The Pick of our Asian Destinations for Wonderful Wet and Wild Experiences.
Aren’t we lucky that we live in such a beautiful world of wonder. Our home planet never fails to amaze us with its natural beauty. And home to some of the world’s most gorgeous scenery and waterways, Asia is blessed with abundance of palm-fringed beaches and breathtaking tropical islands. It really is a dream destination for travellers keen on making a splash. From azure oceans and jade-coloured waterfalls to deep-blue lakes, and sparkling emerald rivers, water comes in all shades of blue and green here. This rich diversity of blue spaces creates a vast range of spaces for water-based activities, with options to suit all budgets and interests. If you want to spend time close to water and are looking for some ideas, in this edition, we are going to reveal some incredible destinations to inspire your next aquatic adventures in Asia.
Le Passe Temps, Krabi, Thailand
Remote without being lost, yet right in the middle of some of Krabi’s must-see spots, this rustic gem is nested in the heart of Phang Nga Bay, one of the most beautiful bays in Asia. Set just a few metres from the beach, each of the 8 uniquely designed wooden bungalows surround the swimming pool, and the beachside restaurant serves traditional Thai cuisine, with a French touch.
The coastline is striking, famed for its karst limestone islands that dot Phang Nga Bay. Picture perfect Thailand island paradises, home to fishing villages, gentle bays with reefs nearby to snorkel and wonder at Thailand’s rich sea life, excellent diving or for the more adventurous sea kayaking through limestone caves into mid-island lakes or through mangrove forests. Not to be missed for lovers of our water world.
Heritage Cruises, Halong Bay, Vietnam
Heritage Cruises was built to reinvent Vietnamese cruising. As Vietnam’s first boutique cruise ship, it offers cruises along the Red River and in the Gulf of Tonkin. Featuring just 20 cabins (in four categories), the vessel guarantees passengers the opportunity to experience Vietnam’s distinctive culture, complemented by a superlative personalized service. Experience an enticing blend of authentic classical French Indochina design and elegant Vietnamese charm.
Away from the crowds that are usually found in Halong Bay, Heritage cruises off the beaten path in the waters of the Cat Ba region, which is much quieter but equally beautiful. Heritage Cruises also has the strongest and fastest engines of all the boats cruising Halong Bay, allowing one to reach further and into the more secluded destinations. The Cat Ba Archipelago is an exotic destination with pristine beaches, secluded lagoons, caves, tropical forests, and lakes. On a Secret Retreats Heritage Cruise in Halong Bay, you’ll enjoy the best places for kayaking, biking, and exploring pristine uninhabited tropical islands, all far from the crowds.
Gangga Island Resort and Spa, Manado, Indonesia
Gangga Island Resort and Spa offers 30rooms within 15 elegantly furnished and air-conditioned wooden bungalows discreetly set at the base of a jungle covered hill. The uniquely designed U-shaped bungalows house 2 independent and private rooms each with private en-suite bathrooms, high ceilings and spacious verandas giving beach and sea, or garden views.
The waters off Manado are world renowned for unparalleled scuba diving experiences where you can get up close and personal with a remarkable diversity of marine life from both the Indian and the Pacific Oceans. From coral reef and its inhabitants, the colourful macro critters, to schooling fish and the big pelagics, the waters off Gangga Island Resort are some of the most rewarding in the world for both snorkelling and scuba diving. The resort makes an ideal starting point for the top diving sites of Bangka Island, Bunaken National Marine Park and Lembeh Strait, making it a favorite and unparalleled destination for underwater photographers!
Soneva in Aqua, Maldives
Soneva in Aqua takes the ultra-luxurious Soneva Fushi villa experience to water, luxury private cruising through the atolls of the Maldives and on the azure blue waters of the Indian Ocean. At 23m in length Soneva in Aqua features 2-cabins, fabulous dining, full bar, lounge, luxurious spa, library, sundeck, outdoor jacuzzi and an incredible glass-bottomed spa bath in the Master Suite.
