• Turbo Graduate
  • May 12, 2023

A Beginner's Guide to Sailing in Thailand: Everything You Need to Know Before You Set Sail

Are you geared up for an adventure of a lifetime? If you are looking for a special way to explore Thailand's tropical paradise, then cruising is the way to go. With pristine waters, natural cliff formations, and warm weather all year round, Thailand is the best vacation spot for sailors of all levels. In this blog, we will take you on a trip through the entirety you want to comprehend before setting sail in Thailand.

One of the most thrilling things about sailing in Thailand is the variety of islands and destinations to pick from. The tropical country is home to over 1,400 islands, each with its own unique splendor and charm. From the popular tourist destinations of Phuket and Koh Samui to the lesser-known islands of Koh Yao Noi and Koh Rok, there is an ample location to uncover. With hidden coves, secluded beaches, and picturesque anchorages, sailing in Thailand offers an adventure like no other.

One of the top-rated locations to start your cruising escapade in Thailand is the island of Phuket. With its beaches, clear waters, and lively atmosphere, Phuket is a sailor's dream come true. There are plenty of sailing routes to pick out from, depending on your talent level and interests. One famous route is the Phi Phi Islands, which provide some of the most beautiful scenery in Thailand. The islands are recognized for their towering limestone cliffs, hidden lagoons, and pristine beaches.

living on a sailboat in thailand

If you are searching for an extra challenging experience, then head to the Andaman Sea. The Similan Islands, located off the coast of Phang Nga province, are a famous destination for experienced sailors. The islands are recognized for their fantastic diving and snorkeling sites, with crystal-clear waters and considerable marine life. The islands are also home to some of the fine seashores in Thailand, ideal for a day of relaxation after a lengthy day of sailing.

When it comes to sailing in Thailand, the best time to go is between November and April, when the weather is dry and the seas are calm. The monsoon season in Thailand runs from May to October, so it's best to avoid sailing during this time.

Cabin charters are readily available in Thailand. For example, Yoga Sailing Holidays offers a Lagoon 42 yacht, a popular choice for if you're looking for comfort and luxury. They also provide sailing courses for beginners, so even if you have no sailing experience, you can still enjoy the thrill of sailing in Thailand.

In conclusion, cruising in Thailand is an adventure like no other. With its beautiful scenery, warm weather, and pleasant locals, Thailand is the best vacation spot for sailors of all levels. Whether you are a beginner or a skilled sailor, there is a cruising route in Thailand that will go well with your needs. So what are you waiting for? Book your cruising journey in Thailand today and trip the thrill of sailing in the tropical paradise.

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Life on a Sailboat: Everything You Need to Know About Living on a Sailboat Full-Time

Living on a sailboat full-time is often romanticized as a life of endless sunsets, gentle waves, and freedom on the open sea. Many dream of casting off the lines and setting sail for a horizon of adventure and tranquility. However, the reality of life aboard a sailboat can be as challenging as it is rewarding, as frustrating as it is relaxing, and, more often than not, as mundane as it is exciting.

This blog post aims to peel back the curtain on the picturesque scenes to reveal what daily life is really like when you call a sailboat home. We will dive into the motivations, preparations, joys, and challenges of living on a sailboat full-time, providing a realistic glimpse into a lifestyle that is far from ordinary.

Our Live-Aboard Life

Our dream of living on a sailboat was a distant one for many years. But as we watched plans and dreams fall by the wayside in the wake of COVID, we made the decision to make our dream a reality. Once the borders opened up, we made a beeline for the Mediterranean and have since spent each summer living aboard our little 29-foot sailboat Whisper. Without any experience sailing or living on a sailboat, we have taught ourselves to sail and manage life on the boat along the way.

Before we took up sail life, we had been living “van life,” and we’ve come to realize there are lots of similarities but quite a few differences between the two . However, on the whole, learning to live van life first put us in good stead to take on life on a sailboat. Unlike most people, we up-sized when we moved onto a boat.

Despite the upgrade in living quarters, the learning curve and the adjustment to living on the sea were no less challenging. Nevertheless, the shift was not as scary as we thought it might be, and the reality of living on a sailboat full-time quickly became our new normal.

Initially, our plan was to buy a boat and spend one season aboard sailing the Mediterranean before selling the boat and settling down. Instead, it’s safe to say we have fallen in love with life on a sailboat. Now, as we enter our third season, we aren’t sure when we will be ready to furl the sails for good…

Get a Taste of Life on a SailBoat

We document some of the realities of living on a sailboat full-time on our YouTube Channel in our The Vanabond Sails series.

Deciding to Live on a Sailboat

The journey to becoming a full-time live aboard often starts with the desire for change.

Some people are transitioning from one stage of life to the next as careers wind up or children move out. Some yearn for adventure and excitement, while others seek a simpler way of life. Many are drawn to the promise of freedom, the allure of the sea, and the appeal of living more closely with nature. However, the decision to live on a sailboat full-time is not one to be taken lightly. It requires thoughtful consideration and planning.

For us, it was a long-held dream to sail and live aboard a sailboat. It was also a natural progression, having spent several years living and traveling by van . We were ready for a new challenge. 

It began with a conversation, then a plan, and then trawling classifieds for second-hand boat sales. Before long, the decision was set in stone, and we were on our way to Croatia to buy a boat , learn to sail it, and move aboard. 

Choosing the Right Sailboat

The type of sailboat you choose is critical and depends on your budget, sailing skills, and the kind of sailing you plan to do (coastal cruising, bluewater voyaging, etc.).

Will you prefer the size and stability of a catamaran, or will you prioritize the sailing experience of a monohull? Are you looking for something small that’s easily controlled and maneuvered by a limited (and potentially inexperienced) crew, or do you require the space of a larger vessel? Are you interested in the clean lines and comforts of modern boat designs, or do you prefer the style of older boats? There are a thousand decisions to be made when choosing a boat, and your own aspirations for boat life and, of course, your budget will be critical when it comes to making this decision. 

Spend as much time researching boats that are available in your price range, ask questions of sailors you know or on sailing forums, and, if possible, spend time aboard different types of sailboats to get a clearer picture of what life is really like on board before making a purchase.

Check out our full article on buying boat .

Emotional and Practical Considerations for Sail Life

Living on a sailboat means embracing minimalism and being comfortable with the idea of having less space and possessions.

You’ll need to consider the impact of such a lifestyle on relationships with family and friends, as it can mean spending long periods away from loved ones.

The decision also involves considering how to manage work or income while living at sea , which might include remote work, seasonal jobs, or living off savings.

There are plenty of options for those planning on working remotely while sailing. With the rise of remote work , there has never been more opportunity to work and sail.

All of these considerations represent potential challenges to adjusting to life at sea, but they are certainly not insurmountable. You just need to be honest with yourself and decide if your love of the open water and the freedom of living aboard a sailboat will be greater than the inconveniences.

Preparations and Adjustments

Transitioning to life on a sailboat involves a series of preparations and adjustments, both practical and psychological, to ensure a smooth and sustainable living experience.

Training and Skills

If you are thinking about taking up sailing, you should, of course, invest time in learning to sail, navigate, and understand weather patterns. While this may seem like a daunting task, it’s not an insurmountable one. Time on the water is the most important thing, so it’s time to sign up for sailing courses, start planning trips with sailing friends, join a local sailing club, or seek out opportunities to crew for other sailors.

Learning basic boat maintenance and repair is essential to manage the myriad challenges that come with life at sea.

Safety courses, such as first aid, sea survival, and radio operation, are also crucial for handling emergencies.

These skills are important for safe and comfortable sailing and are often legally required. Make sure you are aware of the licensing and registration requirements for sailors in the region you are preparing to sail.

In our case, I had experience sailing small dinghies as a child and thus some understanding of the fundamentals, while Kelli had zero experience. My existing marine license issued in Australia was recognized in Croatia, where we bought our boat. I only needed to acquire a VHF radio license to become adequately certified for inshore sailing in the Mediterranean. 

We paid some local sailors to come aboard and teach us both the fundamentals of our new boat (lots of docking and anchoring practice).

Downsizing and Adapting to Limited Space and Resources

As mentioned, moving onto a boat was actually upsizing for us. With a second cabin, a flushing toilet, and a large indoor table, our relatively small 29-foot monohull seemed luxurious compared to the vans we had been living in until this point. 

However, for most, moving onto a sailboat often means significant downsizing, and space becomes a premium commodity. The process of downsizing for sail life involves prioritizing essential items and learning to live without the comforts of a traditional home.

Space isn’t the only limitation on a boat. Reliance on water tanks (if you don’t have a watermaker) and solar, wind, or generator electricity often means a downshift in access to creature comforts we take for granted in a house on the grid.

Creativity in organizing and making the most of limited space and resources becomes a daily practice, requiring innovative storage solutions and multi-functional furniture. Most modern sailboats are well-designed with endless space-saving measures and designs. Nevertheless, an adjustment will likely be necessary.

Financial Planning

Financial considerations are paramount, as the cost of living on a sailboat can vary widely depending on factors like marina fees, maintenance costs, and lifestyle choices.

Setting a realistic budget that includes regular maintenance, unexpected repairs, and living expenses is essential for sustaining life at sea.

Depending on your personal aspirations for boat life, this lifestyle can be as affordable or as expensive as you want to be. For us, as a couple in our thirties still in the building and saving part of our lives and careers, we are able to live on a boat in the Mediterranean affordably and comfortably for far less than we (estimate) we would spend living a more stationary lifestyle.

Check out our full article on the Costs of Living on Sail Boat Full-Time

Overall, adjusting to the confines and challenges of sailboat living demands not only physical preparation but also mental resilience and adaptability. The transition from land to sea is a profound shift, requiring a willingness to embrace simplicity, flexibility, and a sense of adventure.

Daily Life Aboard

While there is no typical day aboard, and experiences will differ wildly from person to person and day to day, we can describe what many of our days do look like.

As we work from the boat, our weeks are generally divided into work days, Monday to Friday morning and weekends. The truth is that the novelty does wear off, and many days, especially during the working week, become just as mundane as any other lifestyle. However it never stays mundane for long, one exhilarating sail, a dolphin sighting, a picture perfect anchorage or even surviving an impromptu weather event and the thrill of living on a sailboat quickly returns.

A typical workday for us living on a sailboat often starts with the sunrise (or a little bit before if we have a lot on). Ideally, we are well rested after a still night without rolling swell or, worse, strong wind, but that isn’t always assured at sea. Mornings involve checking the weather first and foremost, all plans revolve around the direction and strength of the wind and waves. 

If the weather is calm, we usually try to work in the mornings when we are fresh and focused.

We travel slowly, often spending a few days in a quiet, well-protected anchorage, on a town quay, or in a marina before moving on a short distance along the coast. On sailing days, we often sail in the afternoon when the winds are a bit stronger in the Mediterranean. On days we are staying put, the afternoon might be spent exploring a new town, getting provisions, swimming, or finding a beach to lie on and read a book. In the evening, we will cook dinner onboard and get some more work done or watch some TV. 

Weekends look different, and we will take advantage of not needing to be close to reliable network services, completing longer passages along the coast, or visiting islands. 

Daily Differences in Sail Life

Living spaces on a sailboat are compact and multifunctional, necessitating an organized and tidy approach to prevent clutter and ensure safety. Cooking in a small galley kitchen presents its challenges, from securing pots and pans on a constantly moving boat to managing limited ingredients and storage.

Meals often need to be simple yet nutritious, requiring creativity and planning. Our approach is to cook simple, one-pot, vegetarian meals like dal or vegetable curry two or three times during the workweek and eat leftovers for lunch and dinner. On the weekend, we like to get more creative with our meals, seeking out local produce or fresh seafood and taking our time to prepare something special.

As mentioned, resource management is a critical aspect of daily sailboat life, especially when it comes to conserving water, fuel, and electricity. Efficient use of these resources is vital, whether it involves careful water usage, monitoring power consumption, or planning the next opportunity to resupply. For us, an electricity supply is mainly dependent on the sun when we are not under motor or plugged into shore power. Extended periods of cloud can alter our plans. Similarly, if we are not careful with water, more frequent visits to refill are required, which can be limiting. 

Personal hygiene and privacy take on a new meaning in the confined space of a sailboat. Showers may be quick and infrequent. In our case, we generally rinse off after a swim to bathe and take proper showers during marina stops. Personal space is limited on a sailboat and managing personal relationships can have extra challenges.

Sleeping on the boat can take some getting used to, especially when on anchor. Even on a calm day, the constant rocking of the water can be disruptive at first, and novice sailors may find they get seasick, although these symptoms usually go away after a few days. When it’s windy, or there is some swell, the noise, movement, and the ever-present worry that the boat may pull off its anchor with the movement can make it very difficult to get a good night’s sleep. 

Unforecast storms, gear failure, or some other emergency can occasionally create scary and challenging scenarios, especially if disaster strikes late at night. These situations are part of the adventure but can certainly be stressful.

Despite the challenges, daily life on a sailboat is interspersed with moments of profound beauty and peace. Whether watching dolphins play in the bow wave, enjoying a sunset over the ocean, or stargazing on a clear night, these experiences often make the hardships worthwhile, offering a sense of freedom and connection to nature that is hard to find elsewhere.

The Pros and Cons of Living on a Sailboat Full-Time

Pros: the joys of sailboat living.

Living on a sailboat brings a unique set of joys and rewards that can make the challenges seem insignificant.

+ One of the most significant benefits is the sense of freedom and adventure. Sailboat dwellers have the luxury of exploring new destinations, anchoring in secluded bays, and experiencing different cultures in a way that most people never will. The ability to call a variety of picturesque locations home, even if only temporarily, is a remarkable aspect of this lifestyle. Even compared to other forms of nomadic lifestyle, waking up in your own private bay or cove is hard to re-create. 

+ The connection with nature is unparalleled in sailboat living. Being surrounded by the vastness of the ocean, witnessing marine life up close, and experiencing the rhythms of the sea create a deep sense of harmony and peace. The simplicity of life on a boat can lead to a greater appreciation for the small things, like the beauty of a sunset, the changing colors of the sea, or the silence of a night watch under the stars.

+ Community and camaraderie are also central to the sailboat lifestyle. The sailing community is known for its close-knit, supportive nature, with fellow sailors often ready to lend a hand, share advice, or offer companionship. This sense of community extends across harbors and anchorages around the world, creating a global network of friends and contacts.

+ The personal growth and self-reliance developed through sailboat living are profound. Navigating the challenges and unpredictability of the sea fosters resilience, problem-solving skills, and a strong sense of self-confidence. The lifestyle encourages continuous learning, from mastering sailing and navigational skills to understanding weather patterns and marine ecosystems.

The Cons: The Challenges and Hardships of Liveaboard Life

While the joys of living on a sailboat are plentiful, the lifestyle also comes with its fair share of challenges and hardships. These difficulties test the resilience and adaptability of those who choose this way of life.

– One of the most significant challenges is dealing with bad weather. Storms, high winds, and rough seas can be terrifying and dangerous, requiring skill, experience (which you can only get by …experiencing it), and a calm demeanor to navigate safely (perhaps the trickiest thing to achieve). The stress from poor weather can be mentally draining, disrupt work, and put a strain on relationships.

– The learning curve required to become a confident and comfortable sailor is not small and can take many seasons while mastering sailing can take a lifetime.

– The constant exposure to the elements also means that maintenance is a never-ending task, with saltwater and sun causing wear and tear that must be regularly addressed to keep the boat functional and safe. Especially on an older boat like ours, fixing and maintaining gear and rigging is an endless cycle. Most systems and hardware on the boat are essential, and when they fail, there is often no one around to help. Constantly sorting out jammed anchors, engine or electrical issues can quickly become tiresome and (if you are trying to work) quite disruptive. It can also be quite stressful when critical systems fail.

– Isolation is another aspect of sailboat living that can be challenging. Long periods at sea or anchored in remote locations can lead to feelings of loneliness and disconnection from land-based communities. The confined space of a sailboat can strain relationships, making it essential for the crew, be it a couple, a family, or friends, to communicate effectively and give each other personal space.

