Frequently Asked Questions
Charter cruises onboard the AJAO motor yacht cover a number of destinations in three different countries. Each individual country differs slightly by facilities, as well as general rules and regulations; any of which could have an effect on your Charter experience.
The FAQ section provides you with as much necessary travel advice as possible for the Charter destination that you are interested in. In each of the sections below, you will find general travel advice such as how to get to your destination, flight information, visa information, air/water temperature, time zone information, health advice, cultural information and much more.
Furthermore, in each FAQ section, you will also find more specific travel advice related to Servicecorp Co., Ltd. This covers areas from what to bring with you on your trip, how dives are conducted, how the food is like, and information about whether and when any extra costs will be required and/or charged while on board your Charter trip.
All you have to do is to choose which Charter destination you are interested in and click on the, for you, relevant FAQ section below.
We hereby hope to be able to provide as many answers as possible upfront with this FAQ and Travel Advice section for each respective Charter destination.
If you however still should have unanswered questions, please do not hesitate to contact Servicecorp Co., Ltd.
Travel Advice and Charter FAQ: Thailand
The vast majority of Thailand is land stretched to the north, but the peninsular to the south, that is bordered to Malaysia, is where the real diving and exploring opportunities lie.
On the west side of this peninsula lays Phuket, ‘the Jewel of the Andaman’.
Phuket is the largest Thai island. At approximately 49 km. in length and 21 km. in width, the island nestles in the tropical zone, off the west coast of mainland Thailand, approximately 860 km. south of Thailand’s capital Bangkok.
In this prime spot, Phuket has something for everybody! Rocky limestone cliffs, lush green hills blanketed in tropical rainforest, powdery-white beaches and serene, tranquil turquoise bays. Fine dining, quality shopping, exclusive villa resorts to budget guesthouses, endless activities. All of this, and of course access to some of the world’s top diving destinations, means visitors keep returning year after year!
For up to date tourist information see the Official Site for Tourism in Thailand.
Crime and the Police
As in almost all countries, pick-pocketing happens in crowded areas such as bus and rail stations, tourist spots, and busy gatherings (festivals and bars), so watching your belongings in these above-mentioned areas would be a wise choice. It is not unknown for things to go missing from hotel rooms, but by the same token it IS very unusual. Thai staff is very polite and honest. By taking sensible precautions however, you should have no problems at all while in Thailand.
It is also worth noting that drugs are very much to be avoided in Thailand. The government has a very vocal and well known harsh system for dealing with people it considers to be involved in this business (including their infamous ‘shoot now ask later’ system from several years ago), and penalties are very strong.
If you are involved in any kind of incident, then the police must be informed (ideally at the tourist police). As stated in ‘Simple Etiquette’ below, when dealing with the police, at all times it is advised to remain calm and polite in order to get the best help and cooperation possible.
How do I get to Thailand and Phuket? Flying to Thailand and Phuket
Phuket Island also has an International airport, with at least five flights a day (this varies from high-season to low-season) arriving from Bangkok year-round. Phuket also welcomes planes from Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, and even Europe to its airport.
If you have a connecting flight to Phuket, then it can depart from Suvarnabhumi, or from the old international airport of Don Mueang (airport code DMK, which is now purely domestic). Please check your tickets, transfer times, and lay-over times between flights as passage between the two airports can be time consuming.
Thailand has a number of discount and budget domestic airlines which can be good, as long as you don’t want to change your travel plans. You can save 50% or more using these carriers, if you book early but keep in mind that they usually limit your luggage weight to 15kg or 33lbs. For many guests this is simply not enough and by the time you pay the overweight fees, they may not end up saving any money at all.
To check flights with the main carriers into, and out of Phuket, check the following links:
- Thai Airways
- Bangkok Air
- Air Asia
- Emirates Airlines
- Qatar Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- China Airlines
Note: It is strongly advised that you arrive in Phuket at least one day prior to boat departures in order to avoid potential problems, and to allow you time to acclimatize before heading out on the trip. Also remember the ’24 hours after diving’ rule when booking your return flights.
Do I need to arrange a hotel in Phuket?
Do I need a visa to enter Thailand?
What is the electricity supply in Thailand?
What is the currency in Thailand and how do I pay?
Where can I eat and how is the food?
