Tuesday 7 March 2017

Thailand - Check In / Check Out at Ao Chalong (Phuket) and a Tuk Tuk driver 2017

The sign on the door (sorry about the shading).
Checking in and checking out of Thailand at Ao Chalong is a painless process for a few reasons. First of all - all the services you need are in the one location and secondly the process has been streamlined and is very efficient. Please note that if you do no have an MMSI you can not check in.

** As at March 2017 the online system to register your yacht & crew's details was not working you must go to the office to register.

Phuket Yacht Control Center building..
The building is called the Phuket Yacht Control Center (PYCC) and is at the end of Chalong Pier, it opens at 9am. We found the best way to get to the PYCC was by dingy. There is a tender dock provided which brings its own complexities but worth using. Lock everything on and lock on the tender on to a cleat.

There are bins provided at the top of the walkway. Please do not dump your rubbish in the piles that seem to accumulate on the dingy dock. Even though the dingy dock needs you take care, there are lots of trip hazards but its very handy. If you take your tender right to the beach you have a fairly decent walk to go back up to the office and the tide goes out a very long way - you need high tide to get in and out at the beach.

This is Chalong pier looking from the road side - its very long. That's the PYCC building right up the very end.
The steps are simple:

  1. Have at lease 4 copies each of: passports for Captain and crew, crew lists and ship registration papers. If you are checking in take photos of your vessel and passport photos.
  2. Have all your documentation in a folder ready to go
  3. Know your MMSI number
  4. Be neat and tidy, take a cool drink and patience (they are very busy)
  5. Due to not being able to register electronically we had to go to the first door (where the sign above is displayed) and log on via their computers and register our details
  6. Then walk up the steps and go see the Harbour Master 
  7. Then go next door to the Immigration
  8. (If your checking in you also need to go see Quarantine - who are next door)
  9. Then next door again to Customs.
The Chalong Pier look out.
The service is available 7 days a week but if you check in/out on the weekend you will pay extra. For example when we checked out in March 2017 we paid 200 baht to both immigration and customs. If we had of done this on the weekend, we would have paid 1000 baht for each service (2000 baht).

Fuel and Water barge.
Interesting to note in Ao Chalong there is a fuel and water barge available in the bay. However, it doesn't look like a barge. You can pull along either side, but go in your dingy first. We didn't do this as we did not need this service. Check the water is suitable for drinking before you fill your tank/s.

While in Ao Chalong we often used the same driver and his tuk tuk. His name is Danai and can be reached on 082 270 2110. His English is a little scratchy but we all managed and had loads of laughs in the process. If we needed somewhere specific eg. Rolly Tasker's Sail loft, I took along the phone number for him to call someone so he could liaise in Thai - we always got to our destination and Danai is a very safe & slow driver. 

To share the cost of travelling with Danai is interesting. He will not quote, he will let you decide what you think is fair. We had never come across this method before. As an example: we hired him from Makro shopping center back to Chalong Pier (right down to the PYCC) and he went to the service station for us, 4 people, loads of shopping and we paid him 100 baht per person. Another day we hired Danai to take us to Rolly Tuskers Sail loft, we took approximately 2.5 hours and paid him 500 baht plus 100 baht tip (our choice), there was 4 of us in the tuk tuk plus a sail on the way back. Another time we hired him to take us to the Big Buddha & back to Rolly Taskers (we forgot to buy something) and where gone approximately 4 hours and paid him 600 baht.

Sunrise over Ao Chalong Bay.

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