– The financial aspect of sailboat living can also be a hardship. Unexpected repairs and maintenance can quickly drain savings, and the cost of mooring, fuel, and supplies can add up. Sailors must be adept at budgeting and often need to be resourceful in finding ways to sustain their lifestyle, which might include picking up temporary jobs or remote work.

– The physical demands of managing a sailboat should not be underestimated. It requires strength, stamina, and a willingness to tackle everything from sail repairs to engine troubleshooting. The learning curve can be steep, and the responsibility of keeping the boat and its occupants safe is a constant pressure.

Despite these challenges, many sailboat dwellers find that the hardships are part of what makes the lifestyle rewarding. Overcoming difficulties and learning to live in harmony with the sea can provide a profound sense of achievement and satisfaction.

Final Thoughts About Life on a Sailboat

Living on a sailboat full-time is a journey that encompasses the full spectrum of human experience, blending moments of sheer joy and beauty with times of challenge and adversity. It’s a lifestyle that demands resilience, adaptability, and a willingness to embrace the unknown. While the romantic allure of sailing the high seas is undeniable, the realities of daily life on a sailboat are grounded in practical challenges and the necessity of continual learning and personal growth.

The decision to live on a sailboat should not be made lightly, as it involves significant changes in lifestyle, mindset, and social dynamics. However, for those who choose to embark on this adventure, it offers unparalleled opportunities for freedom, exploration, and connection with nature. The hardships encountered along the way are not just obstacles but also catalysts for growth, leading to a deeper understanding of oneself and the world.

If you have a question about living on a sailboat full-time, let us know in the comments below or shoot us an email anytime!

Fair winds and following seas!

In 2016, I had been dumped by my girlfriend, fired from my job, and the lease on my house was running out. Facing moving back in with my parents, 26, jobless and alone I decided to listen to the message the universe was trying to send me. I took off on my first solo backpacking trip, with a one-way ticket to Bangkok and a well-thumbed Lonely Planet guide. From there I wandered Southeast and Central Asia, traveled the Great Steppe, and made my way across Russia and throughout Europe.

In Estonia I met Kelli, who, despite having a less frantic travel style, shared my my restless spirit and passion for exploration. Together, we embarked on a new journey, van life. Over four years we travelled across three different continents with three different vans.

In 2022, as the world began to re-open post COVID we took an opportunity to realise a long held dream, to live aboard a sailboat. Since then we have spent two summers in the Mediterranean, sailing and living aboard our little sail boat Whisper. When we aren't sailing we continue to live our nomadic lifestyle, guided by a philosophy of slow travel and self directed adventure be it by van or backpacking.

We find excitement through our journey into the unknown, stillness and content in the beauty of the places we discover and we find ourselves in the vastness of our world.

Hopefully, we can help you find what you're looking for too. Get lost with us and find your own path.

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Yacht Cruising Lifestyle

Yacht Cruising Lifestyle

Everything fun you can do from your yacht

An Interview with SV Skylark – Thailand

January 15, 2021 by Travis Turgeon 2 Comments

Jennifer Likins and Chris Likins on their sailboat SV Skylark

Jennifer and Chris Likins are two airline pilots turned full-time sailors during the COVID-19 era. Between a mix of aspiration and circumstance, the couple has now found themselves living aboard their 54-foot sailing vessel, “Skylark.”

Although cruising full-time was not in the initial plans for 2020, their sailing enthusiasm has been alive for years. After meeting in 2011, Jennifer and Chris traveled to over 100 countries on seven continents together, several of which they visited during charter boat trips.

Jennifer Likins and Chris Likins on a glacier in the Antarctic

In October of 2019, the couple purchased SV Skylark to take sailing trips around their month-on, month-off work schedule. Little did they know what was ahead of them and how their plans would begin to change. 

The aviation and travel industries were two of the hardest hit by the global COVID pandemic, which meant that Jennifer and Chris’ careers came to a sudden and unexpected halt.

Having purchased SV Skylark several months prior, however, the lack of work and abundance of free time proved to be somewhat of a blessing in disguise. 

Jennifer Likins and Chris Likins drinking champaign on their sailboat in Thailand

The opportunity created by these new circumstances didn’t come without its own set of challenges, though. 

Jennifer and Chris purchased their sailboat in Penang, Malaysia. After spending a bit of time in Langkawi, they made their way to Thailand in January of 2020. Not long after, global shutdowns and border closures meant that sailing onward to new destinations would have to wait. During the height of Thailand’s lockdown, the couple spent nearly a month anchored at a small island near Phuket. With provincial borders closed, they decided it was best to hunker down and try to enjoy the downtime.

The lockdown measures proved to be effective, though. After a few months of social distancing and travel restrictions, Thailand began to shift towards re-starting its economy. Although Jennifer and Chris were unable to move freely, they traveled domestically to some of Thailand’s wonderful distinations.

Jennifer Likins in the clear blue waters of Thailand with her sailboat in the background

I had the chance to speak with them before their passage to the Maldives, and got a little more insight into the beginning of this new chapter.

How did this dream become a reality, and where did your journey begin?

“Chris and I have been traveling together since we met nearly ten years ago. We loved visiting the various countries over the years, but we wanted to take on a new type of challenge. Having chartered several sailboats during our travels, we decided o n one for ourselves. We agreed on an Amel 54, as we liked the different safety features it offers. It was a purchase made so that we could sail during our time off from work. We generally work one month on, and one month off. Things, of course, changed with that after COVID.” 

A sailboat with solar panels anchored in Thailand

Did either of you have much sailing experience before starting this new adventure?

“I grew up sailing. My parents had a 42-foot sailboat, and I was a sailing instructor as a teenager. Chris began sailing when he met me ten years ago, and we have done many sailing trips since. We chartered boats in Tonga, Tahiti, Brazil, Greece, Italy, Croatia, Spain, and Svalbard. We did a sailing course together in Greece a few years ago since many charter companies require an internationally recognized sailing license, such as the RYA Day Skipper.  As owners, we have learned a lot about sailing and boat maintenance over the past year.“

Sailboat on a mooring line next to a dinghy in Thailand

What kind of sailboat is SV Skylark? 

“Skylark is a 2009 Amel 54. French yacht builder, Amel, is known for producing some of the safest yachts in its class. She is a 54-foot center cockpit, ketch-rigged sailboat capable of cruising the world in comfort and style. F rom the cockpit, you control all of the primary sails , adding to its safety and making her very easy to sail short-handed. The Amel 54 is an ideal cruising yacht for a couple. She i s a sail-powered boat that also has a Volvo Penta 110hp engine.”

Chris Likins adjusting the sails from the cockpit of a sailboat

Did you have to give SV Skylark a significant overhaul, or was it well-maintained before you purchased it?

“Skylark was well maintained when we purchased her, and we are trying our best to keep it that way. The previous owner took excellent care of her using all of the manufacturer’s recommendations, and the woodwork was pristine. As soon as we saw Skylark, we knew she was the yacht for us. The boat was ready to go as soon as we walked in! We are very fortunate to keep in touch with the previous owner, and he has been helpful when we have any questions. He also left us with lots of spare parts and tools. When considering used yachts, the history of the boat and how the previous owner maintained it is super important.” 

Couple sit in front of their sailboat during an overhaul

What items, upgrades, or accessories have turned out to be the best investment before starting your journey? The least useful?

“The best investments have been our solar panels and davits. We waited nearly eight months after we purchased Skylark to invest in them since we were only planning to cruise for a month at a time and had a foldable dinghy that fits in the aft locker. We became sick of lifting the dinghy up every night, though, and decided to make the investment in a davit. We’re very happy with this!! We also save on fuel costs using solar panels since we don’t have to run the generator as much, which is very pleasant. Other great purchases have been a BBQ, hammock, and projector with a karaoke machine. 

“The least useful was a fly trapper f rom Lazada. It just spins and spins, but it doesn’t capture the flies! Maybe we were doing something wrong, but it seems to be a bad purchase. It now sits in a cupboard.”

Aerial view of a sailboat and woman swimming next to it

How much has it cost to sail and maintain Skylark in Thailand during COVID, and how do you expect those costs to change once you begin sailing to other countries?

“We are fortunate we made it into Thailand before the border closed. To keep a yacht at a marina in Thailand, it costs about $1100 a month for a 54-foot yacht (around 20$/foot/month). We had a yacht manager take care of our boat for $300-$700 a month while docked at the marina. The care price ranges based on the package, and if we wanted Skylark to have weekly systems tests, cleaning, and daily dock line checks, it’s towards the higher end. If you leave a boat unattended for extended periods, it will develop problems and begin to look rough, so proper care is essential. 

“Since we’ve been in Thailand, the overall costs per month have varied. We spend about 95% of our time on anchor, so our marina fees are minimal. We only go into marinas when we have maintenance work that is difficult to do at anchor. Some things in Thailand are affordable compared to other parts of the world, such as labor. However, boat parts cost a lot more since there are heavy import taxes. 

“With boating, you can have a month where you spend next to nothing; and other months, things are breaking left and right, or there are things you want to upgrade and change.

“If you’re willing to do some maintenance yourself at anchor rather than hiring a professional at a marina, it can save you a lot of money. I keep a detailed spreadsheet of the money we have spent, and after converting it into USD, our monthly expenditures (including food) ranged drastically from $1,500/month up to $15,000/month. We had the most expensive month in July when we installed solar panels and davits to our boat.

“We were out of the water for a couple of weeks, staying in a hotel, and working on various other tasks. Our ignition key malfunctioned, and a replacement from Volvo was about $300 – we also needed new membranes for our water maker, which was close to $1800 for parts and labor. We didn’t have anything break in October, and we had bad weather, which meant we cooked many meals onboard Skylark. We were able to spend little that month.

“Over the last year, we have learned a lot about the systems on Skylark and are becoming more and more comfortable doing most of the work ourselves. This is essential for going to remote locations where there are not mechanics readily available. We have also purchased many spare parts, so we don’t expect to have to buy much more over the next several months. When we get to the Maldives, we plan to eat on the boat a lot, so our food and beverage expenditure will go down significantly. During the COVID restaurant lockdowns, we saved a lot eating all our meals made with ingredients from the local shops. Now that everything is open, we have been enjoying all of the amazing restaurants and bars on offer.”

What has been the hardest part of adapting to life on Skylark? The easiest?

“The hardest part was not having air conditioning. We only have air conditioning while in the marina since we use power from the shore. At anchor, we would have to run the generator, so it’s just not practical. In April, it was super hot in Thailand, and we had many difficult nights of sleep! Now we are used to the heat and get cold when we use air conditioning. We recently made a trip up to Bangkok and Chiang Rai, and we were freezing in the hotel room! When it’s a hot evening on the boat, I try to remember how cold we were in Chiang Rai!!

“The easiest part is enjoying sundowners. We often anchor somewhere beautiful and have a nice sunset, so it’s perfect to complete the day with a cocktail. We enjoy swimming off the boat into beautiful waters and meeting lots of new friends. It’s easy to feel like we are on a full-time holiday, and try to reel ourselves in and make sure to eat healthy, exercise, and maintain the boat.”

Bonfire with friends on the beach at sunset in Thailand

Describe what it’s like dealing with visas, customs, and permits in Thailand. Was it a hassle?

“We have only completed one international voyage on Skylark, from Malaysia to Thailand, and it was very streamlined back in December/January. 

“For a while during the emergency COVID decree, pleasure crafts could not exit Thai waters without special approval from the skipper’s embassy, who then contacts several Thai government agencies for approval. There wasn’t really anywhere to go, so we decided it was best to stay in Thailand. We had two friends who ended up leaving and successfully going to Australia with their yacht, but the process was long. 

“Cruising in the near future will be more difficult with the restrictions in place. If COVID was not a factor, we would love to visit the Andaman Islands. However, we cannot do this. Thankfully the Maldives is open!

“We also want to visit Chagos in the British Indian Ocean Territory, but for a while, they closed the border due to COVID. Thankfully, we recently received an email stating they were accepting applications, but only three yachts are allowed in the territory at once. Luckily, we put in an application with our friend Paul, and we were both approved!!! They have strict insurance rules requiring coverage for environmental cleanup, wreck removal, and personal health evacuation. We are super excited that we got approved for four weeks next year and that we can experience a place that fewer people visit than summit Mount Everest.” 

Aerial view of a sailboat on turquoise blue water in Thailand

What has your provisioning strategy been to this point, and will that change once you set sail for new destinations?

“While in Thailand, we keep enough dry food to last us about a month, and we stock the fridge with fresh fruits, vegetables, and meat. We also keep a lot of food in the freezer.

“Since we won’t have access to markets during our upcoming journey to the Maldives, we just did a huge provision. I calculate we now have four to six months of food onboard. We’re mindful of expiration dates, so we don’t buy too much perishable food. There’s lots of meat in the freezer, and we bought tons of Thai products such as curry paste and larb seasoning. We’re going to miss the Thai food!!  We are still continually loading up the boat with more supplies.”

*Check out the link here to see how Jennifer and Chris prepared for their passage across the Indian Ocean to the Maldives.

Have you been fishing recently, or do you plan to fish for food when you are in more remote locations such as the Maldives?

“We have been trying, but in one year, we only caught two needlefish. We haven’t had much luck in Thailand, but we expect there to be more fish when we get offshore! There are many Tuna in the Maldives, so we are hoping to have more luck there. We stocked up on Japanese sushi rice, wasabi, soy sauce, and nori so that when the time comes, we can make sushi on board with fresh fish.

“When we were on a charter in Madagascar last year, we caught five large Wahoo! We prepared it in a bunch of different ways, including sashimi.”

Chris Likins holding needle-fish caught in Thailand

What books or other resources would you recommend for someone who is planning for cruising life?

“ Outsidewatch.com . Haha. Just kidding. We would recommend “The Voyager’s Handbook,” by Beth Leonard. It includes everything, from picking out the ideal boat for your taste and budget, to what it’s like cruising around the world.

“There’s a lot of good information in there, and it’s important to properly research the boat you want. If you end up with lemon, it will be expensive and difficult to sell.”

What are your cruising goals for the future?

“Our cruising goals are constantly changing! It’s been difficult to make plans with all of this uncertainty. We are currently planning to cross the Indian Ocean, with stops in the Maldives, Chagos (BIOT), Seychelles, Tanzania, Madagascar, and South Africa, but that can change quickly! Eventually, we want to end up in the Caribbean and then Europe. After that, we’ll see. We learned in 2020 not to make too many plans.”

Follow SV Skylark in real-time with the interactive map on their site.

Jennifer and Chris Likins walking down a dirt path near palm trees in Thailand

If life makes a shift toward normal over the next year, do you expect to give up the cruising life and go back to work as full-time airline pilots?

“We don’t plan to give up cruising life altogether. If we end up going back to work, we’ll find somewhere that gives us the flexibility to have stretches of days off to continue sailing. The plan is always changing, though, so who knows. Maybe we will be flying within six months again! Until then, we are going to try and enjoy boat life. We could be back at work before we know it.”

Chris and Jennifer Likins lay on a deserted white sand beach in Thailand

What are your favorite hobbies or pastimes to keep you busy when living on a sailboat?

“We keep busy with boat maintenance, cooking, reading, yoga, and planning our next adventures. I’m currently working on completing an online yoga instructor course. Chris and I did a lot of yoga at Keirita’s Yoga in Koh Lipe, and we want to be able to practice on the boat in beautiful locations. We’re also busy working on our vlog and blog for Outside Watch.”

Chris Likins grilling seafood on a sailboat in Malaysia

Do you scuba dive from your boat? 

“We dive from our boat, but we don’t have a compressor on board. We have four tanks that we fill onshore, and we own all of our other equipment. When we went diving in Koh Lipe from Skylark a few months ago, we saw Whale Sharks! It was incredible. We also dive when we clean the hull, which isn’t as glamorous, but it’s important to keep the bottom clean of marine growth so that our boat speed stays fast.”

Couple scuba diving from their dinghy in Thailand

After the first months living on Skylark, is there anything you wish the vessel had that it currently does not?

