Maritime Magnificence – Samui’s amazing surroundings are all within reach, and Sa-ard Watersport Center enables you to explore them all in affordable style.

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Some people come to Samui to learn martial arts, or cooking or how to meditate. They know what they want, and have in mind extremely well-defined pursuits. But what’s your chief holiday objective? It’s probably a little bit vague, especially if you’re here on Samui for the first time. And why not? Holidays are an occasion to get away from all planning and rigorous living. But in all probability, what you’d like from your holiday is simply a great time. And that means many, many happy memories. Even more so if you’ve brought your children with you; you’ll want them to have a store of those memories to look back on in later life.

Samui will provide them – the beaches, mountains, the activities and all the things there are to do will all be memorable. But if you’re looking for something that’ll really stand out, a peak amongst the high hills, so to speak, then it’s a bit harder to find something of such excellence. But not too difficult, really. Some of the very best experiences are to be had just offshore. A lot of people don’t think of this; after all, if you’ve travelled thousands of miles to be on an island, why would you then hop on a boat to visit other islands? Fair question.

sa-ardBut around Samui, there are some sights which are extraordinarily beautiful that it’d be a shame to miss out on them. For example, there’s a necklace of some 70 islands just off the west coast that are so gorgeous that they’ve been turned into a national park – the Angthong National Marine Park. They’re completely unspoiled, very few people live on them, and today they remain much as they’ve been ever since they came into existence. They are the kind of tropical setting that people dream of back home, and seem to belong to a hypothetical picture post card world. But the surprise is that they are indeed here and that they really do exist. And they’re really not far away either. All you need to do is to hop on a boat.

Sa-ard is one of the top companies that take people out to see the park, as well as all the other equally wonderful destinations. The company always ensures a great day out, and is well-known for its expertise. The team offers the very best when it comes to service, with captains who have a brilliant knowledge of the area around Samui and beyond; they
know which beaches are the best and at what time of the year. You’ll experience blue waters and white sand beaches and a tropical setting that seems to have stepped out of a dream or at least a film (think The Beach, but without the mayhem).

Sa-ard has various tour destinations for you to enjoy. There are tours round Samui where you’ll be able to appreciate the beauty of the island before stopping off at the near-deserted islet of Koh Taen, where you can follow a nature trail that takes you through a mangrove forest.

sa-ardAnother favourite trip is to head north to Koh Pha-Ngan, stopping for a snorkel session and then a visit to a beach on the island. Sa-ard can also take you slightly further afield to Koh Tao, justly famed for its dive sites. From there onwards, a speed boat takes you to the small island of Koh Nang Yuan, where you can swim, snorkel or just laze for a while on the brilliant white sands here. Sa-ard also offers day fishing trips in the local waters and a romantic sunset cruise along the northern shore of Samui, taking in Tongsai Bay and Big Buddha. It goes without saying that on day trips there’s a delicious lunch included, so nobody will go hungry. This is definitely a company that likes to look after its guests.

Sa-ard is named after one of its owners, Khun Sa-ard Panyawan. He’s a national windsurf champion, and can often be seen on the road and competing in cycle races – definitely an outdoor kind of person. He was an activities operator for a five-star hotel on Samui, and got to know the island’s waters before setting up his company along with his brother. They bought a boat, became increasingly popular and over the years went from strength to strength, steadily adding more boats to their fleet.

There’s the extremely nippy 6 metre ‘Panyawan’ seating five people, then double its size, a speedboat that includes a shower and toilet on board, plus food and drink on request. Both these boats go out to the Angthong National Marine Park, but are also used for organized tours around Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao and Koh Nang Yuan. They’re also available for private fishing charters or can also be reserved for transport to and from the Full Moon Party, either on a daily rate or by the hour.

sa-ardKhun Lek also has a mid-sized cabin cruiser which can easily accommodate 17 passengers and is a great for diving or touring. It’s no problem to request food and drink to be brought along for the trip, and in addition you can bring your favourite DVDs as the boat comes with flat-screen TV.

The gem of the fleet is an elegant sleek 13-metre catamaran ideal for touring the islands if you’re planning on a jaunt that’ll last a few days. She can hold 15 people for day-trips and can sleep six. There’s also a big, well-equipped galley, and a living room with its own entertainment centre. Nights, you’ll be able to enjoy good times in style and it’ll never get too hot as there’s a very efficient air-con system.

The maritime world of the Gulf of Thailand is entrancingly beautiful, and will provide memories that’ll stay with you forever. It’s worth taking a break from Samui and seeing the islands and beaches that are so near at hand. With Sa-ard’s team you’ll be in the best hands and they’ll show you highlights that are simply too good to miss.

Dimitri Waring

For reservations or further information, telephone 0 7724 7656.
www.saardswatersport.com