Inspiration

The Best Private Boats in Asia for Surfing, Sightseeing, Diving and Fishing

Whether it’s just you and the kids or a big, multi-family adventure, indulge in your favorite aquatic hobby in the literal lap of luxury.

Aroona

Photo by Matt Curnock/Courtesy of Aroona

By Neil Armstrong

Jul 27, 2022

POST-COVID #villalife cocooning remains all the rage, but we’d like to suggest you take this party offshore. If pursuing your passion on a private boat sounds awesome, we’ve some great options for a maximum-fun surfing, diving, fishing or sightseeing trip around the waters of Asia. Each vessel on our list celebrates the life aquatic with a high dose of luxury. Keep your family afloat while exploring the diverse natural wonders across the region, and you’ll all have the trip of a lifetime. Ahoy!

DIVING

Sea Rex
Maldives

SeaRex
Courtesy of SeaRex

The boat: The Sea Rex is 40 meters of custom-built luxury plying the waters of the Maldives. With two master suites and six double cabins, all with king-size beds and ensuite bathrooms, thank you very much. Boasting an onboard spa, a top-deck Jacuzzi for your tanning pleasure, its own Jet Skis, a business center if you really must peel away from the fun, and waiters on call, you’ll want for nothing.

Taking up to 16 guests, this is a great boat to book for a big, private multi-generational family adventure, or a group trip with your friends and their kids. There’s plenty of space to spread out over the three decks.

SeaRex
Courtesy of SeaRex

The activity: Their onboard dive team has more than 15 years of experience in the area. They can cater to beginners up through to experienced divers and arrange encounters with whale sharks, and manta rays… or anything else under the sea you’d like to see.

The secondary boat, adorably named MiniMe, is a custom-built, fully equipped, dive vessel with a toilet/shower area.

Sea Rex; six-night bookings from US$104,000 (inclusive of local taxes).

FISHING

Aroona
Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Aroona
Photo by Matt Curnock/Courtesy of Aroona

If you enjoy wetting a line and chasing fish with your family, a trip to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is a must, for the sheer variety of aquatic life, the views, and your tastebuds.

You’re likely to reel in red, blue and spangled emperors, coral trout, and many varieties of cod. The onboard chef will be happy to prepare and cook your catch however you wish.

With three cabins—designated as master, VIP and guest—the Aroona can take up to nine people. At 22 meters, she’s spacious and well suited to both sheltered-reef and open-ocean cruising. 

Courtesy of Aroona

As your family might be contending with different ages and interests, it’s great that this boat offers the option of mooring in calm waters and then using one of their three tenders for fishing—or other—missions. For example, this area is brimming with world-class snorkeling locations, glassy waters for standup paddleboarding, and opportunities to spot dolphins and turtles, and explore uninhabited beaches.

Aroona; a week-long hire is A$58,065; the 24-hour rate is A$8,500 with two-day minimum.

SURFING

Ratu Motu
Mentawai Islands, Indonesia

Ratu Motu
Courtesy of Ratu Motu

How would you like to surf the most wave-rich region on Earth, from a pampered base aboard on a floating five-star resort?

The Ratu Moto has it all, including space to land a chopper on the roof. We mean, what good is having a totally blinged-out luxury vessel unless you can arrive in the most extravagant way possible? Yeah, your kids are going to love getting their James Bond on.

Across the Ratu Moto’s four decks are 11 spacious cabins with ensuites capable of taking 18 guests. Your dedicated chef and kitchen team procure and prepare sashimi, king prawns, and calamari fresh from local fishermen. And the dining area has wait-staff to tend to your every need.

Ratu Motu
Courtesy of Ratu Motu

Besides surfing, the kids can enjoy paddleboarding, village tours, and the simple pleasure of jumping off the various decks into the ocean. Or put the tender to good use and go water skiing or wakeboarding behind it, or take it out to explore the numerous idyllic beaches and bays.

The downstairs cabins of the boat are a great option if your family has young children on this trip, because you can share rooms, or the little ones can be placed in the far-end (read:safest) cabins, with parents in a private cabin next door.

Ratu Motu; private use of this buoyant opulence starts at US$10,000 per night with a seven-night minimum (though most trips are 10); the setup is perfect to host several families

Sponsored by Tourism New Zealand

SIGHTSEEING 

Bhaya Legend II
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Bhaya Cruises
Courtesy of Bhaya Cruises

Getting the family away to experience somewhere new is always worthwhile. But if you’re short on time, a week afloat might not be doable. But surely you can fit a luxurious three-day cruise around cinematic Ha Long Bay into your schedule.

With 1,600 islands and islets in the area to explore—or just serenely sail by—it’s hard to get bored with the views. Bhaya Legend II regularly plies the waters of Bai Tu Long Bay (considered to be ‘the bay less traveled’), home to many deserted and pristine beaches, along with the equally impressive karst mountains.

Bhaya Cruises
Courtesy of Bhaya Cruises

And what better way to enjoy the trip than on a private, boutique wooden boat, with a dedicated butler and five other crew members to guide, sail and cook up a storm for your family?

Custom itineraries are available; choose your own adventure to optimize the trip for your family. Activity options include beach time, fishing and squid fishing, exploring caves, showing kids how the boat works, kayaking, snorkeling, and visiting local communities.

Bhaya Legend II; two cabins for up to four adults and two kids under 12; for four people, it’s US$715 per day; children aged six to 11 pay US$188 for the cruise; children under six are free.

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