“We wish we had lithium batteries and a larger inverter – we nearly decided to switch to lithium, but the available batteries were expensive and not exactly what we wanted. We would have had to make some modifications to the boat, and we didn’t do enough research to commit to that. For now, we decided to stick to traditional AGM batteries. 

“With a bigger inverter, we could run more appliances without starting the generator, including our Nespresso machine. When our current batteries need replacing in a few years, we’ll be sure to research our options before making the switch.”

What would you like our readers to know about your journey, and what advice would you give to someone considering boat life?

“Sailing is a very rewarding pastime, and living on a boat has many advantages and disadvantages. It’s not all beaches, bikinis, and cocktails. There are lots of ups and downs, and it’s a lot of work. Maintaining a boat is basically a full-time job in itself, but anything worthwhile is worth hard work! We’re excited to finally be ready to go offshore with Skylark on this next adventure to the Maldives!” 

Friends standing at the bow of a sailboat in Thailand

Follow Jennifer and Chris on their adventures aboard SV Skylark at Outsidewatch.com, as well as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube:

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Enjoy reading about Jennifer and Chris? Join the #BoatLife community and find others who love living life around the water by posting in our community forum!

If you found this article helpful, please leave a comment below, share it on social media, and subscribe to our email list.

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Reader Interactions

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February 26, 2021 at 2:55 pm

Been watching your show on utube and love it, we looked last night for the next one and there wasn’t anymore to watch, you had just arrived in the Maldives 🇲🇻 and meet up with your friend that was sailing solo. My husband and I built a house on the ocean in Curacao 🇨🇼 and haven’t been able to get back there for a year, very heart broken. We use to fly there every 2 months. Hope that will change soon, if you sail there please stop buy, my husband is a diver and we have fantastic diving right in front of our house, he hunts lion fish super delicious.

living on a sailboat in thailand

April 23, 2021 at 6:38 am

Hi Dana, thanks for taking the time to read the interview! Jennifer and Chris are something else, huh!? Some of my colleagues had the chance to meet and spend some time with them when they were in Thailand during the COVID lockdowns. It’s been really great getting to know them through the interview and onward. I’ve checked back in with them a few times to see how they’re doing – it sounds like they are heading back to the Maldives soon to get back aboard Skylark!

If you enjoyed reading the article, we plan to do a follow-up interview with them at some point over the next couple of months to go over their journey in the Maldives. You should check back in from time to time to see if it’s been published – or better yet, subscribe to our email list and get updates every time we post new content!

Again, thanks for taking the time to read and comment on the post! We appreciate it.

All the best from us here at #BoatLife.

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  • A Guide To Sailing In...

A Guide to Sailing in Thailand

Known for fusion cuisine and turqoise coastline, Thailand is home to many amazing sailing experiences around its islands

Thailand ’s yacht-charter scene sets sail from the county’s largest island: Phuket . Pinch yourself – because the topaz waters in the surrounding Phang Nga Bay stay warm all year round. The best news? Thailand has over 1,400 other islands scattered across miles and miles of ocean – and only a handful are inhabited. The rest are the domain of macaque monkeys and Andaman parakeets. Make one of them your home from home as you sail around Thailand and its many islands.

See other coastal charms around the world by booking one of Culture Trip’s multi-day sailing adventures .

What to See and Do in Thailand

An aerial view of Similan Islands from a famous viewpoint in Phang Nga, Thailand

Coral Island – a short sail south of Phuket – does what it says on the tin. Anchor offshore beyond the reef for snorkels with nudibranchs and lionfish. Seeking solitude? Coral Island hosts just one rather fancy resort – after day-trippers return to Phuket, the island’s three beaches are all yours.

For the ultimate Treasure Island experience, anchor off the Similan Islands. The 11-island archipelago sits around 100km (62mi) northeast of Phuket and is protected within a national park. The islands are accessible from November until April, although sailing experience or a skipper is required to reach them. Scuba divers, bird watchers and beach bums will fall in love with the Similan Islands’ Caribbean allure. The action revolves around turtle snorkelling, cliff jumping and annoying the heck out of work friends on Instagram.

Food stands with typical local dishes, Chillva Market, Phuket, Thailand

Shop for far-out souvenirs in the warm night air at Phuket Old Town’s Chillva Night Market. The bazaar’s vibe is boho bling where you’ll find street eats, handmade jewellery, fried insects, silk textiles and cold beer, flogged from repurposed shipping containers.

The Best Mooring Locations in Thailand

A pool area in a luxury hotel in Phuket, Thailand

Royal Phuket Marina is by far the hottest yachting hub in Thailand. The harbour hosts restaurants, co-working spaces and regular regattas – plus scores of yachts from single-day explorers to 35m (114ft)-long superyachts. It’s little wonder the marina holds the prestigious 5 Gold Anchor Award from the Yacht Harbour Association. Need a mooring? Call VHF channel 79 or book one of the 100 berths online. As Phuket is the yacht-charter capital of Thailand, you’ll find dozens of tiny marinas, restaurant tie-up docks and yacht-friendly islets nearby – such as Ao Po Grand Marina, which leads directly onto the northern islands of Phang Nga Bay and the safe anchorage of Ao Chalong on Phuket’s southern tip.

Where to Eat and Drink in Thailand

A plate of Pad Thai noodles with seafood and nuts on the table in Thailand

Phuket sits at the cultural crossroads of Thailand. The island has welcomed Chinese, Malay, Portuguese and French influences – with each group imparting their recipes, too. Dishes are generally laden with seafood, pork and Thai spices. These include gaeng som , a sour tamarind curry with fish paste and o-aew , a thirst-quenching jelly dessert containing watermelon and shaved ice. Among the most polished addresses is seafood at the Trisara Resort. Expect a Michelin-rated medley of market-fresh amberjack paired with fresh greens from the restaurant’s organic garden – all elevated into time-honoured “Thai Mama” recipes. Rawai seafood market isn’t for the faint-hearted, however – point-and-order at thousands of bubbling aquarium tanks containing giant clams and tiger prawns. An adjoining restaurant will fry up your seafood purchase.

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Where to Get Groceries in Thailand

Villa Market near Royal Phuket Marina is where yachties shop for at-sea essentials and cocktail treats. Every international bite – from Bertolli olive oil to Alpen muesli – is readily available from 9am to 9pm.

Key Annual Sailing Events in Thailand

The King’s Cup Regatta – which takes place in Phuket each December – is the most prestigious in all of South East Asia. Count on up to 100 big boats competing in a week of fast sailing around the southerly islands of Phuket. These include Koh Lon – a secluded beachy gem where swings dangle from coconut trees.

Climate and Weather in Thailand

Gentle tides, warm winds and a sandy seabed render Phuket as Thailand’s year-round cruising destination – where the dry season from November to April is best for novice sailors. Northeasterly winds promise dry spells and gentle breezes, although sunny days become scorching by April. More serious sailors select the wetter season from May to October. Southwesterly monsoons usher up to Force 6 winds, with rainy squalls followed by intense heat. That said, there’s always safe sailing in Phang Nga Bay down to the Phi Phi Islands.

How to Get to Thailand

An aeroplane flies over Phuket Airport over the Mai Khao Beach in Thailand

Phuket airport is the intercontinental hub for the yacht charter scene in Thailand – with direct flights from Melbourne, Moscow, Manchester and Mumbai. The airport approach highlights the allure as jets descend over an aquamarine sea, then land just past the golden sands of Mai Khao Beach. Marina and yacht charter options are within an easy 20-30 minute drive away.

Did you know – Culture Trip now does bookable, small-group trips? Pick from authentic, immersive Epic Trips , compact and action-packed Mini Trips and sparkling, expansive Sailing Trips .

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips , led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

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15 Things That Change When You Live on a Catamaran

pin of view of sunset looking back off the bow of a catamaran

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catamaran anchored at sunset

So, the dream of living on a catamaran is starting to look like a reality. You hit the internet to read as much as you can about life aboard.

I get it. For one, I was going to be ready for this big adventure and all the challenges that come with it. There was no way I was going to be caught unprepared. (Yeah… right.)

Preparing for the Live Aboard Lifestyle

When we moved on our sailboat, I quickly learned you have to experience this lifestyle to understand the challenges.

It’s been almost two years of living full-time on our catamaran. So, I decided to look at the day-to-day things that are different from our habits in land-based life.

Many things we didn’t think twice about have a massive impact on our lives on the boat. Things like water conservation, provisioning, cooking, cleaning, and adjusting to a small space all take time and energy.

Here are some of the big changes to everyday habits that we discovered living on a sailing catamaran.

1. Laundry on a Boat

A few years back, I was one of those people who threw most things in the hamper after one wear. It was just easy.

Unless you have the convenience of a washing machine onboard, it’s not so simple to run a load of laundry.

Laundry hanging to dry on the sailboat lifelines

It costs money, and it can take a lot of time to haul your clothes around. Alternatively, handwashing is time-consuming, labor-intensive, and hard on your water usage.

To minimize laundry, you have to think about what you wear and how you wear it.

Summer Washing

In the summer, you can get sweaty just sitting on the boat.

I learned to wear quick-dry items like leggings, swimsuits, and UPF tops I could easily handwash with a small amount of water. If you can stretch the life of your outer clothing, you can clean undergarments and swimsuits in a small collapsible tub.

Winter Washing

Re-wearing clothes in the cooler months is much more comfortable than in the summer months. If it’s not dirty, I don’t wash it. If clothes smell or I’ve been doing boat work, I move them to the dirty pile. Just paying attention to these details reduces laundry. And the less you wash your clothes, the longer they’ll last.

2. Cooking Aboard

There are a few aspects of living on a boat that heavily influence your cooking.

Space. Access to ingredients. Water conservation. Ventilation.

Bowls of Thai green curry on galley dinner table

If you only have a small area to prep, you learn quickly to do it in stages. Prepping vegetables, putting ingredients away as you work, and washing dishes as you go is also essential.

Access to Ingredients

Before boat life, recipes were iron-clad when I was cooking. But without the convenience of running to the store, they’ve become more of a guideline. You learn how to adjust recipes based on what you have on hand. You get comfortable substituting vegetables, different spices, and acidity for flavor.

Water Conservation

When off the dock, fresh water is at a premium. How much water you carry (or make) will dictate how you cook.

We do a few things to conserve water in the kitchen . Wash dishes in saltwater first. Use an Aquabot for pressurized cleaning. Cook pasta with a small amount of water. I’ve also embraced one-pot meals to save water on cleanup.


Our catamaran is “galley up,” so it’s easy to open the cockpit window above the stove to release heat and steam. But that’s not always enough.

We use the thermal cooker in the summer to avoid heating up the boat. You can make beans, rice, broth – even casseroles or banana bread without expelling heat in the boat.

READ NEXT: For more tips and ideas for cooking on a boat, check out our lists of easy and versatile meals on a boat and sailboat galley essentials .

3.  water usage.

When off the dock, water is a high commodity on a boat.

Water being poured from a filtered pitcher to a cup

Even with two 80-gallon tanks, water can go fast if you aren’t paying attention.

You can minimize water through small changes to your habits, including:

  • cooking pasta with a few cups of water
  • swapping soap for hand sanitizer
  • rinsing dishes on the sugar scoop
  • we even recycle the cat’s stale water in the herb garden

Me, I love hot showers. Just steaming for like 30 minutes, that’s my kind of heaven. So learning to shower with less than a couple of gallons of water was a big hurdle.

Conserving water can be a challenge, but you’ll be surprised what you can save when you use it thoughtfully.

We had days in the winter when we used less than 5 gallons. It just takes a little practice, as with most things on a boat.

READ NEXT: For more tips on conserving water, check out our guide to saving water on a boat .

4. sustainable practices.

When you live in a small space, you realize how many disposable items you are harboring.

When we first moved on the boat, the paper towel storage alone took up half a cabin.

Not only are you losing storage, but those disposable items are just that, future trash for you to deal with.

Ditching paper towels, plastic bags, and other single-use items saves space and money. As a bonus, you get to feel optimistic about creating less trash.

Beeswax wrap covering a bowl on the boat galley countertop

Here are a few sustainable options we switched to:

  • Reusable “Unpaper” towels
  • Cotton napkins
  • E-Cloths, microfiber towels
  • Beeswax wraps
  • Foldable reusable bags
  • Glass straws
  • A quality set of plastic containers in various sizes

READ NEXT: Zero Waste Swaps for Small Spaces for more eco-friendly options.

5. fridge space.

The residential fridge. Something I took for granted as a landlubber. A fridge door full of condiments, anyone?

Managing food in a tiny fridge requires strategy and a little education.

Learning what you NEED to keep in the fridge is helpful. Sure, it’s nice to have cold ketchup, but necessary? No.

Sriracha, soy sauce, hot sauce, mustard – out you go.

We also switched to almond milk and tofu brands that only need refrigeration after opening. This way, we can still stock up without loss of fridge space.

The Right Storage

Once the condiment bottles are out, having the right storage makes all the difference.

containers organized in small boat fridge

Containers need to be the right size to fit inside shelves on the door and inside the fridge. You want various sizes, so you don’t need to use a huge container if you have a smidgen of something.

Prepping Vegetables

You can save more space by chopping fresh veggies when you get back from the store. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and hardy greens can all be prepped ahead. I store any scraps in the freezer for homemade vegetable broth .

6. Provisioning

Keeping track of your grocery store when you live on a boat is crucial. You probably won’t be able to run back to the store because you forgot the butter.

Stocking Up

One of the nice benefits of living on a catamaran is the space.

We tend to stock up on these when we can.

  • Beans (dried and canned)
  • Grains, pasta, oats
  • Canned and dehydrated vegetables
  • Baking goods and almond milk
  • Oils, vinegars, spices, nuts, seeds
  • Wine and beer

Salsa, canned goods, and other provisions at the grocery store checkout

Most of the time, we are hand-carrying our groceries. So when we have the opportunity to have a car, we load up on heavy items.

When we plan to be at a marina, we have a list ready for Amazon and Walmart.com to have shipped.

READ NEXT: Get a detailed overview of stocking your boat in our Practical Guide to Sailboat Provisioning .

Supplementing fresh food.

We keep a variety of veggies on hand: dehydrated, canned, a little frozen, and fresh. When cooking, I use a little bit of everything to stretch fresh foods.

We have a nice space in the cockpit where we keep potted fresh herbs. They can really step up a dish!

Basil and other herbs growing in the cockpit

As a bonus, they add to the coziness of the cockpit living space.

7.  Downsizing Your Closet

Before I started to plan for boat life, I had a giant wardrobe. I love clothes. And I had been collecting them most of my life.

Believe me, when I tell you cutting my wardrobe down to less than 100 items was a long, emotional process.

A Minimalist Wardrobe

The less you have, the less you need to care for.

Aim for a wardrobe of pieces you love that work for living on the water. It’ll be easy to get dressed, and you’ll be happy in your clothes. And if you are managing your laundry (see #1), you won’t need many clothes.

Hanging storage and clothing baskets inside wardrobe locker

The owners’ version of our catamaran has great storage. I can easily see all the clothing in my wardrobe. I only need to store a few off-season items under our berth.

READ NEXT: For what type of clothing to have on your sailboat, see What to Wear Sailing . Or see How to Downsize Your Wardrobe for more on getting rid of clothing.

8. temperature control.

Spoiler: you don’t have much control of temperature at anchor. And what power you have isn’t as easy as turning the dial on the thermostat.

On a catamaran, you can pretty much open up the doors and hatches on the bridgedeck and get a cross-breeze on a hot day.

I was surprised that Georgia in August (as miserable as it was during the day) was never unbearable at night. We used Breeze Boosters over our cabin, and it worked wonders moving the air around at anchor.

Breeze Booster setup on catamaran deck

Cold Nights

When it’s cold on a catamaran, you know it. There’s no insulation, and the boat cools down quickly. Below 40 at night is chilly.

Fortunately, if the sun is shining, it can heat the bridgedeck nicely in the morning.

Down blankets, the right clothing, and foul-weather gear will keep you from becoming an icicle.

9. Storing Things

On a boat, you can’t just throw your things in a locker and forget them. Nope.

You’ll need to plan when storing clothing, personal items, and food.

