galley and living area with hot and cold water, fridge/freezer, gas cooker and electric oven mean you’ll have everything you need to be comfortable. A CD/DVD player and 28 inch colour TV will keep you entertained, and all cabins and living areas are air conditioned. The pricing structure for this catamaran includes the captain and one crew member and they offer a one night/two day trip to Angthong National Marine Park; a two night/three day trip to Koh Tao and a selection of smaller private sunset trips around Koh Samui.

        Natalie is an 11.5m long speedboat and can accommodate up to 25 people. There’s a shower and toilet on board and a selection of food and drink can be provided on request. Panyawan, smaller at 6.2m, is also a speedboat and can hold five people. Both boats offer trips around Samui, Koh Phangan, Angthong National Marine Park, Koh Tao and Koh Nang Yuan. Both are available for private fishing charters and can also be hired for speedy transport to and from the Full Moon Party. They can also be hired on a ‘per hour’ basis.

         Sting is a medium sized vessel which can comfortably seat 17 passengers. There is a flat screen TV and DVD player for entertainment if you get tired of the tropical island views. She is easy to moor in shallow waters and makes an excellent dive boat, tour boat, educational touring boat, party boat or private multipurpose water craft.

          So let’s tell you a bit more about the tours. The tour around Koh Phangan starts with hotel pick up at 8:30 am. You get a chance to swim and snorkel and view some colourful, tropical fish and coral reefs around Koh Ma, then Tong Nai Bay. After working up an appetite you can enjoy a Thai lunch at a small beach restaurant then head over to Than Sadet Beach. If you’re feeling energetic, you can head inland to the Than Sadet waterfall. You can even jump in and enjoy a quick swim. Last to be visited are Paradise Beach or Haad Rin Beach, which is the notorious Full Moon Party beach. This tour includes all water, soft drinks, lunch, snorkelling equipment and hotel transfers. You will arrive back in the evening around 5:00 pm.

          The tour around Samui starts slightly later at 9:00 am and heads clockwise around the island. It makes a stop at the south westerly island of Koh Taen, known for its beautiful coral reef. After a snorkel and swim, you will be guided along a nature trail on the island which leads to a unique mangrove forest. Lunch is provided courtesy of a small restaurant and picnics are available on request. In the afternoon, you have another chance to explore some deserted beaches, sunbathe or go for another swim or snorkel, before heading back around 4:00 pm.

          Last but not least, is the tour over to Angthong National Marine Park. The park lies 31km northwest from Samui and comprises more than 40 small islands, making it a wonderful area to explore by boat. Incredible bird life, hidden coves and caves, exotic rock formations and blue lagoons create a magical experience for all ages. You will visit the famous Talay Nai (or Emerald Lake), a saltwater lake on Mae Koh Island. There are quite a few steps to climb but the view is really worth it. The afternoon leaves plenty time for swimming, snorkelling and exploring some of the smaller islands. You will return to Samui around 3:30 pm.

          If you’re willing to travel further afield, how about a snorkelling trip to Koh Tao and Koh Nang Yuan. Roughly 50km away from Samui, these islands are perfect for diving or snorkelling and are known the world over. Think clear waters, pretty corals, tropical fish and gorgeous stretches of untouched beaches. The speed boat ride lasts around 90 minutes but once you’re there, you’ll be in snorkelling paradise. Lunch is provided by one of the small restaurants or, by prior arrangement, a picnic on board can also be organised. After lunch, the boat will head to Aow Mamuang on Koh Tao where you will have a whole two hours to enjoy the waters and associated marine life.

          Last but not least, if you’d rather go fishing, they offer fishing tours and all fishing rods and bait are provided. Windsurfing and sailing lessons are available too.


 Colleen Setchell


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