BY Anna Cummins on 20 Apr 2023

Here are five somewhat lesser-known cruising grounds in Asia-Pacific that are perfect for your next yacht charter

Are you seeking to explore some of the lesser-known cruising destinations aboard your yacht in the Asia-Pacific?

The Pacific and Australiasian waterways are expansive and blessed with some of the world’s most renowned and beautiful cruising grounds. But not everyone wants to follow the typical tourist trail across hotspots such as Phuket and Bali.

Here are five somewhat lesser-known cruising grounds in Asia-Pacific that are perfect for your next yacht charter:

Nha Trang, Vietnam

Nha Trang, Vietnam

Hạ Long Bay may be one of the most famous charter destinations in the world, but is often extremely busy with visitors — especially at peak season.

Sail up the coast instead to Nha Trang, a coastal city in Vietnam that boasts stunning beaches, coral reefs and clear blue waters. Yachts can bring guests to explore the nearby islands, including the Hon Mun Island Marine Protected Area, which offers world-class snorkelling and diving. Meanwhile, if your boat isn’t affording all the luxury you require, Hon Tam Island is home to the 5-star MerPerle resort and spa.

In April 2023, Vietnam’s first international standard yacht marina, Ana Marina, opened for a one-year pilot operation in Nha Trang.

Mergui Archipelago, Myanmar

Mergui Archipelago, Myanmar

The Mergui Archipelago in Myanmar (also known as the Myeik Archipelago) is a paradise for those seeking adventure and natural beauty.

The archipelago consists of over 800 islands spread throughout the Andaman Sea, with many offering untouched beaches and coral reefs to discover. With its tranquil lagoon surrounded by limestone cliffs, Salon Island is a great choice for relaxation. Nyaung Oo Phee Island offers some of the best snorkelling and diving experiences in the region, while Lampi Island (known as the Rainforest Island) is an excellent choice for hiking, thanks to its dense vegetation. 

Visitors can take a kayak or dinghy to explore the archipelago’s islands up close and dive in the pristine waters. Those interested in cultural heritage can arrange to meet people from the Moken, a tribe of Austronesian seafarers that have lived in the area for centuries.

Havelock Island, India

Havelock Island, India is one of the lesser-known cruising grounds in Asia-Pacific

The Andaman Islands are an Indian archipelago in the Bay of Bengal. The Andamans are some of the lesser-known cruising grounds in Asia-Pacific, and are generally not overrun by other boats. The Andamans can therefore offer a more serene cruising experience than many other destinations in the Asia-Pacific.

Havelock Island is one of many gems in the Andaman Islands, offering crystal-clear waters, lush forests, and white sandy beaches like Radhanagar Beach, often counted among Asia’s most beautiful.

By sailing with your own boat, you can discover secluded beaches and coves that few tourists ever get to see. Havelock Island is also home to some of the most vibrant and diverse marine life in the world, making it the perfect place for diving and snorkelling enthusiasts.

Raja Ampat, Indonesia

Raja Ampat, Indonesia is one of the lesser-known cruising grounds in Asia-Pacific

Located in Indonesia’s ‘Coral Triangle’, on the tip of Bird’s Head Peninsula on Papua, Raja Ampat is known as a holy grail destination for divers and underwater enthusiasts. The water here is filled with marine life, with over 1,500 species of fish and 600 species of coral to observe and dive among.

Raja Ampat is remote and difficult to get to via commercial transport, meaning yacht owners or those on a charter expedition will have a much easier time arriving at their destination.

Aside from diving, visitors can enjoy the secluded beaches and immerse themselves in the local culture by visiting traditional villages such as Yenbeser Village, known for its handicrafts. The village offers an opportunity to experience the daily life of the indigenous Papuan people, who have inhabited the island of Papua for over 40,000 years.

Palawan, Philippines

Palawan, Philippines is one of the lesser-known cruising grounds in Asia-Pacific

The province of Palawan is a picturesque tropical paradise that’s relatively unknown to many, with dramatic cliffs, hidden lagoons, and crystal-clear waters, Unesco refers to it as the Philippines’ “last ecological frontier.”

The Palawan Biosphere Reserve is a natural wonder comprised of over 1,700 islands. According to Unesco, the region is home to 105 out of the 475 threatened species in the Philippines. Of the 105 threatened species, 67 are endemic to the Philippines, while 42 of the 67 Philippine endemics are Palawan endemics.

Look out for the Philippine crocodile, which is estimated to have under a wild population of under 100, and the forest-dwelling Palawan hornbill.

The Asia-Pacific continues to develop rapidly, with better facilities for boaters being built to cater to the growing demands of sailors. There’s never been a better time to explore the lesser-known destinations of this diverse and vibrant region.

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