Mold, leaks, and bugs are all things to be concerned with.

Essential oils, bay leaves, vinegar, and plastic bags will be vital to protecting your items.

"Vinegar, mold control spray, bay leaves, and essential oils

You’ll also need to think about where you store things and how accessible they are. It becomes a bit of a puzzle to make sure you keep items you often use in an easy-to-access location.

READ NEXT: For storage tips, check out Helpful Boat Storage Ideas for Liveaboards .

10. slowing down.

A big part of living happily on a boat is moving at your own pace.

Silhouette of crew member looking at sunset view from a catamaran

It is being in the mindset of appreciating what you are doing now and not continually looking to the next move.

When we first moved aboard, there was self-imposed pressure we should be moving faster – doing more.

When we finally slowed down and started to embrace the here and now, we enjoyed the boat so much more.

11. Your “House” Breaks (A Lot)

When things go wrong on a boat, they tend to go really wrong.

"Funny photo of feline crew of SV Sunnyside with sailing lines draped over his head

A pro and con of catamarans is there are a lot of duplicates. It’s great to have a backup, but it also means double the maintenance. Two hulls, two engines, two heads… you get the picture.

On the plus side, when our starboard engine broke, we were trying to maneuver through a bridge. We had to turn 260 degrees to turn toward the bridge, but one engine is better than none!

The hardest thing in these moments is keeping your head when everything is against you.

We try to slow down and take a breath if the situation allows. Once any immediate concern is taken care of, we take a breath before diving into solving the greater issue.

12. You Learn to Live Intentionally

Our decision to move on a sailboat was for the rewards of the lifestyle.

One of the most significant rewards is being intentional with space, time, and money.

Living on a boat offers freedom from your stuff. It allows you to live more simply.

On the boat, we get to spend more time with each other. We only have what we need because space is limited.

Crew members of SV Sunnyside on the bow of the boat

Don’t get me wrong. A boat requires time and money. But we are intentional about how we spend those when maintaining our floating home.

READ NEXT: Our article on the cost of living on a sailboat breaks down expenses by category.

13. appreciation for nature.

Living in the Colorado Rockies for over a decade, it was easy to love the outdoors. But living on the water creates a deeper connection.

Wild horse and large water bird wading through the water alongside an anchorage in Beaufort, North Carolina

You wake up to the water lapping on the boat. The sun dances off the waves, throwing reflections across the cabin.

Walking outside at anchor and seeing the birds hunting for breakfast is a morning routine. And a sea turtle drifting by for a visit is not uncommon. Even relying on the sun for power and the wind to travel is part of the lifestyle.

All these experiences bring you closer to nature and beg you to slow down, breathe, and take it in.

14. Personal Space

It doesn’t matter how much you love your significant other. If you live on a boat together, you will be looking for some “me time.”

When you sleep, eat, shop, travel, and take care of a boat as a team, that’s a lot of togetherness.

How We Find Space

It’s nice to create spaces for personal time in a small space like a boat.

A big plus of a catamaran is you can create a few separate spaces.

We have four main spaces where we spend time: the cockpit, the trampoline, the salon, and the owners’ berth. Ensuring these areas are comfortable and cozy helps us find our own spaces in a tiny floating home.

Crew member sitting in the cockpit viewing a sunset at ancho

Sometimes, it’s not about physical space but mental space.

I like to have personal time while I’m cooking. It’s something I enjoy, and I can put on my headphones with a show or playlist and tune in while I cook.

Even a quick solo kayak adventure is rejuvenating if we are in a nice anchorage.

15. Minimalism

Embracing minimalism was a change we made going into boat life. But it’s not the typical view of minimalism that has become trendy these days.

simple view of blue water and sand dunes

Minimalist Lifestyle on a Boat

The typical “rules” of minimalism aren’t as clear-cut on a boat.

We have a lot of extras when it comes to spare parts and tools. Some parts can be hard to come by, and with two engines, you need double the spares. Not to mention, things never break when there’s a West Marine around the corner.

We also have a lot of non-perishable food and duplicate personal care items. It’s easier to stock up when we have the opportunity. This process keeps our routine shopping to mostly fresh items.

How We Live Minimally

On the flip slide, we don’t have a lot of extra stuff – extra clothes, additional personal items, disposable items.

We don’t have more typical things you would find in a house, such as a dishwasher, microwave, or washer/dryer. We are minimalists with water and power when we’re off the dock. 

We aren’t the typical minimalists, but we use space intentionally. And we continue to evaluate our needs based on this lifestyle.

READ NEXT: Check out our full guide on ways to downsize and live minimally .

Can you live on a catamaran.

After a year as liveaboards, many of your daily habits will change. We are still adjusting and finding the best ways to adapt to life on a sailing catamaran.

Red sunset from the dock

You lose many conveniences of the modern world, but it’s entirely possible to live without them. It comes down to deciding which comforts are important to you.

How you use space, time and money will shift. You’ll learn to be sustainable, thoughtful, and more self-sufficient.

Living on a boat is a unique experience. No matter how long you do it, it has the power to change the way you live in the future for the better.

Want to learn more about cruising on a boat?

For more on the reality of boat life, the cost of living aboard, and tips for life on the water, view our complete guide.

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pin of view of sunset looking back off the bow of a catamaran

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5 Unexpected Benefits of Living on a Catamaran

Morgan, the founder of The Home That Roams, has been living nomadically for over five years. She began her journey traveling across the U.S. in a motorhome and cruising on a liveaboard sailing catamaran. Currently, she lives full-time in a travel trailer, sharing resources on RV living and boat life to help others downsize their lives and thrive in an alternative lifestyle.


That’s really great post. I appreciate, Thanks for sharing.

Glad you liked the post!

So glad I found this site, looking forward to exploring the rest of it! But here’s my first question, as someone who’s still in the "dreaming" stage: This article tells me that the most basic aspects of day-to-day living are a constant source of concern and effort. Yet there are yachts nicer than most five-star hotels. So what’s the price point (or size point, or whatever point) where your daily concerns don’t revolve around things like do we have enough water to cook dinner and how bad do my clothes really smell? Does frequent marina access solve these issues? Is there a way to live on a boat where it’s easy, or does that only happen in Jimmy Buffett’s songs?

Hi Frank and Lola, thanks for stopping by and asking some great questions! Generally, the number of conveniences onboard a boat directly correlates with the time and dollars needed to have those conveniences. So when you think of the hotel like yachts, also think about the captain and crew and resources it takes to keep them running. It’s the same with smaller yachts. Even when you have the systems, you still have to manage your power or resources to run the watermaker or watch the weather and route plan to get to the marina. This is one reason a lot of boaters opt for fewer systems.

I had to laugh in agreement at your Jimmy Buffett reference – I think Jimmy must be doing a lot of day boating, haha. I personally feel that if you had around a 45-foot cat and a big budget to outfit it, you could have a lot of modern conveniences (watermaker, large solar setup, washing machine, etc.) However, living on a boat is never going to be easy IMHO. You have to put in the effort to live on the water!

I hope this was helpful and didn’t discourage you. My goal is to provide a realistic view of the lifestyle!

Agree. Especially #11. We live on a monohull so only have one head to contend with. Also whatever the purchase price, expect to spend 10% a year maintaining said boat. Things break at the most inconvenient times and improvisation is absolutely key.

Hi Breanna, #11 is definitely a big one! And of course, the head is always interesting. The first time we had a real maintenance issue with the head I posted on Instagram and announced my husband and I’s relationship had officially made it through our first serious head malfunction, haha. As you mentioned, Improvisation is also so crucial! We tend to get pretty creative with solutions 🙂

What entertainment do you use on a long haul, such as books, cards, chess. How do you plan the nights such as sleeping or on watch. Do you use automatic steering.

Hi Stephen, we like Audible for downloading books, I also like to download podcasts. We also use an external drive for movies. We do have and use an autopilot onboard. We don’t have experience with long passages, but The Boat Galley has what I think is a great article on the subject, you can find it here! https://theboatgalley.com/passagemaking-and-sleep/

Thanks for such an informative post. We’re in the process of buying a 42ft catamaran and plan on sailing up the east coast of Australia next year…scary and exciting!

I see that in some of you photos you have a gorgeous looking cat 😊 I’m planning on taking our 6 year old cat with us on the trip. Do you have any tips and advice on how to make life more comfortable and safe for a cat onboard and how to get them acclimatised to boat life?

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks, Dee

Hey Dee, this is so exciting! I’m sure there’s lots of planning and preparation in your future but in a good way 🙂

I have a post about sailing with cats that you can find here – https://thehomethatroams.com/blog/cat-on-a-boat/

But in general, I would say to take it slow and keep a close eye on them in the transition period while they’re testing their limits. Our cat is good at finding any open compartments, so when you’re working on things or storing things, make sure they don’t slip in! You will probably want to use a life jacket in the beginning at anchor, as well as keep a good eye on them until they become more comfortable. The top of the bridgedeck seems to be a favorite spot for cats since they can see so much from up there!

Best of luck on your new adventure! – Morgan

Wow. Thanks for sharing your experience. Unfortunately, not all people experience that, so we must enjoy every second. Nice post!

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living on a sailboat in thailand


My Cruiser Life Magazine

Living On a Boat Full Time — What to Consider Before Living Aboard

Let’s talk about real-life boat ownership and living on a boat full time. My wife and I have lived on our boat for nearly eight years, doing everything from full-time living on a boat in a marina to cruising The Islands of The Bahamas for months.

For starters, everything you’ve ever wondered about living on a boat probably doesn’t scratch the surface of everything you’ll learn. This lifestyle isn’t for everyone; for every wonderful day on the water, there’s a stressful situation or broken boat part.

So what does living on a boat full time look like? Here’s a glimpse into the world of the liveaboard. 

living on a boat full time

Table of Contents

Should i live on a boat absolutely yes, here’s why (pros of living on a boat), never, in a million years, should anyone ever live on a boat (cons of living on a boat), there’s more than one way to live on a boat, there’s a steep learning curve, it’s kind of like camping, constant maintenance and cleaning, weather drama, the legalities of the live aboard life, cost of living on a boat, paths to moving aboard, living on a boat full time faqs, what are the pros and cons of living on a boat.

It is often said that there’s a wide gap between the romantic vision that many people have of the liveaboard lifestyle and the nitty-gritty reality.

Here are the pros and cons of living on a boat full time, taken from our personal experiences.

Living on a boat is sometimes even better than your most romantic vision. Dolphins frolicking while the sunsets, tropical drinks in your hands, and nothing but crystal clear water between you and the most spectacular island beach you’ve ever seen. Yes, that all happens, sometimes.

  • Freedom to go where you want, when you want
  • Travel as much or as little as you want
  • Take your house with you as you move
  • Changing scenery, waterfront property where ever you go
  • Wildlife visits—seals, whales, dolphins, birds
  • A friendly community of other boaters
  • Learn to live more simply, with only the necessities

Everyone has good days and bad days. We’ve often described boat life as having high highs but very low lows. The peaks and valleys of boat life (crests and troughs?) are just much farther from baseline-normal.

For every dolphin, there is a broken toilet joker valve leaking sewage onto the bathroom floor. 

For every idyllic island beach, there is a fouled diesel filter that needs changing. 

For every smooth downwind passage, there is a sloshy, windless mess of flapping sails making everyone on board seasick.

The list could go on and on and on.

  • Constant maintenance and cleaning
  • Difficulty finding skilled, professional labor 
  • Small spaces, no storage, no privacy
  • No dishwashers, washing machines, dryers (usually)
  • Away from docks, you always have limited power and water
  • Constant exposure to the weather
  • Tax and insurance issues

Common Issues with Moving Onto a Boat

Here are some of the biggest issues we have noticed from our experiences and those around us. While everyone’s experience of living on a boat full time differs, everyone seems to have similar issues.

First, it has to be said that everyone’s experience is different. And that’s most obvious by looking at what sort of boat they choose and where they choose to live on it.

Many books have been written on the subject, and most like to divide boaters into three groups based on their budgets. There are the high-lifers who can afford to buy a new or newish boat that is large and comfortable. They can afford to live at a resort marina and likely hire professionals for most maintenance and cleaning tasks. They likely spend most of their time in marinas if they travel far. 

Then there are the Goldilocks boaters—not too big, not too small—making up the “middle class” of boating. There’s a healthy mix of DIY projecting with some professional help on the big projects. They might liveaboard at a marina or travel full-time. They might live at docks, anchor, or a mix. 

And then there are the budget boaters. Cheap boats are easy to come by if you’re willing to use DIY labor to fix them up. They are most likely to anchor out to minimize costs. 

All these people live very different lives on their boats, but does it matter? The costs are astronomically different, but they could be visiting the same ports, seeing the same sights, and even sharing the same experiences. 

What’s most amazing is how everyone perceives their liveaboard situation. I’ve been to dock parties where couples on 60′ catamarans complain that they have no personal space and must take a break from being on the boat together after a few months. Meanwhile, I know a family of five (plus two dogs) that live on a 40′ monohull with less than 1/3 the space of the catamaran. They have issues, but they’re pretty happy five years later. 

(Speaking of catamarans, check out my recommendations for liveaboard catamaran options.)

Living on a Boat

Year one of boating is the worst. There’s so much to learn; it’s all new and different than anything you’ve done before. There are all the sailing terms you must learn, but there are also boat maintenance tasks and understanding how all the systems on your boat work. Then there are the basics of seamanship and how to operate your vessel safely. It is a lot to take in.

And the basics of living on a boat are different from land life. Your kitchen (galley) is much smaller. The toilet doesn’t flush like a regular land toilet. You’re always thinking about minimizing water use when showering or doing dishes. If you turn too many electrical items on, circuit breakers pop. The list goes on and on, and when you’re new, it’s stressful.

Once you’ve got the kinks worked out, learned your boat systems, and successfully traveled and lived on your boat for a while, things get much better. You know more, your boat is set up the way you need it, and you have the confidence to start enjoying yourself. Some people take a few months, some a year, and, unfortunately, some never get there. 

Boats are small spaces, but the truth is that living on a boat is more like camping than most boaters like to admit. You get by with only a few items in your wardrobe. You skip showers since you don’t always have hot water. You don’t have space for all the luxuries of home. No dishwasher. No washing machine. Everyone is occasionally uncomfortable onboard, whether from the weather or the cramped quarters.

Boats are also hard on relationships. While there’s something romantic about being cozy and alone together at sea, it isn’t so romantic on day five, or thirty, or sixty. Personal space is non-existent on most boats. It’s inevitable that your significant other—or anyone else—will drive you nuts after some time. Boats have ended more than one marriage that we know of. 

The cramped living space on a boat poses other problems, too. Downsizing is important because you simply can’t bring it all with you—there’s no storage space. What is important, what’s nice to have, and what will you use on a boat? Living on a boat forces you to live with the minimum and acknowledge what you need to survive. 

Living on a sailboat is, of course, drastically different than living on a luxury yacht. But all these problems seem relative, and no matter what size your boat is, everyone has the same complaints.

Boats are always trying to sink and fall apart. The ocean helps them with its corrosive saltwater and constant motion. The only thing keeping it afloat? You, the lowly and unprepared new boat owner. Yikes!

 Even if you have mechanics and boatyard workers do most of the big projects for you, there’s still a ton that you’ll wind up doing on your own. Just day-to-day cleaning on a boat is a big deal. Everything is more difficult and takes longer than it does on a house. 

Somehow, boats seem to get dirtier faster than houses do. From polishing the hull, shining the stainless, varnishing the teak, and scrubbing the scum line to everyday things like dishes, sweeping the floors, and cleaning the bathroom, boats are dirty, and it takes time to keep them clean.

boat maintenance

The weather plays a bigger part in your life than you’ll even imagine. Most of us pay remarkably little attention to the weather when we’re on land. If it’s hot, we might just minimize our time away from air conditioning. If it’s raining, it’s a minor inconvenience. We never think about the wind or tides.

But everything on a boat revolves around the weather. Every day we look at the weather for the upcoming week. Forecasts are often inaccurate, so we expect it to change. But what should we be ready for? When cruising, we often track weather systems over a week away and start planning. 