There is a wide variety of Thai food available almost everywhere, and contrary to popular belief, it is not all that spicy. There are many curries available and they can be spicy, though a simple request for “not too spicy” will make it more than bearable to the western palate. Northern curries tend to be milder, with ‘Massaman’ being a particular favorite.
Seafood is also a very popular choice when in Phuket, and that for obvious reasons. Seafood in Thailand is very reasonably priced compared to western standard. Most seafood is generally fresh and well-cooked. You may however want to take the sensible precaution and stay away from shellfish, if you have lots of traveling to do the day after.
What will the weather be like during my visit?
Daytime diving is possible all year round, though the Charter season is restricted to the ‘dry’ and ‘hot’ seasons; often referred to as high season. Below is an example of a typical high season’s weather in the Phuket area.
November: Fair weather, end of SW monsoon, pleasant temperatures.
December: Sunny, not much wind, occasional rainfall, generally calm seas.
January: Sunny, a little windy, clear water, pleasant temperatures.
February: Same as January, but getting warmer.
March & April: End of NE monsoon, hot, humid, calm seas, plankton.
May: Hot, humid, start of SW monsoon, plankton, occasional squalls at night.
Please note, the above table is not a forecast!
For up to date weather in Phuket check out the Thai Weather Forecast.
Air and Water Temperatures
Water temperature in the Andaman Sea averages around 27°C to 30°C (80°F – 86°F), very pleasant although sometimes thermo clines occur. A 3mm short wetsuit is normally enough, though with 4 dives per day you may want to think about a full length suit particularly if you are sensitive to the cold. Please contact the office a week or so prior to the trip for current water temperatures if you are concerned.
What should I wear?
Water temperature in the Andaman Sea averages around 27°C to 30°C (80°F – 86°F), very pleasant although sometimes thermo clines occur. A 3mm short wetsuit is normally advised, though with 4 dives per day, you may want to think about a full length wetsuit, particularly if you are sensitive to the cold.
Please contact us a week or so prior to the trip for current water temperatures, if you should find yourself concerned.
What about health precautions?
Also, be sure to wash regularly and wear light, loose clothing made from natural fibers as heat rash and fungal infections for visitors are not unusual in this humidity.
What is the religious stance in Thailand?
Also, do not point your feet at people, especially monks or representations of Buddha, as this seen as highly disrespectful; as is touching adults on the top of their heads.
If you are in a situation that leads you to be in contact with the police for ANY reason whatsoever, you must at all times remain calm and respectful. Raising your voice, displaying anger, and making demands will get you nowhere. In fact, it will probably make matters worse, no matter whether it is your fault or not. Good humor and patience will get you a long way in any situation.
Telephone and Internet Services
Shopping and Bargaining
Tailors are also very popular in Phuket, and rightly so.
Within 24-48 hours you can have a bespoke dress, shirt, coat, or suits made in the material of your choice at an incredibly low price!
There are also, genuine, traditional Thai wares available outside of the resorts, especially in Phuket City. These include wood carvings, teak ware, porcelain, paintings, and Buddha imagery. Thai silk products are very popular too, with outlets such as the legendary Jim Thompson now available in Phuket. If you want something that is traditionally ‘Phuket’, look out for pearls, tin, and pewter ware.
Jewelry is also very popular in Phuket, with gold, diamonds, and colored gems particularly prevalent. Be aware when buying, since authentic gems should come with a certificate that states the value of the object, and a statement of its value. If this is not present, and you are not in the business yourself, you should be very careful. Servicecorp Co., Ltd. is happy to arrange a trip to a reputable firm for those that requests it, as to ensure that you would deal with a trustworthy business.
Contrary to popular belief most establishments will not engage in bargaining, or ‘haggling’, for goods, and prices are set. This is especially true in such places as pharmacies, bars, supermarkets, department stores, public transport, and restaurants. Elsewhere, in places like jewelry stores, and with street vendors, bargaining is almost part of the game. Simple rules include keeping the bargaining friendly and remembering exactly how much you are haggling over.
Getting angry or drawing the haggling on for too long over small amounts will be met with irritation.
The best way to see if you are getting value for money is to be prepared to walk away.
If you are not followed, then the vendor really isn’t willing to drop his price any further. In that case, have a think and go back later to buy.
We hope that we with this FAQ could answer to the most common question that you have had prior to your trip. Should you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate getting in touch with us!