One of the best ways to explore South East Asia is by luxury yacht charter. We take a closer look at cruising the region's spectacular waters on a South East Asia charter.
South East Asia is approximately three times the size of the Mediterranean and, a melting pot of exotic cultures and multiple island chains, the captivating region offers a rich palette of cruising opportunities for the discerning traveler.
A relative newcomer on the superyacht scene, this vast area has seen an increase in the number of people chartering in its waters over the past few years as well the number of luxury charter yachts available.
These cruising grounds also serve as an alternative to the popular hotspots of the Caribbean. Both are best visited over the winter months, yet South East Asia is much more suited to those who wish to get off the beaten track for a more exclusive and exciting yacht charter experience.
A long-time favorite among the jet set, Thailand is leading the way for southeast Asia’s burgeoning charter market and, laced with an abundance of beautiful beaches, secluded coves and azure waters, it’s clear to see why the country has transformed into the region’s yachting hub.
Lapped by the glittering waters of the Andaman Sea, Phuket is the gateway to superyacht charters on Thailand’s west coast. Discover the sheer limestone karsts of nearby Phang Nga Bay, sail south to explore hundreds of uninhabited islands or head northwest to the colourful archipelago of the Similan Islands before reaching the five Surin Islands that make up the Mu Koh Surin National Park.
The cruising options, however, do not end here. Less frequented by charter yachts, but similarly beautiful, is the Gulf of Thailand where the blissful islands of Koh Samui, Koh Tao, Koh Phangnan and Koh Chang offer endless adventure and romance.
The perfect destination for discerning sailors, the extraordinary waters of Myanmar present the rare opportunity to traverse unexplored territory and spend the duration of your vacation without encountering any other human life.
Superyacht activity here tends to center on the southern Mergui Archipelago, home to a collection of 800 pristine islands characterized by rainforest-clad mountain ranges and white beaches. Truly off the tourist trail, the region is replete with fascinating underwater life as well as jungle-dwelling wildlife.
Truly off the tourist trail, the region is replete with fascinating underwater life as well as jungle-dwelling wildlife
Lacking the yachting infrastructure of Thailand, Myanmar charters often commence in Phuket, yet there is a selection of fine charter yachts with the appropriate licences.
Indonesia, the world’ largest archipelago, stretches over 5,000 kilometres between Asia and Australia. The country’s 17,000 islands are home to some of the most unspoiled environments on earth and offer a diverse selection of charter opportunities.
An up-and-coming charter destination, the island chain is gradually being recognized as a haven for those who wish to escape the tourist trail. The areas most suited to superyacht exploration are the Lesser Sunda Islands of Lombok, Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Sumbawa. All are resplendent in natural beauty and are endowed with their own unique character.
There is also the 1,500 island-strong archipelago of Raja Ampat, located in the West Papua province. Incorporating the four main islands of Misool, Salawati, Batanta and Waigeo, the region is also home to 75 percent of all known coral species and a magnificent range of other marine life.
Charter yachts in Indonesia will add to the authentic feel of your cruising experience as they take inspiration from traditional Indonesian vessels
Malaysia is not so well known for its superyacht opportunities, but this is not to say that they don’t exist. In fact, a number of world-class marinas call the country home and, in recent years, there has been a sharp spike in tourism with the charter industry expected to follow suit.
A luxury yacht charter in Malaysia is most likely to center on Langkawi, a collection of 99 islands synonymous with paradise. Located off the northeast coast of the peninsular, the archipelago boasts modern facilities and is in easy reach of the colorful, cultural and cuisine-centric island of Penang.
Not to be forgotten are the less well-known islands of the east coast laced in the turquoise waters of the South China Sea, while the waters of Kota Kinabalu and Sipidan in Malaysian Borneo are ideal for sailing and, on land, guests can come face-to-face with Orangutans and other spectacular wildlife.
An island nation located off the southern tip of Malaysia, Singapore offers a unique charter experience. At its hub is the main island of Pulau Ujong, which is well-suited to host day charters as well as corporate yacht charters around the waterways of Singapore City.
Take in glittering cityscapes of the urban playground or venture further afield to take in the country’s other 62 islands. Featuring gleaming Buddhist temples and an exotic array of flora and fauna, it is well worth adventuring beyond the city.
In close proximity to Malaysia and Indonesia, a visit to Singapore is easily incorporated into a larger itinerary of South East Asia and, as a modern metropolis, is equipped with the appropriate superyacht facilities and hosts the annual Singapore Yacht Show in the spring.
The second-largest archipelago on the planet, the Philippines is a yacht lover’s paradise with 7,600 islands to explore. Much of the charter activity takes place in the south of the island-chain, rife with sun-kissed gems such as Puerto Galera, Boracay, Coron, Puerto, Princesa and Cebu to explore.
Dive aficionados will love the rich marine life and world-class dive sites on offer and the waters are well suited for a variety of water sports, while all will be mesmerized by stunning vistas of fine, white sand beaches and jungle-clad mountain tops.
The north of the Philippines are worth a visit too as intricate rice terraces carved into mountainsides are one of Asia’s must-see sights. In fact, the Banaue Rice Terraces are often dubbed the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’.