This week, it says we might get gusts to 52 knots (!!!) from the southwest with heavy rain and thunderstorms. We’re anchored and away from the dock. Will our anchorage be protected from winds like that? Is the holding good here, or is there a safer place we should move to? Should we think about moving there early in case it fills up with boats? 

We go through this exercise every week or two, no matter where we are. When approaching an anchorage, it’s all about the wind direction, tide level, and whatever else is happening. Are we okay with being stuck here for a few days if it’s foggy? A week? What if we need south winds to reach our next destination, but the forecast only has east winds? Do we wait or change our destination? 

The amount of attention it takes and the flexibility of your schedule is mind-boggling to most landlubbers. When friends want to visit us, we tell them we can meet them in a specific place or at a specific time, but not both. If you want us to meet you, you’ve got to be flexible too!

What do you legally need to do to live on a boat full time? Most people’s home or apartment is their legal residence and domicile. It’s listed on their driver’s license, and it’s where they vote and pay taxes. 

How will all these issues play out when you move onto a boat that moves around? There are mail forwarding services that allow you to set up residency. We use St. Brendan’s Isle in Florida since we were already Floridians, but there are also similar services in other states. This at least gives you the ability to have a driver’s license and vote. 

Taxes are a little more complicated. You can register the boat at your address in Florida, but each US state collects its own use tax. If you use your boat in their state for over a few months, they want to tax it. It’s not a problem if you move around, but what if you want to leave your boat in New York for the summer? Then you might have to register it there and pay taxes. 

Additionally, many counties in the US collect personal property tax on boats. We know of several places where if you are in the county on January 1 st , you’ll owe the county property tax. If you were one county away where the tax happens to be zero, you would owe nothing. Tricky!

Recreational boat insurance is another matter of concern. It used to be fairly easy to insure a boat, especially a cheap old boat. If you have a homeowner’s policy, you can easily add the boat. But if you’re a liveaboard with no real land address, getting insurance is becoming a problem. If the boat is too old, you’re traveling to distant ports, or the boat is very large, and you’re first time boat owners, it can be hard to find an underwriter. 

Do you even need insurance? Many marinas and boatyards now require it. Gone are the days when you could sail the world and “self-insure.” But, honestly, those days never really existed. If your uninsured $5,000 sailboat drags anchor and puts a gash in a $5 million yacht, a serious legal headache will follow. Many owners of older vessels keep “liability-only” insurance, but even this is getting less affordable and hard to come by.

Many folks who want to try boat life are understandably curious about the average cost of owning and buying a liveaboard sailboat . Is it cheaper to live on a boat than a house? That’s a tough question to answer. For one thing, people’s expectations and their needs for comfort and security vary widely.

Both houses and boats can be found for about the same amount. If you’re in the market for a $250,000 house, you could find a nice boat for that amount. It would, of course, be much smaller and—unlike the house—be a terrible investment. So while you might be able to get a loan for a house (which makes excellent collateral for the bank), getting a loan for a boat would require a bigger risk on the part of the bank and therefore cost you a lot more.

On the cheaper end, you could find a fixer-upper boat on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace for far less than a neglected house. A house will always have some value based on the land, whereas a boat can become valueless. It’s not uncommon to hear of people getting free boats abandoned in boatyards, making ridiculously low offers on neglected vessels, and getting large boats for a few thousand dollars. People are always wondering how to get rid of an old boat .

These fixer-uppers have their own stories, of course. Many YouTube channels are dedicated to the cheap boat fix-up scheme. Project boats can be wallet-shrinking and soul-sucking. Taking on a project is a good way to lose a lot of money, along with years of your life and any interest you ever had in boating. Project boats are not for most people.

Both boats and houses have taxes and insurance, so those costs are probably very similar. Tax laws vary by state and county. In some places, you won’t have to pay any tax on your boat except for the initial sales tax at the time of purchase. You will have to pay an annual personal property tax in other locales.

You’ll also have to pay for boat parking . Marina, mooring ball, or in the boatyard—all will come with a monthly bill. The house or apartment will not have storage fees, so there’s no equivalent here. But, if you bought a cheap boat for cash and are only paying monthly liveaboard slip fees, this might be less than a mortgage payment would be.

If you’re traveling and anchoring, you can generally do that for free. However, most cruisers spend a few nights a month at marinas. That averages about the same amount they’d pay for monthly dockage since nightly transient rates are high.

Both boats and houses have maintenance and upkeep expenses, but boats generally have more. It’s generally estimated that you should budget ten percent of the boat’s purchase price for annual maintenance. If you bought a $50,000 boat, this would be $5,000 yearly. That holds for most boats, but year one will be higher as you fix neglected items and make your upgrades.

cost of living on a boat

From our experience, we’ve seen people take two paths towards the liveaboard life.

  • Some folks own their boat and use it for weekends or a week’s vacation here and there. They move aboard full-time as they transition to retirement, a work sabbatical, or remote work. Since it’s a gradual transition, these folks generally know what to expect. 
  • Then there are the folks who go all in—they know nothing about sailing or boats and sell it all and move aboard. For them, it’s a jump into icy cold water or learning a new language by moving abroad. 

Which group is more successful? Group One generally knows what to expect, has worked out the kinks in their boat, and has already tackled the learning curve. There’s still a lot to take in, but they’re generally less stressed by it. If you can spend some time on your boat enjoying boating before moving onboard, it’s generally a good thing.

But, either way, being a full-time liveaboard is not a long-term lifestyle for most people. People who start from both groups seem to last an average of about one and a half to three years. After that, they’re ready to either sell the boat and move on or buy an RV or vacation land home that allows them to divide their time between boating and something else. People who last more than three years with only a boat are a very small minority.

One parting thought: Living on a boat full time and traveling is like having three or four full-time jobs. Each requires 30-40 hours per week when you include labor, research, and thinking and planning. 

  • Boat ownership — basic maintenance and cleaning
  • Cruising full-time — destination and route planning, weather study
  • Living aboard — cooking, cleaning, shopping, and everything else takes so much longer on a boat than in a house
  • Your actual job — if you work aboard

How much does it cost to live full time on a yacht?

A lot depends on the size of the yacht. A small sailboat can be found fairly cheaply. For around $50,000US, you can get an older 35-foot sailboat in decent condition and move aboard with few problems. The biggest issue is finding a marina that allows live-aboard boaters. Slip fees will be your biggest expense and can be as high as $1,500 monthly in some areas. However, you can get monthly slips for as little as $300 in other places. 

How to stay organized on a sailboat?

Sailboats have small spaces and not much storage, so keeping organized is key. The first step is to downsize your possessions to the bare minimum—only take what you absolutely need. The less you have, the easier your life aboard will be. 

After that, it’s a matter of packing the boat so that everything has its place. Some boaters like to keep a spreadsheet of where they’ve packed everything away so they can find it quickly. 

Is it cheaper to live in an RV or a boat?

Both of these activities are very dependent on location. Purchasing either one is very similar in cost. RV parks and marinas charge similar prices, but the cost varies depending on the location and services. In the end, however, moving an RV somewhere cheaper is easier and quicker, so you can live somewhere cheaply more easily. 

living on a sailboat in thailand

Matt has been boating around Florida for over 25 years in everything from small powerboats to large cruising catamarans. He currently lives aboard a 38-foot Cabo Rico sailboat with his wife Lucy and adventure dog Chelsea. Together, they cruise between winters in The Bahamas and summers in the Chesapeake Bay.

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living on a sailboat in thailand

living on a sailboat in thailand

Living on Koh Samui: An Expat’s Guide to Moving to the Island

Most people who visit Koh Samui fall for its charm. I certainly did, so much so that I moved to the island and lived there for over a year.

Some argue that due to development Samui has lost the island authenticity it had 20-30 years ago. But that's life…nothing remains the same. And for those discovering the island for the first time today, their experience is no doubt akin to mine all those years ago.

Yes Samui (เกาะสมุย) now has malls, yes it has lots of luxury hotels and condominiums, but it also has an abundance of natural beauty: fantastic beaches, beautiful ocean views, lots of local markets and community activities, and a perpetual air of freedom about the place that has never left my thoughts.

The thing is, spending a holiday somewhere is very different to living there full time; though I'd caveat that statement by saying that I always partly felt like was on holiday in Samui. I think living by the beach has that effect on you.

But yes, living there means doing your own shopping, getting your laundry done, staying home a lot during rainy season, budgeting expenses, etc., and, as with living anywhere in the world, there will be good and bad days.

Before we look at specific areas, let's jump into some considerations when planning your move.


Samui from afar.

Living on Koh Samui: Initial Considerations:

Whether you've visited once or twice, or you're considering a relocation, here's a few important things to think about as you start your research:

1. Location

When you're on holiday you're out every night in bars, restaurants, clubs, etc., so it makes sense to stay in a hotel that's close to the action, in this case Chaweng, the island's main town.

Most expats, however, choose to stay outside of Chaweng, away from the tourist strip.

The primary reason for this is to have the option of getting away from the touristy vibe. There will be nights where you don't want to go out of an evening, and days when you just don't want to be part of the tourist trap.

This will be your home. You don't want to hear boozed up holiday makers and loud motorbike exhaust pipes outside your window at 2am every night as they return from Sweet Soul (a club on the Green Mango).

Moreover, living in a party zone kinda takes the novelty out of partying. I found that living a few km away made going out for a night in Chaweng a little more special than having it right on my doorstep. The whole ride down to the town was part of the ritual.

Furthermore, living closer to the center, where the main beach and nightlife is, will mean higher rental costs – certainly for more modern condos.

That being said, perhaps you don't like riding a moped and won't have a car. So if you're on foot or prefer a bicycle, you will want to choose an area that is walkable to a beach, to the shops, and to some restaurants and bars.

You can always get a taxi into Chaweng or Lamai if you need to, though it's a fixed rate on the islands (no meters), which does add up to be quite an expense if taking taxis on a regular basis.

While you don't want to be right on top of a tourist hotspot, you don't want to too far away from a supermarket or large store.

Fortunately, on Koh Samui you're never more than a km from a 7-Eleven, so running out of everyday household goods won't be a problem.

The island has plenty of supermarket options, including Big C, Tesco Lotus (more than one), Topps, and a Makro.

If you have kids, then they will need an education. Expats who have Thai children (mixed or full) will have access to the Thai education system, but if you can afford it you will want to educate privately.

Samui has a a fair choice of international / bilingual schools . Here's a few for you:

  • Samui Tiny Steps Nursery & Preschool in Bophut
  • The International School of Samui (ISS) – in Chaweng
  • Lamai International School
  • Panyadee British International School – in Chaweng Noi
  • Oonrak Bilingual School – in Mae Nam

Expect to pay upwards of £1,000 per term.


Living the good life on Chaweng Beach

4. Hospitals

Koh Samui has 4 main international hospitals. so wherever you stay you won't be too far from a hospital offering a good standard of care.

  • Bangkok Hospital (on the ring-road in Chaweng, before Chaweng Noi)
  • Bandon Hospital (near Big C Shopping Centre)
  • Samui International Hospital (northern end of Chaweng Beach Road)
  • Thai International Hospital (Opposite Tesco Lotus, Chaweng)

Most people arrive to Thailand with travel insurance that covers them for a limited period only.

Please consider that you'll need health insurance if you plan on living in Thailand long term. While cheaper than the West, International hospital bills can be high if you need specialist in-patient treatment.

You can get international health insurance that will cover you in Thailand, back home and in other countries.

+ Get a quote here

Or you can get a domestic insurance that will cover you in Thailand.

5. Road Quality & Driving

Despite a lot of development in the past two decades there are still a lot of awkward roads that aren't pleasant to navigate on a moped, which is what most people get about on.

So when viewing accommodation consider your route home from town and how easy it will be during the rainy season and in the dark. Some roads are more prone to flooding than others, and some can be a little dodgy to ride on late at night after a couple of tins.

I'll take this opportunity to remind you that you do get some crazy drivers on Thai roads. Always wear a helmet and ride your moped cautiously.

If you have the budget and are staying long term, hiring or buying a car is a good investment. You are less likely to be seriously injured in a car vs a moped.

6. Crime on Koh Samui

I'm quite sure the majority of crime in Samui goes unnoticed by foreign nationals. That certainly was the case for me.

I've heard stories of crime related to feuds between families, drug dealing and corruption, but it didn't affect my life.

However, national statistics suggest bribery and corruption on Koh Samui is high.

The good news is that violent crimes such as assault and armed robbery are listed as low risk. And crime overall is considered low.

In my experience, the crime in Koh Samui is tends to be opportunistic.

For example, a drunk friend of mine had his chain stolen by a ladyboy in Chaweng on a night out. Don't ask!

And when living in a ground floor condo, someone forced the sliding back doors open and stole my camera off the table. The lock was weak as hell and to be honest I should have noticed this flaw when I moved in.

To be honest, I think the thief was someone I'd had in my apartment at some point. Again, don't ask!

The only other incident I remember was a foreign couple who'd just arrived on a boat from the mainland. They gave their bags over to be stashed in the hold on the boat. When they got off the boat and looked for their cash, they realized that all their holiday money had been stolen.

They were sitting down crying on the steps of my friend's travel agents. They had saved for years for the trip and naively given the back with the money in it to a boat hand and he'd nicked it.

It was heartbreaking.

Koh Samui attracts near on 3 million tourists a year. By nature of the beast you are going to get thieves taking their chances. So just be sensible and keep your wits about you.

With these few things in mind, let's have a look at your main choice of areas to live in.

Popular Expat Areas on Koh Samui


Bophut Beach

Bophut is a great area to live as an expat. You have the best of both worlds in that the majority of Bophut is fairly quiet but there's also plenty of dining and bar options.

The Bophut beachfront is smaller than Chaweng and has two piers along the stretch where tour boats leave and dock from. This makes the beach area in Bangrak okay for chilling but not as desirable for swimming.

However, if you follow the coastal road from Bang Rak down towards Fisherman's Village, there are a number of secluded beach spots on the way, and the beach is better down near the village itself.

Fisherman's Village is a traditional waterfront area lined with wooden houses converted into restaurants and shops. It's a lovely spot for an evening meal or a daytime fruit shake and chill.

The famous Big Buddha Temple also lies within the Bophut boundary. The temple has delightful views across the ocean and, even as a non-tourist, I still used to go there sometimes just to contemplate awhile.

It's easy to get into Chaweng (the main town) from Bophut. It takes around 5-10 minutes on a moped, depending on the way you go (you'll quickly learn the shortcuts).

For food shopping, you have the option of Tesco Lotus or Big C.

There's a good range of accommodation in Bophut, too. You can rent condos, houses or villas, ranging from cheap and cheerful to very luxurious.

Bangrak, in Bophut, was where I lived and I very much enjoyed my time there.

2. Choeng Mon


Choeng Mon Beach in the early evening

Choeng Mon is pretty quiet, though not as quiet now as I remember it 14 years ago.

I remember being one of just handful of visitors to Choeng Mon Beach on an average day. Sometimes a few of us would go down there and have the place to ourselves.

We'd spend a couple of hours swimming and then stop and chat with the massage ladies on the beach – and get a massage of course!

Since then more hotels have sprung up, aimed largely at tour groups, and a building spree has seen the development of affordable condos that cater to the expat community.

I had a couple of friends living in Ban Plai Laem in Cheong Mon in very affordable one bedroom bungalow-type houses, which will suit those on a lower budget.

Choeng Mon is well located, in that it's a half way point between Bophut beach and Chaweng Beach. There's not much there, but it's a good location with great views from the bay.


Chaweng Beach

Chaweng is the main town and has the biggest beach. Parts of the beach are to die for, and in some places at low tide you can walk a long way out along the golden sand.

It has it all: the daytime beach life, with water-sports, music, massage and and plenty of cold beer to boot, and at night there are restaurants and bars everywhere.

And then there's the Green Mango strip, housing a number of bars and clubs, including one of the same name. There's a a few go-gos, too, if that's your thing.

A little moped ride away is Soi Raggae, which is home to the infamous Reggae Pub.

