The shores of South-East Asia are seeing an enormous boost in yacht charter, predominantly due to their clear and calm waters and stunning beaches, reminiscent of those one would find in the Mediterranean.
This area of the world is home to some spectacular scenery and if you travel by superyacht across the Andaman Sea, you will be able to visit no less than four countries. Waiting to be discovered are the delights in Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma) and Indonesia. South-East Asia has waters that would feel like uncharted territory, with remote places offering peaceful isolation and adventures abound for a family ready to take the plunge into the relatively unknown.
Langkawi Island in Malaysia was given a World Geopark status by UNESCO in 2007. The main conservation areas in Langkawi Geopark are Machincang Cambrian Geoforest Park, Kilim Karst Geoforest Park and Dayang Bunting Marble Geoforest park (Island of the Pregnant Maiden Lake) - all breathtaking places to take children exploring.
There are also two main island areas: the Southern Islands, which have a busier tourist population and the islands to the north east which are much more secluded. Langun Island has a fresh-water lake like Pregnant Maiden Lake - only without the tourist crowds and has the south-facing Sand Spit Beach.
Just adjacent is Dendang Island and is popular with Langkawi sailing yacht tour operators as it is calm and peaceful, not to mention beautiful.
It is the bays that provide the true magnetism to this place, fine white sand, not a footprint in sight, lightly lapped by shallow turquoise water. It might just be paradise
In Thailand, the seasons play a large part in how successful a yacht charter will be. The north-east monsoon delivers perfect conditions for yacht charter within the Koh Chang Archipelago that consists of more than 50 islands offering sheltered harbors in which to drop anchor. This is still a relatively new area for yacht charter and so there will be points when you can have complete solitude. At other points, yachts can anchor just off from one of many sumptuous resorts, offering the best in Thai massage and cuisine.
Sailing conditions are very comfortable and fun and therefore make for a perfect family vacation. This location can also be paired with an overland trip to the ancient site of Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
Further south is Krabi where the Ritz-Carlton’s Phulay Bay hotel offers a children's package that includes a day of sailing through the Andaman Sea’s Trang Archipelago. There is also the Petit Chef program and is specifically aimed at children aged between five and 11. It is led by Phulay Bay resort chefs and incorporates a tour of the resort’s organic garden, where children can pick ingredients and learn about the benefits of home-grown produce. It is then followed by a tour of the kitchen and a cooking lesson which results in the young chefs preparing a Thai dinner for their parents to enjoy.
The south-west monsoon brings with it brief but unsurpassed sailing conditions to Koh Samui and the neighbouring islands of Koh Phangan, Koh Tao and the Ang Thong Marine Park.
While Koh Samui is renowned for its island spa resorts, the cruising areas around it are again, relatively secret. The Ang Thong Marine Park is a yachting 'must do' with its limestone atolls and breathtaking scenery. It won't take long before it is discovered in greater number.
It has only been in very recent times that Myanmar has opened itself up to pleasure boats. Before this, the area was virtually off limits and the only vessels you would see moving on the water would be small boats, captained by the Moken people, nomads whose home was their boat. The Mergui Archipelago, that consists of some 800 islands that are largely uninhabited, was really only known to local fishing fleets, some traders and the Moken nomads. Tourists were about as far away as you can get.
Yet, the islands of the archipelago come out of the water, steep and rocky and covered in tall and very dense forests - forests that have remained untouched, possibly for thousands of years. But it is the bays that provide the true magnetism to this place, fine white sand, not a footprint in sight, lightly lapped by shallow turquoise water. It might just be paradise.
Boats are now permitted to anchor in the bay of Kyun Tann Shey (Lampi Island). From here, the visit to paradise can commence, seeing the Mergui Archipelago in all its glory. Myanmar is emerging from a long period in isolation and much needed investment is coming ino the country. It will not be long before it becomes a tourist hotspot, so try and capture the unspoilt parts while you can.
Superyacht Scame is a 72-foot wooden cutter with three double cabins and six berths, which is perfect for families of up to six people. This beautiful yacht has been sailing around the world for the past 35 years, almost continuously in operation, but now it is part of Burma's official boating fleet, located in the Mergui Archipelago. The yacht also has a crew of four to look after guests on board.
Indonesia has a vast expanse of surrounding waters to choose from when it comes to yacht charter. There are more than 17,000 islands within the archipelago making it the largest island group in the world and therefore boasts an extensive coastline to explore. It covers approximately 5,200 kilometres and stretches all the way down the tropic latitudes until it virtually meets the northern tip of Australia.
Indonesia is diverse in its culture with approximately 500 languages and dialects spoken with a very rich seafaring history that dates back to the famed spice trade and beyond. The ports of Ambon, Makassar, Jakarta and Bali are gateways to discovering more of the country and while both Java and Bali are particularly well-known travel destinations that embrace the tourist crowds, there is also Flores and Irian Jaya that have thousands of undisturbed remote and tiny virgin islands, just waiting to be found in blissful isolation on board a yacht.
As far as chartering a yacht is concerned, the Amandira is a traditional 171-foot Phinisi ship which combines modern yacht amenities with an ancient spice-trade sailing boat for cruises around the Indonesian Archipelago. It was recently launched in May 2015, and will provide two expeditions; Komodo (exploring the protected Komodo National Park) and Raja Ampat which is an area of fine coral reefs.
The ship accommodates guests in three spacious cabin-suites, all with king-sized beds and private bathrooms while the main deck is fitted with spacious day lounges. An air-conditioned lounge provides further space for reading and indoor dining and there two cabins are fitted with twin bunk style suites which make it accessible for families.
A luxury yacht charter to South-East Asia incorporating one or all of these destinations is perfect for the adventurous family and those seeking to find new experiences and be taken to places where you could say with fact, that you are the only souls at that particular place in the world.
To start planning your luxury yacht charter, contact your preferred yacht charter broker.
And to whet the appetite, aside from those mentioned here, take a look at all the other boats currently available for a South-East Asia luxury yacht charter.