There are few things in life more enjoyable than coasting along crystal-clear tropical waters, watching white-sand beaches pass you by as you lie back in your comfortable lounge chair on an expansive sundeck. This is life aboard a yacht – luxurious and languid, your worries slipping away into the ocean as you’re pampered and cared for by a full crew, each destination blending seamlessly into the one before it. Travel is a true joy aboard a luxury vessel just about anywhere you go, but there are five Asian yachting destinations that stand out to us in particular: the Alor Archipelago, Indonesia’s stunning group of remote islands in its eastern Lesser Sunda region; the Maldives, the archipelago playground of the rich and famous; Mergui, Myanmar’s little-known islands nestled into a corner of the azure Andaman sea; Nongsa and Nikoi, two of Indonesia’s spectacular island gems off the coast of Singapore; and the Philippines, with its pristine Palawan chain waiting to be explored.
Alor Archipelago, Indonesia
Indonesia is home to approximately 17,500 islands, making it one of Asia’s best yachting destinations. If time allowed for you to spend a year or two cruising the entire archipelago, we would encourage the expedition, but since most people’s schedule allows for only a few weeks away at a time, the Alor Archipelago represents some of the best of Indonesia’s remote, untouched, paradisiacal islands. You’ll have the chance to swim amidst vibrant coral reefs, surrounded by animated schools of colorful fish, hike an active volcano and rugged, lush jungle landscape where you may spot exotic wildlife, and visit a traditional village where you can learn about the local way of life. What’s more – the diving here is world-class, with whales passing through in certain seasons, along with other sealife including the frog fish, Blue Ribbon Eel, leaf fish, Harlequin ghost pipe fish, and pygmy seahorses.
Sounds amazing right? Check out our eight-day Alor Archipelago cruise itinerary, which incorporates all these activities and more, aboard a fully-equipped private luxury yacht.
The Maldives is one of those destinations begging to be explored by boat. With mobile accommodation, you’ll be able to hop from North Male Atoll, to Reethi Rah, Baa Atoll, South Atoll and more, while taking in all of the incredible surroundings along the way. The Maldives is a watery playground, perfect for jet skiing, diving, snorkeling, and swimming in turquoise waters teeming with neon-colored sealife, all which can be done from your luxury yacht, which can park where you please, stopping at luxurious island destinations along the way where you can be pampered at top-of-the-line places like One&Only Reethi Rah and Soneva Fushi, enjoying their five-star facilities on land before returning to the supreme comfort of your luxury vessel, which will rock you to sleep under the glow of the moon.
If this sounds like the trip of a lifetime to you, check out our seven-day Cruising in Style Through the Maldives itinerary. You’ll luxuriate aboard an ultramodern private yacht by Italian designer Azimut, complete with full crew, chef, and Scuba diving instructor, as you coast between the country’s world-famous atolls.
Tucked away into the far southern corner of Myanmar, the Mergui archipelago is home to some of the world’s best diving, attributable to the rest of the world’s ignorance of its very existence. Here, visitors will discover over 800 beautiful islands, inhabited by sea gypsies (also known as Moken) who live a traditional way of life that is at one with the water. Having been opened up for tourism in 1997, many of the islands are still completely untouched, and waiting to be explored. Due to the area’s isolation, very few hotels and resorts exist on the islands, so the best way to experience Mergui is aboard a luxury yacht. You’ll explore such famous dive sites as Honor Rock, High Rock, and Shark Rock, where you’ll encounter exotic underwater life, easily visible in the crystal waters, including seahorses and sharks.
If you’d like to be one of the first to explore Mergui’s incredible archipelago, have a look at our five-day Lost Islands of Mergui itinerary – a diver’s dream, with day and night dives in some of Southeast Asia’s best sites, including a cave dive with reef sharks, as well as kayaking through lush mangroves.
Nongsa and Nikoi, Singapore/Indonesia
Off the coast of Singapore lie two of Indonesia’s most stunning, remote islands – Nongsa and Nikoi, part of the country’s Riau islands. Nongsa, at the northeastern peninsula of Bantam island just 40 minutes from Singapore, offers tranquil beaches and verdant surroundings. Nikoi is just slightly farther, just a few miles off the coast of Bintan island. This private island features a pristine coastline rimmed with huge white boulders appearing to defy gravity, while a lush, tropical rainforest with native Banyan trees makes up the inner island landscape. Make the most of these island gems as you cruise around them aboard a luxury yacht, occasionally diving in the azure waters to check out the animated life beneath the sea, and enjoying the remote, tropical surroundings – these two islands make the perfect escape from bustling Singapore’s city life.
If you’d like to try out this Singapore escape, our Nikoi and Nongsa cruise itinerary contains five delightful days aboard a luxury yacht, weaving in and out of the idyllic islands before returning to the big city.
Diving in the Philippines
The Philippines is a stunning island nation ideally explored by boat. Its north, bursting at the seams with culture and history, possesses rugged landscapes with mountains and volcanoes, including Mt Pinatubo and the Taal volcano. Its southern islands are home to unsurpassed natural beauty, surrounded by crystal waters, and brimming with vibrant sealife. A cruise that winds its way through the islands that make up the Philippines is a holiday that approaches perfection, with highlights that include diving at the Apo Reef, considered one of the world’s best dive sites, and relaxing on the isolated beaches of the rarely-visited Tara islands.
Our 17-day Culture & Diving in the Philippine Islands itinerary combines culture and history with thrilling water activities in the Philippines’ best coastal areas. Diving, hiking, relaxing, snorkeling, and kayaking are among the exciting activities you can expect on this epic adventure through some of Southeast Asia’s most pristine waters.