Top Notch Sailing Destinations: Southeast Asia

Halong Bay
Halong Bay in Vietnam – photo credit

Planning a dream sailing trip to vacation destinations in Asia: Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, Indonesia and India


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Sailing the waterways of the Atlantic, Pacific or even Australia is diverse enough, but how about something completely different?

The largest continent, Asia, is hard to pin down as a single travel destination. Stretching over 44,579,000 km², there are few men, historically speaking, who can say they have seen enough of it to feel mildly satisfied. It is a little easier for the sailor, but even the coastline boasts an impressive 62,800 km.

Southeast Asia is the most interesting region for private boat owners, yacht-owners, and those wishing to charter. And to make it easier to plan out a route, check out these reputable stops for your foreign sailing vacation:

James Bond Island
James Bond Island – photo credit: Joan Campderros-i-Canas

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Thailand

With fine white sand and perfect limestone cliffs, Phang Nga Bay’s landscape is almost alien, and it truly deserves the title of “Pearl of Thailand”.

The best way to experience it is via the traditional Thai long-tail boat. The islands of Thailand made their way into many movies, but the spectacular Phi Islands are also known as James Bond Islands, due to their inclusion in The Man with the Golden Gun.

Koh Samui is the second largest island in Thailand, and a great place to go for a holiday of your dreams, as it caters to travellers of all backgrounds and motivations. It is also the home to the Hin Ta and Hin Yai Rocks, odd geological formations that are a truly amusing sight from a distance. Legend has it that these rocks were once shipwrecked lovers, but the legend changes with every telling.

Myanmar

Formerly known as Burma, Myanmar is making a new name for itself, a name worth traveling to. Located north of Phuket, these 800 islands or so are dense with jungle greens, and simply teeming with life. Myanmar has plenty of natural harbours, so the anchoring is easy enough. Divers will take a particular liking to this expedition, as the sea life is teeming with undamaged corals and a plethora of tropical fish.

Vietnam

Nga Trang Beach is the most popular in the country, crowding with charter operators offering island-hopping trips Mieu, Mot, Tam and Mun. You can stop by any one of these and take on some high-quality scuba diving, if that is your deal. If not, the islands are a sight for sore eyes and a great place to go on a hike. Best of all, they are all quite close to each other, meaning that you could easily move around to your liking, island to island, beach to beach. On another note, there are plenty of tour operators working Vietnam to Cambodia cruises – it is not as hands-on and fulfilling as a piloting your own boat, but the scenery is simply to die for.

India boating
Sailing in India photo credit – nishanth jols

Indonesia

This archipelago is so huge that it will take some time in order to see all of its wonders. If you’re there by boat, the Coral islands are definitely worth the visit. Surfing or scuba diving at Lombok, Sumatra, and Flores are highly recommended.

If you like stepping off your deck and immersing yourself into exotic wildlife, Komodo Island, home of the famous Komodo dragons, is an incredible adventure, but not one that you should embark on without a guide.

India

As the source of a lot of mysticism, India has always been known as a land of tigers, jungles and religion. Inland India is full of architectural and cultural jewels, but the coastline has something to offer as well.

Kerala is a good place to begin with. It does not lack in splendid royal palaces, and its wildlife is quite the sight. Bekal Beach is particularly charming, a pleasant park during the working days, and a gaudy circus during weekends and holidays. It is an excellent spot to begin exploring this amazing country, and a good crash course in its backwater/waterways culture.

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