Samui Wining & Dining
Sa-ard’s Watersport Center offers an exciting look at the amazing world just beyond Samui.

P16-1Running for 20 years now, Sa-ard’s Watersports Center has built up an impressive fan base, and offers an unusually wide variety of ways to spend days on the water. It’s the brainchild of a former national windsurfing champion, Khun Sa-ard Panyawan. Khun Sa-ard has lived on Samui for almost 25 years, and certainly knows all the finest areas to visit. He set up the company that bears his name, along with his brother. They wanted to offer their guests a range of experiences that showcase the diversity of Samui’s local waters offering packages as well as tailormade days out. Basically people come to them to handle any trip or activity at sea.


And the sea round Samui is particularly exciting; Samui is part of a vast archipelago that includes some 70 other islands and islets, all of them beautiful, with unusual rock formations and white sand beaches fringed by palm trees. Surprisingly, not that many holidaymakers who arrive on Samui venture away from it. Content to stay at the swimming pool or on the beach, they’re unaware of the beautiful places that lie just a few tantalizing kilometres away from the shore. Thanks to Sa-ard, exploring them couldn’t be easier.


Highly recommended day trips include a visit to neighbouring Koh Pha- Ngan, with the boat circling the entire island. An idyllic stop is made at a tiny off-island, where you can hop over the side of the boat and swim and snorkel over coral reefs. There’s also a break at beautiful Tong Nai Pan Bay, another at the waterfall at Than Sadet,P16-2 then finally Haad Rin. Another favourite trip is to the Angthong National Marine Park, famed for its karst scenery, with dramatic islands, clear waters and even a crater lake.


Other trips take you further north to Koh Tao, where you can swim and snorkel in an amazing setting, at a pair of islets joined by an incandescent white sand bank. Sounds fun? It definitely is. Sa-ard also arranges swimming and snorkelling trips to sparsely-inhabited Koh Taen, just south of Samui, where you can also visit a mangrove forest. And fishing aficionados will probably want to go on the full day fishing tour that takes in two other islands, Koh Kong and Koh Som.


For an even more luxurious experience, you can venture around Samui’s waters by speedboat or uxury catamaran, and enjoy a day trip or perhaps a longer one, featuring an overnight stay. On board you’ll not only have your captain, but also an experienced private chef who’ll serve you with delicious food throughout your trip. It’s also possible to make longer itineraries and customize the whole experience.


All the trips use vessels equipped with modern safety equipment, such as radar and GPS systems. Care is taken to ensure no boat is overcrowded and the captains won’t take risks,P16-3 even if it looks safe to do so. The center has some spectacular boats at its disposal, including a 40-foot Gulf Craft speedboat and a 43-foot catamaran, big enough to take 15 people on a day-trip or to sleep six overnight. Then there’s a 38-foot boat, large enough for 25 people and which has a shower and toilet on board, and a smaller boat for just five people. And in case you’re wondering, Sa-ard’s Watersport Center is licensed by the Tourism Authority of Thailand and their boats are all fully insured.


You can also try windsurfing and kitesurfing. Khun Sa-ard runs a twoday windsurfing course complete with diploma. But no need to go on a course of any kind, there are lots of informal activities. For example, you can also go kayaking, water-skiing or riding on a banana boat to your heart’s content.


Sa-ard’s Watersport Center offers plenty of unique experiences when it comes to exploring all that’s beyond Samui’s shores, and no matter how enticing the island is, further joys await those who venture out to sea. Saard gets you there and back, and in-between you can enjoy seamlessly good times.


Dimitri Waring


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