The open-backed club over looks the lake and is where everyone tends to turn up pickled late on in the night. Besides bad dancing and lots of flirting, you'll find pool tables, a snack bar and big screens showing live sports.

If you'd prefer a quiet(er) drink of an evening, there's always Ark Bar, a beach front chill out bar that attracts both Thai and foreign customers who want to take in the moonlight bouncing off the shoreline. You can also noodle around the shops for souvenirs and the usual holiday strip tat.

For me, Chaweng will always represent crazy nights out that start off with an intention to go home at a reasonable time :). For a more reserved night out, consider Lamai.


Lamai Beach

Lamai is Koh Samui's second-largest resort area. Located on the east coast between Taling Ngam and Chaweng, Lamai has a laid back village feel and attracts a more mature crowd.

In past times Lamai was considered a cheaper option to Chaweng, but the area has seen an upgrade in recent years, with new resorts such as The Pavillion and The Renaissance offering luxury accommodation.

Living in Lamai is easy. There's plenty of accommodation to suit varying budgets and lots of restaurants and local shopping options, including Tesco Lotus and Makro. You'll also find health spas and massages aplenty.

The beach is comparable to Chaweng, but wider and with boulders dotted here and there.  I have found the water to be a little choppier than Chaweng at times, but the waves can be fun.

One thing I love about Lamai is the various viewpoints along the coastal road. Many a time I have stopped off on my moped and just taken in the views for a while.  Be careful riding that road, though. Go slow!

One thing to consider about Lamai is that it's a solid 15 minutes ride into Chaweng, but often seems longer. It's not a journey I like doing late at night. And that's why I never wanted to live there: because my friends and lifestyle at the time was based around Chaweng (the gym, the clubs, etc).

Somewhat of a backwater village, Maenam Beach sits to the left of Bophut Beach, about a 10 minute ride away.

I don't have a huge amount of experience with Maenam, but a close friend owned a restaurant there for a while, so I know the vibe.

It's cheaper to live there than the other places on this list, and that's why many expats end up there. But it's also much quieter and lacks the tourist foot traffic of Chaweng, Lamai, and even Bophut.

The beach is lovely but has slightly coarser sand than other notable spots on the island.  It's usually not very busy, either.

The nightlife in Maenam is unimpressive but adequate. There's no entertainment into the small hours. Nope, this is a place for those who want to avoid the crowds and enjoy their own company after the sun goes down.

Where Should You Live in Koh Samui?

While the above information might be useful as a guide to get started, no blog post or collection of photos can give you the “Samui experience”.

You need to put boots on the ground and feel the place out for yourself.

I've said this before and I'll say it again: Give yourself time to acclimatize. Rent a place for a month and take your time to explore the island. Perhaps rent a month at a time in a few different areas before making a decision on where you want to stay in the medium term.

Give the honeymoon period time to wear off before making any long-term decisions, and certainly don't rush in and buy a condo or villa.

For most people, arriving on a tropical island from a boring city is like arriving in heaven: the sun, the coconut trees, the beach, the women, the smiles, the food, the nights out, the list goes on.

It's easy to get taken in by it all and declare your unbreakable love for paradise in the sun. But all love affairs have their ups and downs, and the more intense the first few months the more volatile things tend to become later down the line.

So don't rush in. Rent everything and enjoy the ride for a while.


The Big Buddha temple in Koh Samui

Why I Left Koh Samui

If Koh Samui is so wonderful, then why did I leave?

I left the island (mainly) because I hadn't seen enough of the rest of Thailand to know where I wanted to settle. I mean, back then I was still pretty young and I knew there was more to my Thailand adventure to follow.

Many of the people I had met in the early days of my time there had left, either gone back home or landed a new job elsewhere in Thailand.

Things had stagnated a bit and I felt that the island had become a bit too familiar. I'd see the same faces in the gym, on the beach, in the bars, etc.

Don't get me wrong, there's nothing bad about familiar faces and feeling part of the community, but at that point I wasn't ready to commit long term.

Bear in mind that I was seeing travelers arriving and then leaving to explore all these wonderful places that I hadn't. I kind of felt that I would miss out if I didn't make a move.

So I went to Bangkok. From there I explored areas of the north like Chiang Mai and Pai, and took trips to Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, etc.

I met my now wife in Bangkok and she wasn't keen on living on an island, so I never went back to Samui to live.

Visiting Again 3 Years Later…

I did go back for a holiday with a friend. I remember we stayed in Chaweng at the Garden Resort; but it just wasn't the same vibe. While I enjoyed the beach and being by the sea, the nightlife somewhat lost its appeal.

Perhaps it was part age or the fact that nothing is ever as good the second time around. In hindsight, I think it was because, having lived there and once felt like it was my home, being a tourist staying in Chaweng just felt strange.

When I landed on Samui to live it was a new beginning, an escape from the mundane and ghosts of the past and a new life of freedom and opportunity in the unknown. I turned 30 there, met many different people from all walks of life, and had so many great experiences.

I guess you might say it was a place I lost myself for a while and then re-found myself and moved on.

Happiness is when favorable circumstances and positive feelings collide, and nothing will beat those 18 months I spent there.

I do have plans to go back with my kids though. My wife has never been  either, so she's keen to visit.

Would I Go Back to Live in Samui Now?

I think about this sometimes….and part of me wishes I hadn't left. There's something about that island that stays with you. But much of it is nostalgia and a want to relive that part of my life.

I'm older now, I have kids and life is a little more complicated, one might say. Who knows, though, perhaps I'll retire there…

For you, though, as someone considering a move there, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

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Last Updated on March 16, 2022


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Boat living

By georgegeorgia September 4, 2023 in Pattaya

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Is there anyone that lives on a boat here in Pattaya?

Is there places to park your boat and live on it ?


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Don't know about living on a boat, but there are a couple of condo's that allow you moor your boat right outside, namely Whale Marina and one other, I forget the name.

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Ocean Marina Jomtien has a couple sort-of 'liveaboards', but it's officially not allowed, at least in the by-laws.  It's sort of a grey area.  Superyacht crews of course liveaboard.  I would imagine this is possibly due to TM30 / Notification of Address rules in Thailand for foreigners.  I have met transient cruisers over the years who do in fact liveaboard cruising around Thailand and somehow deal with this problem.

Note that this marina is not some budget place for cheap charlies looking to live on a boat to save rent as often found at low-cost marinas in the USA and UK/Europe....  keeping just an 11 meter boat there is more than 10k baht per month, plus utilities, plus annual membership of 65,000 baht per year. It is a positively gorgeous facility though, well-maintained and managed and worth every satang IMHO.


Ah, the joys of being a live aboard. Intimate contact with the wind and waves. beautiful sunsets, no aircon, no storage, tiny toilet, insects. And although you've minimized, you get to stow everything if you want to use it as a boat.

There were some negatives too.


Too Expensive in Thailand for live a-boards south of Pattaya is Ocean Marina , Bali Hai Pier  is just a waste of space ,We have two  in Sausalito CA USA 600 dollars a month for each , Cape Dory and a 2 Stateroom Trawler 


5 minutes ago, ignore it said: Ah, the joys of being a live aboard. Intimate contact with the wind and waves. beautiful sunsets, no aircon, no storage, tiny toilet, insects. And although you've minimized, you get to stow everything if you want to use it as a boat.   There were some negatives too.

Back in the day I lived aboard my 30 ft sailboat near Nanaimo,BC on the west coast for a year. It was lovely during the spring,summer and fall.During winter the ice and snow took away the romance.

But it was a pussy magnet in summer.

1 hour ago, jaideedave said: But it was a pussy magnet in summer

You don't have to invest so much money for that. Even a worn wallet will do, as long as it's not empty...

Thumbs Up


I lived on a 37' sloop in Cape Canaveral, Florida for almost 10 years.  It is a great way to live, and to go broke.  After I retired I moved to Bangkok in 2002 and sold the boat at a loss.  A boat really is a hole in the water that you try to fill with money.

I was interested enough to find out that at that time that you basically needed a visa for a foreign registered boat and could only keep the boat in Thailand for less than a year without paying import duty.  Docking fees were very high.

At that time Malaysia was much more boat friendly with none of the silly Thai rules and more reasonable docking fees  The visa fees also had a more reasonable length.

Personally I'm happy I sold the boat and moved to Bangkok where my life was much less stressful and fun.

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10 of the best things to do in Thailand

Chawadee Nualkhair

Dec 21, 2023 • 9 min read

living on a sailboat in thailand

Experience the best of Thailand with this guide to the top things to do © Jackyenjoyphotography / Getty Images © © Jackyenjoyphotography / Getty Images

People may think of Thailand as a food-focused destination, or a place for great nightlife or even a wellness center and somewhere to go and be pampered.

The truth is, Thailand is all of those things and more. You could be snorkeling in bright blue waters near a glorious beach , hiking to Thailand’s highest temples, slurping down a roadside bowlful of spicy noodles , plying the city’s waterways in a long-tail boat or simply dozing off next to a pool with a book on your chest.

Create your own adventure to remember in the Land of Smiles with our guide to the best things to do in Thailand.

1. Make your way to a temple

Thailand is home to more than 40,000 temples, which makes the decision on exactly where to visit that much more difficult. Although most people will say that visits to Bangkok’s Grand Palace and Wat Pho are musts, some other temples scattered throughout the kingdom might end up being the ones to lodge themselves permanently in your memories.

In the far Northern town of Chiang Rai , Wat Rong Khun – otherwise known as the “White Temple” – features a “bridge of rebirth” that takes visitors over a “lake” of outstretched hands representing human suffering. Further south near Pattaya , the Sanctuary of Truth stands as Thailand’s largest wooden building, painstakingly carved using traditional techniques. And on the border between the North and Northeast regions in Phetchabun, Wat Phra Thad Son Kaew  displays a series of giant Buddha images sitting in each other’s laps inspired by Russian nesting dolls, surrounded by Gaudi-like mosaics and a vast tapestry of stunning mountains.

If you do decide to stay in Bangkok, Wat Arun (aka “Temple of the Dawn”) is a beautiful and less-touristy temple on the banks of the Chao Phraya, while Wat Po also houses a massage school said to have been the birthplace of Thai massage.

Fishing village of the Koh Panyee settlement built on stilts in Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

2. Island hop in the Andaman Sea

This is what the kingdom is likely most known for: its dramatic, green-speckled islands and celadon waters. The best place from which to experience this is Phuket , Thailand’s largest and most-visited island. From its two marinas, you can hire a boat to survey the Andaman Sea and its many blessings, including the iconic  Ko Khao Phing Kan (also known as James Bond Island) featured in the movie  The Man With a Golden Gun (1974), which resembles a tree-furred exclamation point (one of many striking limestone karsts) in Phang Nga Bay .

Planning tip: Boat rentals can range from US$60 a day on a fishing boat to US$140 a day on a “luxury” cruiser with lunch and dinner included. You can also head to Rassada Pier to take a ferry to tour Phang Nga Bay as a day trip. Book a ticket online in advance in case they sell out.

3. Shop at one of Thailand's best markets

Thais love to shop, so it’s little surprise that Thailand is liberally peppered with markets of all types, from morning fruit markets to weekend craft markets to raucous night markets and even all-hours markets. The most famous of these is probably Bangkok’s 24/7 Flower Market , where a panoply of gorgeous blooms makes ideal Instagram fodder against the background of the Chao Phraya River. Also in Bangkok,  Or Tor Kor is widely considered – even among persnickety Thai aunties – to be the best food market in the country, especially revered for its traditional sweets and pristine produce. 

Up North, Chiang Mai’s Saturday Walking Street  and  Sunday Walking Street are predictably famous, but the Walking Street in Chiang Khan on the banks of the Mekong is just as extensive and far more picturesque. If it’s crafts you’re looking for, Cicada Market in the beach resort town of Hua Hin offers art, clothing and knick-knacks and is only a short walk from the beach. And if it’s a floating market that floats your boat, tree-lined Khlong Lat Mayom is only 1.5 hours from Bangkok and is far less touristy than Bangkok’s Chatuchak Market  and the floating markets of Damnoen Saduak and Amphawa . All are worth visiting, but beware of crowds.

Two people in silhouette stand on a large rock in a pool with a waterfall flowing nearby

4. Splash around in a waterfall

If you loved to splash around in fountains as a kid, then Thailand’s many, many waterfalls will surely delight your inner child – or even your actual child. From close to Bangkok (in Khao Yai National Park , a 2.5-hour drive from Bangkok) to its farthest reaches (in Ubon Ratchathani , on the edge of Thailand’s northeast), Thailand has a waterfall to suit any type of swimmer or nature lover, from little paddlers to experienced hikers.

Made famous by the movie The Beach  (2000), Khao Yai’s Haew Suwat is not necessarily Thailand’s most towering waterfall (it’s 20m/66ft high), but it does host an emerald-green pool perfect for midday dips. Located in Erawan National Park in western Kanchanaburi , the eponymous Erawan Falls is one of the most famous waterfalls in the country, thanks to its seven mighty tiers and the tiny fish that nibble at your toes at the bottom. Meanwhile in the far northeast lies the isolated Soi Sawan waterfall in Ubon Ratchathani , near where wildflowers bloom in the cool season and numerous hiking trails lead to amazing viewpoints.

Planning tip: If you do plan to beat the heat with a quick plunge, bring a towel and a swimsuit, but remember that changing rooms are few and far between. 

5. Learn more about Thailand at its top museums

Thailand is chock-a-block with museums, but some are far less stultifying than others. Belying the image of a fusty old building harboring ancient relics from a far-off land, Museum Siam in Bangkok tells the story of how the “Land of Smiles” came to be through a series of creative, interactive exhibits geared mainly at children. Also in Bangkok, the Jim Thompson House Museum keeps the spirit of the Thai silk tycoon (and rumored CIA agent who disappeared in 1967) alive by making his former home and collection of art and antiques accessible to the public. And only 40km (25 miles) southeast of Bangkok, Muang Boran (the Ancient City) is a faithful reconstruction of Ayutthaya-era Siam, set over 200 acres and labeled the world’s biggest open-air museum.

Detour: If you can make it out of the Bangkok area, the lengthily titled Hellfire Pass Interpretive Centre and Memorial Walking Trail , situated 100km (62 miles) from Kanchanaburi, was created in memory of the WWII POWs who helped build the Burma-Thailand railway, also known as the “Death Railway” immortalized in the 1957-film Bridge Over the River Kwai .

A hiker takes some tentative steps out onto a suspended wooden walkway that clings to the side of a mountain

6. Take a hike along trails and through forests

In spite of its reputation as a classic fly-and-flop destination, Thailand also manages to be generously laden with hiking trails tailored to all levels of experience. Only 25km (15.5 miles) south of the resort town of Hua Hin, Pranburi Forest Park features a 1km-long (0.6 mile) boardwalk along mangrove forests and pine trees, allowing even toddlers the chance to stretch their legs while surrounded by greenery.

Up north, close to Chiang Mai, the 13km (8-mile)  Buddha’s Footprint Trail  is a simple out-and-back walk popular among birdwatchers for the diversity of both wildlife and foliage on display (a guide is required and can be hired among the Hmong villagers). 

Meanwhile, adrenaline junkies – and devout Buddhists or meditation enthusiasts – will love Wat Phu Thok , also known as the “Lonely Mountain” and located in Northeastern Bueng Kan. Visitors are encouraged to ascend a 359m-high (1,200ft) peak by way of steps, carved paths and eventually rickety-looking wooden slats. The experience, meant to mirror the seven levels to nirvana, is supposed to encourage meditation and focus on the “now” as walkers negotiate every strenuous (and occasionally daunting) step.

Local tip: Walkers who are afraid of heights should steer clear of the Lonely Mountain or ascend only the first few levels. The seventh level is said to be riddled with snakes, so no need to go further than the sixth.

7. Cruise Bangkok's Chao Phraya River

Before it became known as a mecca for traffic jams, Bangkok was once described as the “Venice of the East,” crisscrossed with canals branching from the Chao Phraya River , which once served as the kingdom's main artery of commerce and diplomacy. Although far fewer Thais use the Chao Phraya as part of their daily lives today, it remains a potent reminder of the city’s waterborne past. 

