Stretching eastwards from Thailand to Australia and as far north as Japan, the Pacific Rim contains some of the world’s most beguiling cruising grounds. Here you will encounter vibrant cultures, delicious cuisine and an exquisite variety of soul-stirring scenery.
The landscapes change drastically along the way, from low-slung atolls to dense rainforests. And under the water you will find some of the best scuba diving in the world. Of course, this region takes in the most famous dive site of all – the Great Barrier Reef. But it also includes some lesser-known – and lesser travelled – areas, such as Raja Ampat in Indonesia, which is renowned for its macro marine life. It’s located just off Papua New Guinea, where you likely won’t see another yacht here for days.
The marina offerings in the Pacific Rim are just as varied as the cruising grounds. In particular, the Southeast Asian yachting scene in has bloomed in the past five years with new marina openings and the Thai government easing restrictions on private yachts. Thailand has become a hub for superyachts in the winter, offering an alternative to the Caribbean circuit. The island of Phuket has a number of marinas where such yachts hunker down between charters, including the Ao Po Grand Marina and the Yacht Haven Marina. Just across the bay in Krabi, Port Takola is one of the newest marinas to open in Thailand and continues to expand.
Heading north to China and Japan, yachting is still a burgeoning pastime, which makes the marina experience a little different. China is home to Sanya Serenity marina, which has served host to many sailing races. There have been ongoing rumblings about further development in the port of Sanya. In Japan, private yachting is highly regulated, but cruising Japan’s 700 islands is worth negotiating the red tape. Berthing in Japan might look like a typical marina experience at Yokohama Bayside Marina, or it might mean tying up at the end of a government pier.
In the South Pacific, Fiji’s Port Denarau Marina on the island of Vanuatu has seen a surge in superyacht visits, doubling its numbers in recent years. The marina responded by investing heavily in expansion, dredging and building more berths suitable for superyachts.
All eyes were on New Zealand in March 2021, when Emirates Team New Zealand defeated the Italian team to defend its America’s Cup title. The island nation hopes to entice a new wave of visiting superyachts this year and beyond, as it basks in the success of its impressive Auld Mug victory.