Vrit Yongsakul's favourite yachting destinations in Southeast Asia
Singapore Yacht Show 2017
1. Phuket and Krabi, Thailand
Considered to be the best sailing destination in Southeast Asia due to its extensive coastline, lush islands and beautiful rock formations, the islands of Thailand may each offer a unique beach but they share the pristine waters and tranquility. Phuket is perfect for sailing enthusiasts who want to escape the busy life and enjoy exotic fauna and flora, hidden coves and bays, while Krabi is perfect for its famous sea-mountain scenery and amazing clear waters for fine snorkeling and diving.
2. Phang Nga Bay, Thailand
With its stunning topography of rock formations and sheer-sided limestone cliffs climbing vertically out of calm turquoise waters. This area is a marine national park, so the scenery is picturesque, the water is clear and the beaches are idyllic. With a natural shelter provided by the island of Phuket, the sailing is safe all year round. Most of the islands are uninhabited and offer innumerable caves, creeks, hidden lagoons and mangrove swamps to explore in kayaks and dinghies.
The bay is also home to Ko Tapu, better known as James Bond Island, which shot to fame as part of the 1974 James Bond film, The Man with the Golden Gun. Yachts can be anchored at nearby Koh Yang and a long tail boat can be taken to Sea Gypsy Island for lunch. This village is built over water entirely on rafts and stilts, with a huge rock monolith standing guard behind it.
3. Phi Phi Islands, Thailand
One of the 'must-visit' destinations in the region, with its spectacular cliffs diving into the clear blue sea are the superstar islands of Thailand — Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Le. The snorkeling, swimming, and diving at Phi Phi island can only be described as flawless and unrivalled. One can climb on the limestone for an unforgettable view of the stunning beaches, palm trees and blue sparkling waters.
4. Perhentian Islands, Malaysia
Located around ten nautical miles from the north-eastern coast of West Malaysia, the Perhentian Islands are populated by an abundance of sea turtles and placid sharks. With a visibility of 10 to 20 metres, diving conditions are generally fantastic. For less experienced divers, the waters fringing the beaches are just as ideal for a spot of snorkelling. With plenty to see in shallower waters, charterers of all ages are sure to be mesmerised.
5. Sabah, Malaysia
The cruising grounds off the coast of Sabah offer something for everyone — from West to East, the state is surrounded by idyllic and picturesque islands. On the West coast just off Kota Kinabalu lies Tangjung Aru, a small tranquil island where one can find few high-end resorts with relaxing beaches.
One of the main attractions in Sabah is the world class diving found off the state's East coast, namely Sipadan, which has gained worldwide recognition due to its unique geographical features, incredibly diverse underwater ecosystems. The surrounding islands of Mabul and Kapalai also offer excellent diving conditions, countless tropical fish species and well-conditioned soft and hard corals.