Many boats – from small long-tailed boats to water buses to larger dinner cruise-type ships – ply the waters for visitors in search of a glimpse of Bangkok’s past, or who simply want to avoid the traffic. The most famous of these boats is likely the Chao Phraya Express Boat . From downtown Sathorn, the boat goes as far as the northern suburb of Nonthaburi, and prices range from 16 to 33 baht.

Local tip: You can also rent your own long-tail boat for a cruise of the city’s many canals for 2,000–5,000 baht, depending on the size of the boat. Reserve online to secure a spot.

People sit at outside tables enjoying street food meals

8. Taste Bangkok's best street food in Chinatown

Rejuvenated after a COVID-era economic slump, Bangkok’s street food scene is newly vibrant, especially in areas like the Old Town , along Charoen Krung Road, on Bantadthong Road, and by the Victory Monument . The birthplace of Thai street food (and restaurants) is Chinatown – also known as Yaowarat. Chinese–Thai dishes like oyster omelets, soup noodles, rice porridge and black sesame-stuffed dumplings tempt passersby along Yaowarat Rd, which becomes a neon-lit roadside buffet at night. Just remember: many street food stalls are closed on Monday, so be sure to check your chosen vendors beforehand.

Planning tip: While in Chinatown, check out one of Bangkok’s hippest nightlife spots, Nana Road (in Chinatown, not on Sukhumvit). Here, famous watering holes like Tep Bar , Teens of Thailand and the taxes-themed TAX rub shoulders with picturesque shophouses and noodle joints.

9. Cycle around some incredible ruins

Before Bangkok was even a gleam in King Rama I’s eye, the country’s capitals lived further up from the Chao Phraya River, first in Sukhothai and then in Ayuthaya . Now both UNESCO World Heritage sites, their ruins testify to the power and beauty of what was formerly known as Siam. Ranging over 70 sq km (27 sq miles), Sukhothai Historical Park showcases Wat Mahathat at its center, arranged like a lotus among 193 ruins. Visitors can explore the grounds by rented bicycle before heading to Ramkhamhaeng National Museum . 

At the larger Ayutthaya Historical Park, active from the 14th to 18th centuries, 425 unearthed archaeological sites include Vihara Phra Mongkol Bophit, home to one of Thailand’s largest bronze Buddha statues. You can also hire a bicycle to survey the park or head on out with a guide, and even rent traditional Thai costumes for a photo shoot.

10. See marine life on a snorkeling or diving trip

Marine life lovers or even avowed “water babies” will find all that they desire under the Andaman Sea or Gulf of Thailand. With its warm water, striking coral reefs and many manta rays and whale sharks , Thailand is thick with top-tier diving sites for all experience levels off of Phuket , Ko Phi-Phi , Ko Tao and Ko Pha-Ngan . If it’s snorkeling you’re after, the waters of Ko Chang and Ko Tarutao Marine National Park host bountiful marine life in clear blue water. 

Local tip: For the most part, October to April is considered prime diving season, while May to September is deemed best for snorkeling.

This article was first published Aug 24, 2021 and updated Dec 21, 2023.

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Tetraplegic Greater Cincinnati teen hopes that experimental surgery could change her life

by Meghan Mongillo, WKRC

(Teranne Conder)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - A tragic accident left a Mason teenager with no movement or feeling from her shoulders down.

The accident happened two years ago. Now, she's 15 years old and living as a tetraplegic. But despite everything that's happened, her family is hopeful that a groundbreaking new surgery could change her life.

“I’ve got this system. Instead of a head rest, I’ve got sensors all around. I touch them, and that drives the chair," said Makayla Conder, who was paralyzed two years ago.

Conder can operate her wheelchair by moving her face against padded sensors.

She said that what happened during a summer party to mark the end of 7th grade in May of 2022 was a life-changing moment.

"My sister and two friends sat on a tire swing in the back of the property. The branch broke and fell on my head. The last thing I heard was the branch crack," said Conder.

She would later wake up in a hospital bed with no movement or feeling from her shoulders down. Luckily, she had no brain injury, which her family attributes to the CPR that was done immediately after the accident. So far, she can twitch her left wrist, but there's been no other progress in two years.

That was until her mom, Teranne, found something. What she found was a surgery that's being done overseas, a surgery that Conder is scheduled to do.

"All the doctors have signed off that she's cleared to go. We just need the funds," said Teranne.

The Conder family is now campaigning to raise money to send her to Thailand for that life-changing surgery. The surgery would have an implanted device that would amplify signals to the brain. This can then induce voluntary movement.

Teranne said the family has done a lot of research and feels like this could make a big difference.

"The surgery is really minimal; it's not invasive. It's going to be an incision on her back. Take a little of her spinal bone out, and it's a paddle with electrodes that they then put on her spine," said Teranne.

The idea of the surgery and what it could bring has Conder hopeful.

"Even being able to scratch my own face or being able to help my right lung. It would be everything," said Conder.

Teranne said that the slightly paralyzed right lung is what's largely holding her back.

"Even if it gave her the capacity to expand her lungs more and breathe, that would put her back into life. Right now, she can't be around her friends; she can't go to school; she spends her life in our house," said Teranne.

Throughout the hardships, Conder has still tried to make sense of her teenage life.

"I'm not sure why, but I'm grateful to have the opportunity to learn from this," said Conder.

Right now, in the United States, the spinal cord stimulator is only approved by the FDA when used to treat chronic pain. It could still be years before the procedure she wants to have done is given the okay.

If you would like to help the Conder family on their journey, click here.

living on a sailboat in thailand

Cartagena, Colombia

The 12 Best Vacations For Couples On A Budget In 2024

All products and services featured are independently selected by forbes vetted contributors and editors. when you make a purchase through links on this page, we may earn a commission. learn more, lindsay cohn , contributor, forbes vetted.

T here are many reasons why it’s a great idea for couples to go on vacation together. Traveling is one of the best ways to hit pause on the stress of everyday life, form a deeper connection with a partner and create lasting memories. Venturing outside of your comfort zone and sharing experiences—whether that’s sampling new foods or going on thrilling adventures—really does forge stronger bonds.

While many duos splurge on an anniversary trip or honeymoon, couples' getaways don’t need to be expensive to be meaningful. You’ll find wallet-friendly destinations that are perfectly suited for pairs all around the world. For a steamy tropical escape, journey to Bali. Dreaming of relaxing to a soundtrack of crashing waves and tropical birds? Book a trip to Santa Teresa. If eating is your love language, head to Mexico City. Below, the best vacations for couples on a budget in 2024.

The Best Vacations For Couples On A Budget—Where To Stay:

  • Bali: Arya Villas Ubud ; The Kayon Resort ; Villa Coco
  • Budapest: Kozmo Hotel Suites & Spa ; Prestige Hotel Budapest ; Hotel Collect
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Under Canvas Great Smoky Mountains National Park ; The Starry Safari ; The Burrow
  • Grand Canyon National Park: Vista A-Frame Cabin ; The Kiva Suite ; Glamping Tent
  • Alentejo: Torre de Palma Wine Hotel ; Craveiral Farmhouse ; Octant Santiago
  • San Juan: Dreamcatcher By DW ; DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel San Juan ; Old San Juan Apartment
  • Naxos: Hotel Grotta ; The Saint Vlassis ; Home in Agios Prokopios
  • Cartagena: Alfiz Hotel ; Meliá Cartagena Karmairi ; Casa de Alba Hotel Boutique
  • Mexico City: Gran Hotel Ciudad De Mexico ; Hippodrome Hotel ; The Wild Oscar
  • Santa Teresa: Hotel Santa Teresa by the Beach ; Hotel Tropico Latino ; Jungle House
  • Dominican Republic: Casa de Campo Resort & Villas ; Hilton La Romana ; Serenade All Suites
  • Bangkok: MUU Bangkok Hotel ; SO/ Bangkok ; Nysa Hotel Bangkok

pura ulun danu bratan temple in Bali, Indonesia.

Bali, Indonesia

Who Will Love It: Spirituality seekers; nature lovers; beachgoers
All-Star Attractions: Tegalalang Rice Terrace; Uluwatu Temple; Campuhan Ridge Walk
What Not To Miss: Swinging above the lush treetops
Where To Stay: Arya Villas Ubud ; The Kayon Resort ; Villa Coco

With tropical jungles, sandy beaches, majestic temples and plenty of nightlife, Bali is the ultimate choose-your-own-adventure vacation for couples. Spirituality seekers can visit sacred sites like Pura Tanah Lot and Pura Samuan Tiga. Nature lovers won’t be able to resist the UNESCO-protected rice terraces and Instagram-famous swing above the lush treetops and the Campuhan Ridge Walk on the outskirts of Ubud. The beaches of Canggu and Uluwatu beckon surfers and sun worshipers. Affordable prices on food, drinks, accommodations, outdoor activities and spa services such as facials and massages only add to the appeal.

Where To Stay:

PinkCoco Uluwatu : Advertised as a hotel for "cool adults only," this 28-key watermelon-hued respite in Uluwatu attracts a hip crowd who come to chill by the pool and surf Padang Padang. Did we mention rates start at less than $100 a night?

Villa Coco : Ideal for couples, this secluded one-bedroom villa in Pererenan features a private pool for romantic dips, a skylight bathtub and contemporary coastal decor. Plus, it’s located close to the beach.

Arya Villas Ubud : Arya Villas is wrapped in lush rice fields that instill a sense of serenity. It's a super relaxing place for couples to escape that's still close enough to shops, yoga studios and restaurants in Ubud.

Budapest city skyline at Hungalian Parliament and Danube River, Budapest, Hungary

Budapest, Hungary

Who Will Love It: Spa lovers; architecture enthusiasts
All-Star Attractions: Buda Castle; Fisherman's Bastion; Széchenyi Chain Bridge
What Not To Miss: Soaking at the Széchenyi Thermal Baths
Where To Stay: Kozmo Hotel Suites & Spa ; Prestige Hotel Budapest ; Hotel Collect

Budapest is a riverside city break with a vacation soul. This capital city has a long reputation for its spa culture, with famous spots to “take in the waters” like the Széchenyi Thermal Baths and Rudas Thermal Bath , where half-day tickets cost just $25. It’s also a sightseeing superstar with incredible sight lines, especially from the hilly Buda neighborhood. Architecture buffs won’t want to miss Buda Castle, Fisherman's Bastion and the Széchenyi Chain Bridge. For a night out with your honey that’s easy on the wallet, head to Ruins Bars, a collection of graffiti-clad drinking dens inside an old abandoned building.

Kozmo Hotel Suites & Spa : A luxury landmark that won’t drain your bank account, Kozmo feels upscale with sophisticated accommodations and impeccable spa facilities. Perks like a welcome drink and free breakfast sweeten the deal.

Prestige Hotel Budapest : It’s not often that you encounter elegant architecture, plush rooms and a Michelin-recommended restaurant at a city property that won’t set you back a small fortune. But that’s the beauty of Prestige Hotel Budapest, which offers nightly rates at under $200—even during peak season.

Hotel Collect : A peaceful adults-only refuge in the heart of Budapest does exist. Situated near Károlyi Garden, Hotel Collect lures couples with its vintage-style rooms and lobby bar for cocktails and canoodling.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Autumn sunrise in the Smoky Mountains National Park.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

Who Will Love It: Nature lovers; campers; leaf peepers
All-Star Attractions: Charlies Bunion; Alum Cave Trail; Cades Cove Loop Road
What Not To Miss: Jaw-dropping views along the Appalachian Trail
Where To Stay: Under Canvas Great Smoky Mountains National Park ; The Starry Safari ; The Burrow

For a nature-wrapped getaway within driving distance of big Southern cities like Nashville and Charlotte (romantic road trip, anyone?), look no further than Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A year-round destination for forested hikes and sweeping views, its majestic landscape gives couples plenty to see and do during each season. Spring and summer mean wildflowers and gushing waterfalls. Leaf peepers are steadfast that the most magical time is the fall, when the foliage explodes into a kaleidoscope of red, orange and gold. Then again, there’s something nice about exploring with your sweetie during a quiet, misty winter morning.

Under Canvas Great Smoky Mountains National Park : There’s a certain romance to sleeping under the stars, but pitching a tent isn’t for everyone. The upscale glamping setups at Under Canvas are tricked out with king beds and heated showers for couples who prioritize comfort.

The Starry Safari : A great option for reconnecting with nature and each other (especially if you’d prefer not to have neighbors), this glamping tent in Maggie Valley, North Carolina is equipped with a wood-burning stove, a cozy bed and a grill.

The Burrow : This tiny house in Sylva has everything a couple could need for a romantic getaway. Highlights include the stocked kitchen, sweeping views and a wallet-friendly price tag.

Grand Canyon National Park

scenic view of Toroweap overlook at sunrise in north rim, grand canyon national park,Arizona,usa.

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Who Will Love It: Adventurers; photographers; park goers
All-Star Attractions: Grand Canyon Greenway Trail; South Kaibab Trail; South Rim Trail
What Not To Miss: Sunset views from Lipan Point
Where To Stay: Vista A-Frame Cabin ; The Kiva Suite ; Glamping Tent

Grand Canyon National Park ranks as one of the country’s most prominent and majestic landmarks. Visiting this magnificent feat of nature stirs the soul and inspires awe. It’s an incredibly memorable trip that also supplies stunning, frame-worthy photos from scenic viewpoints like Lipan Point and Yavapai Observation Station. Besides its staggering visual appeal, the opportunities for outdoor recreation and adventure are endless. Bright Angel Trail, Grandview Trail and the Rim-to-Rim Hike top the list of challenging treks. For a thrilling and unforgettable activity, book a helicopter ride to marvel at the immense canyon and striated ancient red rock from above. You can also do something far less intensive such as walking or biking ride along the paved Grand Canyon Greenway Trail.

Vista A-Frame Cabin : Kachina Village is a 90-minute drive from the Grand Canyon. But it’s worth a little extra time in the car to snooze in this contemporary, treehouse-inspired A-frame cabin surrounded by towering pines.

The Kiva Suite : On the list of awesome accommodations, a luxury tent tucked into a cave certainly makes a compelling case for the coolest. It's indoor/outdoor living at its finest, with a fire pit, hammock chairs and a peaceful, romantic setting that's perfect for couples.

Glamping Tent : This tent in the middle of the desert seems quite rustic at first glance, but look a little closer and you'll notice some sweet upgrades like a private outdoor shower, tub, comfy bed, Wi-Fi and air conditioning.

Sunset, Estremoz, Alentejo, Portugal

Alentejo, Portugal

Who Will Love It: Nature lovers; oenophiles; history buffs
All-Star Attractions: Fishermen's Trail; Roman Temple of Evora; Museu Berardo Estremoz
What Not To Miss: Sipping small-batch wine
Where To Stay: Torre de Palma Wine Hotel ; Craveiral Farmhouse ; Octant Santiago

Under-the-radar Alentejo—the sprawling agrarian expanse that stretches from the coast of Portugal to the Spanish border—doesn’t draw in the masses just yet, making it the perfect spot for couples looking for peace in a pastoral setting. The lack of crowds means more alone time to explore the scenery, visit the ancient Roman ruins and admire the gorgeous tiles at Museu Berardo Estremoz. As one of the world's largest exporters of cork, doing an off-road 4x4 adventure through the cork forest is a must. There are some terrific small-scale local wineries to do tours and tastings as well as wonderful restaurants to savor regional products such as Alentejo pork, cheese and olive oil. For some fun in the sun, drive to the lovely coastal towns of Comporta or Zambujeira do Mar, where you’ll find the Fishermen's Trail.

Torre de Palma Wine Hotel : This enchanting family-run hotel in a quiet corner of Alentejo has stylish accommodations and an on-site winery. For a memorable date night, ask the team to coordinate a picnic in the olive groves. The sunset views from the tower are worth a million bucks.

Craveiral Farmhouse : Ramshackle charm and a splendid location between the countryside and coast contribute to the magic of a stay at Craveiral Farmhouse. Free on-site amenities include an outdoor swimming pool, a sauna and the company of friendly farm animals.

