Top four luxury yacht charter destinations in South East Asia
by Stewart Campbell
Luxury yacht charters in South East Asia are on the increase year on year, the reason behind this is simply there is nowhere else that expertly blends a taste of the exotic with 1000’s of relatively unexplored, accessible islands. Choose from the sundrenched islands of Indonesia, or maybe the history and culture of relatively unexplored Myanmar, or the exotic cuisine of Thailand and its islands. Each one of these destinations boast perfect white sand beaches fringed by the clear, azure waters of the region; all have tasty local dishes infused in a blend of spices and all offer off-the-beaten-track travel where it is quite possible not to see another soul on your superyacht vacation.
Decide how you want to spend your time and then plot your yacht charter itinerary.
Best for island-hopping
Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Despite being much closer to Thailand, the bulk of this archipelago belongs to India, while some of the smaller northern islands belong to Myanmar. The northern European winter is the perfect time to go. The 572 islands are a mega yacht cruising paradise, offering stunning beaches, secluded uninhabited islands and a dramatic volcanic backdrop.
The only airport in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is located at the capital, Port Blair. The best air access is via the Indian cities of Chennai and Kolkata
Expect rain-free weather in the island chain between November and March
Big Fish through Y.CO
Best for anchorages
This sprawling country is still emerging onto the super yacht charter scene, and will only become more established as people discover just how beautiful and varied the area’s 17,000 islands can be. This is a true diver’s paradise, with the islands of Raja Ampat particularly offering the kind of coral reefs and warm seas that make you want to spend more time underwater than above it. But it’s not all about diving off remote coves. Bali is a popular cultural diversion and the volcanic landscape means there’s plenty to see from the sundeck during your Indonesian yacht charter.
Bali and Jakarta are the best major airports, with a private jet or helicopter the best bet from there to reach the more remote areas of Indonesia.
The northern winter coincides with rainy season, but consider a charter in October or March and you should be blessed with warm, dry weather
Super yacht Lamina through Camper & Nicholsons
Best for biodiversity
Much of the Thailand yacht charter action shifts to Phuket and surrounds from November to March, which means above all one thing: Phang Nga Bay. Towering limestone pillars, crystal clear waters and postcard scenery mean you’ll be going through camera batteries like suncream. Phuket and Patong offer a hedonistic aside, but escapism is on offer too, with lagoons to tuck the tender into and stilted fishing villages for the crew to buy fresh seafood.
Good connections are available from many major European cities to Phuket, or you could fly to Bangkok, which is even easier to get to
Stable temperatures around 30°C make Christmas one of the best times to charter a luxury yacht in Thailand, and the northeast monsoon will stop you baking
Luxury yacht Calisto through Camper & Nicholsons.
Best for photography
The opening up of Myanmar politically presents incredible opportunities for yacht charter in this almost unknown cruising ground. This secretive nation has a vast coastline, stretching from deep in the Andaman Sea in the south up to its border with Bangladesh, with enough variety to keep you coast-hopping for your entire holiday. An easy start to your Myanmar yacht charter is a tour of the Mergui Archipelago, a paradise of 800 islands, coral reefs and transparent water that, due to Myanmar’s isolation, can truly carry the adjective ‘untouched’.
Aim for Phuket in Thailand and then consider a seaplane or helicopter ride to Ranong on the Thailand coast, a gateway to the Mergui Archipelago
The best time to visit Myanmar is between October and February, when temperatures aren’t outrageous and rainfall is moderate
Yacht Belle Aimee through Jim Webster