Octant Santiago : Octant Santiago is a favorite among couples who love the property’s relaxed, romantic ambiance. The intimate atmosphere is complemented by romantic activities like cooking classes—not to mention the attractive price tag.

Beautiful summer afternoon at the outer wall with sentry box of fort San Felipe del Morro in old San Juan in Puerto Rico

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Who Will Love It: Beachgoers; foodies; history buffs
All-Star Attractions: Balneario El Escambrón; El Castillo San Felipe del Morro; Casa Bacadri Puerto Rico
What Not To Miss: Strolling around Old San Juan
Where To Stay: Dreamcatcher By DW ; DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel San Juan ; Old San Juan Apartment

San Juan punches well above its weight (and price tag) when it comes to charm and culture. A treasure trove of history, Old San Juan features cobbled streets lined with colorful facades that now house shops and cafés as well as famous landmarks like El Castillo San Felipe del Morro. Paseo de la Princesa is a pretty pedestrian promenade that’s lovely for strolling hand-in-hand with your sweetie. One of the most picturesque public beaches in the area, palm-fringed Balneario El Escambrón offers soft sand, turquoise water and a coral reef for snorkeling. Puerto Rico’s capital is also a dynamite food destination with delicious, inexpensive local restaurants and street eats. If the mood strikes for some after-dark excitement, there are plenty of bars, clubs and casinos along the Isla Verde resort strip. Best of all, you don’t need to pack a passport.

Dreamcatcher By DW : Situated steps from the beach and just 10 minutes by car to Old San Juan, Dreamcatcher By DW is a leafy oasis with a seductive atmosphere that’s well-suited for a romantic getaway. The individually designed rooms and suites have hammocks, terraces and outdoor showers.

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel San Juan : For around $160 a night, couples can stay at this smart full-service hotel in the bustling Condado area. Rooms are clean and comfortable and it’s within walking distance of sandy beaches and casinos.

Old San Juan Apartment : This character-filled corner apartment in a historic Spanish Colonial building in Old San Juan is perfect for a grown-up getaway. The breezy balcony beckons couples to unwind with a rum cocktail. It also rents for less than $200 a night.

Cityscape of Naxos town on a sunny day, Naxos, Greece

Naxos, Greece

Who Will Love It: Beachgoers; history buffs; relaxation seekers
All-Star Attractions: Plaka Beach; Agios Prokopios Beach; The Temple of Apollo – Portara
What Not To Miss: Swimming in the Aegean Sea
Where To Stay: Hotel Grotta ; The Saint Vlassis ; Home in Agios Prokopios

If your dream couples getaway involves sipping chilled white wine on a postcard-worthy stretch of sand surrounded by azure water, add Naxos to the consideration set. The largest of the Cyclades islands in the South Aegean brims with stunning sandy beaches, including Plaka Beach and Agios Prokopios Beach, and ancient ruins. Don’t miss views from The Temple of Apollo–Portara. The pretty-as-picture main chora is lined with whitewashed houses and restaurants that cook up seafood caught by fishermen just beyond the port. In contrast to Mykonos, Santorini and Paros, it’s a steal (yes, even during peak summer months). For a memorable experience that won’t deliver a major blow to the budget, book a sunset cruise.

Hotel Grotta : For couples who favor charm, convenience, price-conscious rates and sunset panoramas, the family-run Hotel Grotta hits the mark. Located in Naxos Town, it’s also walkable to many restaurants and landmarks.

The Saint Vlassis : The perfect spot to recharge your batteries, The Saint Vlassis invites couples to unwind with private patio massages, soaking tubs and a relaxing feel that’s enhanced by comfy mattresses for restful zzzs.

Home in Agios Prokopios : Admittedly, this home in Agios Prokopios has more space than a couple actually needs, but with sea views from the idyllic outdoor terrace and a price tag of $185 a night, it’s too good to pass up.

Colonial buildings and balconies in the historic center of Cartagena, Colombia

Cartagena, Colombia

Who Will Love It: Photographers; architecture enthusiasts; nightlife fans
All-Star Attractions: Castillo San Felipe de Barajas; Barrio Getsemani; Plaza Santo Domingo
What Not To Miss: Watching the sunset from atop the stone walls
Where To Stay: Alfiz Hotel ; Meliá Cartagena Karmairi ; Casa de Alba Hotel Boutique

Seeking a steamy escape that’s guaranteed to ignite a spark? With colorful architecture, sensual ambiance and sizzling nightlife, it’s impossible not to fall hard for Cartagena. The colorful and endlessly charming port on Colombia’s Caribbean coast is an undeniably romantic spot to spend a few days. Even better, some of the best things to do as a couple—including ambling along the cobbled streets of the UNESCO-listed Old Town, posing for frame-worthy photos in front of the colorful buildings, soaking in the sunset views from the old stone fortifications and watching the street performers in Plaza Santo Domingo—don’t cost a dime. Love white-sand beaches? Pack a bikini and board a boat or bus bound for Isla de Barú.

Alfiz Hotel : A well-guarded secret among travelers who prefer to keep this boutique gem under wraps, Alfiz Hotel sits inside a beautifully restored 17th-century house in the heart of Old Town. Each of the eight thematic rooms tells a story of Colombian history through art and antiques.

Casa de Alba Hotel Boutique : This charming boutique hotel is a brilliant home base for couples who want to do a bit of sightseeing but a lot more relaxing. Housed in a 1567-built mansion, it has a palm-framed central courtyard with a swimming pool and breezy rooms.

Meliá Cartagena Karmairi : For those times when you don’t want to deal with tantruming tots, this adults-only retreat on the coast in Manzanillo del Mar delivers a kid-free experience complete with authentic local cuisine, beach days and couples spa treatments.

Mexico City

Aerial view of Independence Monument Mexico City

Mexico City, Mexico

Who Will Love It: Foodies; history buffs; art aficionados
All-Star Attractions: Mercado Coyoacan; Palacio de Bellas Artes; Zocalo
What Not To Miss: A market tour and cooking class
Where To Stay: Gran Hotel Ciudad De Mexico ; Hippodrome Hotel ; The Wild Oscar

If the adage about the way to someone’s heart being through their stomach is to be believed, then jetting off to Mexico City promises a gourmet love affair for the ages. Famed for its incredible gastronomy, CDMX continues its reign as one of the world's most palate-pleasing (and well-priced) destinations, with everything from barbacoa tacos and ​​mole recipes passed down through generations to fresh ceviche and arroz a la tumbada waiting to be devoured. Couples can sink their teeth into the culinary culture through a hands-on market tour and cooking class. In between sampling the local flavors, cruise the Aztec-built Xochimilco canals and experience the lively nightlife.

Gran Hotel Ciudad De Mexico : Proof that you don’t have to spend a ton to get a whole lot in CDMX, the Gran Hotel Ciudad De Mexico in Centro Historico, which was originally built as a department store in 1899, shows off a show-stopping Tiffany stained-glass ceiling and well-heeled rooms.

The Wild Oscar : Bold modern design that would woo Wes Anderson, a free-spirited vibe and a rooftop with 360-degree views attract couples to The Wild Oscar, a hip hotel in the Polanco neighborhood.

Hippodrome Hotel Condesa : Being thrifty is easy when rates at the 16-key Hippodrome Hotel Condesa start at $85 a night. Besides affordability, the comfortable rooms and the convenient location near many key sights also hook couples.

Santa Teresa

pacific beach in santa teresa costa rica, sunrise

Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

Who Will Love It: Beachgoers; surfers; nature lovers
All-Star Attractions: Playa Santa Teresa; 4x4 tours; surf lessons
What Not To Miss: Golden hour on Playa Santa Teresa
Where To Stay: Hotel Santa Teresa by the Beach ; Hotel Tropico Latino ; Jungle House

Things move slower in Santa Teresa, a low-key beach town on Costa Rica’s Nicoya peninsula. That laid-back pace is more than appealing to couples who want a relaxing, off-the-beaten-path escape that won’t blow the budget. Beloved for its beautiful, sandy shoreline and waves, the beaches draw sunbathers and surfers. Even more magical are the captivating vistas at sunset. Besides its best-known asset, Santa Teresa backs up to the jungle for hiking 4x4 tours. Other eco-adventures include zip lining, kayaking and horseback riding. It’s also a mecca for yogis with ocean-view classes and retreats. The town’s affordable restaurants range from traditional Costa Rican food at the local sodas to wood-fired pizza.

Hotel Santa Teresa by the Beach : This sustainably minded beachside hotel receives high praise from past guests—many of whom are couples—for its pool, comfortable accommodations, proximity to the waves of Playa Carmen and reasonable rates.

Hotel Tropico Latino : For a sand and surf holiday, it doesn’t get better than Hotel Tropico Latino. Perched right on the sands of Playa Santa Teresa, it’s a great get-back-to-nature getaway with glamping suites and farm-to-table fare that’s enjoyed alfresco.

Jungle House : This contemporary ground-floor apartment gives off pura vida vibes with a spacious living area, a terrace with a hammock and a garden table. Bonus: it’s close to the beach.

Dominican Republic

Aerial view of tropical beach. Saona island, Dominican republic

Who Will Love It: Beachgoers; golfers; resort devotees
All-Star Attractions: Bavaro Beach; Macao Beach; Zona Colonial
What Not To Miss: Blissing out on the beach
Where To Stay: Casa de Campo Resort & Villas ; Hilton La Romana ; Serenade All Suites

For some couples, vacation is a chance to trade reality for a week of sprawling out on a sandy beach with a tropical drink in hand, floating in the pool, blissing out at the spa and doing water sports. If all that sounds sublime, plot an escape to the Dominican Republic for picture-perfect weather and some of the best all-inclusive resorts around. While the promise of plentiful amenities and on-site activities—ranging from yoga and golf to mixology classes and sailing—is enough to convince anyone to stick around the property, the Dominican Republic also has waterfall hikes, lively local beach bars and the tallest mountain in the Caribbean.

Casa de Campo Resort & Villas : This 7,000-acre vacation paradise in La Romana boasts its own marina, tennis courts, polo facilities, three championship golf courses, outdoor swimming pools, multiple restaurants, a spa and villas for couples who want a little extra privacy.

Hilton La Romana : Food, drinks, serviced pools, non-motorized water sports, daily activities, nightly entertainment and accommodations are all part of the well-priced package at the Hilton La Romana, an adults-only, all-inclusive resort right on the beach.

Serenade All Suites : Leave the kids at home for a stay at this all-suite adults-only resort in Punta Cana. Bask in the sand on the white-sand beach, swim in the pool, go paddle surfing and do date night at the steak house.

The illuminated temple of Wat Arun on the Chao Phraya river at sunset in Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok, Thailand

Who Will Love It: Temple hoppers; foodies; spa-goers
All-Star Attractions: Wat Pho; Grand Palace; Asiatique the Riverfont
What Not To Miss: Doing a street food tour
Where To Stay: MUU Bangkok Hotel ; SO/ Bangkok ; Nysa Hotel Bangkok

While budget travelers might be put off by the cost of a plane ticket to many places in Asia, Bangkok shouldn’t be one of them. If you don't mind a stopover, it’s possible to fly from Los Angeles for under $500. Once in Thailand’s capital, the prices are extremely reasonable. Pad Thai and Moo ping (grilled pork) at the famous night markets as well as admission fees to famous temples such as Wat Pho and Wat Phra Kaew at the glimmering Grand Palace only cost a few bucks. Ditto for boat rides along the Chao Phraya River. Even Michelin-rated meals won’t put you over budget. Craving a little R&R? Spa treatments are a fraction of what you’d spend in the United States.

MUU Bangkok : Situated in the trendy Thong Lo district, MUU Bangkok puts couples in the heart of the action and provides a chic, cozy base to return to that’s elegant and easy on the wallet.

SO/ Bangkok : Rising high above the city, SO/ Bangkok oozes a seductive, adult tenor with plenty of playful exuberance that’s palpable at the vibrant, poolside rooftop bar (the perfect spot for a nightcap), restaurants and guest rooms.

Nysa Hotel Bangkok : At the Nysa Hotel Bangkok, $90 gets you a serene place to sleep surrounded by the vibrancy and bustle of the Thai capital. Rooms are hemmed in a soothing palette of watery hues to instill a sense of calm.

About Lindsay Cohn, Your Budget Vacations For Couples Guide

I'm a travel journalist with over a decade of professional experience writing, editing, and jet-setting. My passion for seeing the world has taken me to 46 countries across six continents—and counting. Whether exploring somewhere new or returning to a familiar favorite, I’m always vetting the best boutique hotels, wine bars, and juice shops. When I'm not writing, you can find me doing yoga, hanging with my sons, and planning trips to the many destinations on my ever-growing bucket list. In addition to Forbes Vetted, my work has appeared on Travel + Leisure, Veranda, InsideHook, The Zoe Report, Hotels Above Par, ELLE Decor, Condé Nast Traveler, Tripadvisor, Well+Good, PureWow and more.

Lindsay Cohn

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Australia's first long-range Triton maritime surveillance drone set to arrive amid concerns over boat arrivals

MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System

The first of at least four new large, unmanned surveillance aircraft ordered from the United States is due to arrive in the Northern Territory late on Saturday where it will soon play a key role in monitoring unauthorised maritime arrivals to the north.

Following months of test flights, the Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton — dubbed AUS 1 — flew out of a Californian Naval Air Station on Thursday on a flight via Wake Island before heading to its new home at Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Tindal.

Roughly the size of a 737 aircraft, the Triton drones will eventually be piloted remotely by the RAAF from the Edinburgh Air Base outside Adelaide to assist the Australian Border Force with maritime patrols as well as other military surveillance roles.

Last year Defence Industry Minister Pat Conroy confirmed the purchase of Australia's fourth MQ-4C Triton as part of a $1.5 billion boost to RAAF capability, despite the US Navy recently halting production of the expensive unmanned platform.

On Friday radar tracking data confirmed "AUS 1" — flying under the call sign "SCORE47" — had departed from the Point Mugu Naval Air Station and was headed across the Pacific on its delivery flight to Australia.

A radar map of the Pacific showing a mark near Half Moon Bay, California

The long-range surveillance drone's scheduled arrival late on Saturday night comes as authorities grapple with a number of recent unauthorised boat arrivals that have made it into Australian waters , and even the mainland, undetected.

Critics of the Triton say the aircraft, which operates at an altitude upwards of 50,000 feet, is particularly vulnerable to enemy attack and not capable of monitoring small wooden people-smuggling vessels, a claim hotly disputed by backers of the program.

The aircraft has the ability to survey tens of thousands of square kilometres in a single 28-hour mission, while providing visual and electronic data back in real time, and will be primarily deployed to monitor Australia's northern maritime approaches.

Australia first expressed interest in acquiring the Triton more than 20 years ago, with the platform based on the RQ-4B Global Hawk flown by the US Air Force, Japan and NATO, but optimised for maritime reconnaissance missions.

Ahead of the arrival of Australia's first MQ-4C, the head of Air Force Capability, Air Vice-Marshal Wendy Blyth, said RAAF pilots and crews had already been busy training on the platform in the United States.

"These personnel received the same training as their USN counterparts and gained valuable experience to ensure that Air Force is able to deploy the MQ-4C Triton effectively," she said.

Pentagon's top AUKUS adviser quits post after two years

The Pentagon's most senior adviser and coordinator for AUKUS has quit his role overseeing the military partnership between Australia, the United Kingdom and United States.

Abraham Denmark, who has been in the position since July 2022, has not disclosed what his next job will be.

He wrote on social media: "While my departure is bittersweet, I am excited for the future of AUKUS."

Abe Denmark addresses media at Fleet Base West, Rockingham, WA

Speaking at a press briefing, Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh said Mr Denmark had played a key role in helping Australia to eventually acquire nuclear-powered submarines.

"He was a key architect of the AUKUS Pillar One optimal pathway announced by the president and the prime ministers, and instrumental in developing advanced capability cooperation in AUKUS Pillar Two," Ms Singh said.

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  1. Family Sailing Holidays in Thailand › Sailing Phuket

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  2. Living on a Sailboat in Thailand! Ep.31

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