Soneva in Aqua is available for private charter cruises from a luxurious Day Cruise Experience, to up to 4-nights cruising the Maldives. The Secret Retreats Concierge is ready to help you plan and book the perfect cruise, and our professional boat teams are ready to share their secret spots with you, from the best spots for diving, snorkeling and surfing away from the crowds, to stunning deserted tropical islands to explore, relax and dine under the stars.
Maha Bhetra, Phuket, Thailand
If you are looking for a luxury yacht charter in Phuket then look no further. Here, at Secret Retreats, we have all the best luxury cruises and private charters at our fingertips, and The Maha Bhetra yacht has to be one of our favourite luxury Thai boats available for private charter. At 90ft long with a beam of almost 20ft guests aboard the Maha Bhetra are assured privacy and comfort on this spacious yacht. Wooden hulled and featuring a traditional design that pays homage to its Thai heritage the Maha Bhetra is set with 3 large double en-suite cabins, very comfortably accommodating up to 6 guests (or a maximum, with extra beds, of 6 adults and 3 children).
A motor yacht, the Maha Bhetra comfortably cruises at a maximum speed of 8knots and is equipped with fishing gear, snorkeling and diving equipment, 4 kayaks, 2 paddleboards (SUP), and a sailing dingy and a rib for accessing reefs for snorkeling or making excursions to remote islands set in crystal-clear water perfect for swimming during your private luxury cruise in Phuket and beyond.
Misool, Raja Ampat, Indonesia
Set on a private island amid pristine ecosystems, this secluded tropical paradise has powder white sand beaches, turquoise lagoons, cockatoos, parrots, baby sharks, and turtles. Surrounded by a 1,200 sq km No-Take Zone (former shark-finning camp), cottages are built on stilts over the water while villas are nestled either on the beach or on the edge of the lagoon. The access to Misool requires a boat transfer from Sorong Airport. While Misool is without doubt a bucket list destination for divers and snorkelers, thanks to their marine conservation practices (working in harmony with the indigenous community) it has to be said that Standup Paddling Boarding is a must do activity while at Misool too.
Standup Paddle Boarding and Kayaking are great ways to experience Raja Ampat’s spectacular ecosystem from a new perspective. With the help of polarized sunglasses, you’ll be able to see the reef below as well as the jungle above! Take a spin around the resort island, stopping to look out for hornbills. For adventures further afield, the team will take you to a nearby area of lagoons, with dramatic karst limestone formations carpeted with carnivorous pitcher plants and wild orchids.
Tugu Bali, Bali, Indonesia
Located on the shores of Canggu Beach, this museum boutique hotel is owned and managed by an Indonesian family that have collected and conserved antiques and Indonesia art since the mid-1960s contains. The hotel contains and exhibits one of the largest original art collections in Southeast Asia. The main building features distinctive architecture inspired by a secluded village in Central Bali. Each of the charming, thatched suites is peppered amid lush tropical gardens that are dotted with serene lotus ponds. Seeking adventure and one of the world’s most exciting water-sports? Canggu is home to some of Bali’s iconic surf spots, Batu Bolong and Old Mans. Both are ideal for beginner and intermediate surfers and a top choice with the longboard crew. The waves are consistent, and while these surf spots can sometimes be busy, the perk of staying at Tugu Bali means you can get there before the crowds arrive and even do regular surf checks from Tugu’s rooftop bar where after surf’s up, it’s the perfect time for bottoms up!
Nimmu House, Ladakh, India
Nimmu House is set within the ancient Ladakhi village of Nimmu. Located at the confluence of the sacred river Indus, which rises in Tibet, and the Zanskar River, the scenery is truly spellbinding. The rushing waters of the valley are perfect for whitewater rafting and set against the breathtaking and almost otherworldly backdrop of the golden mountains of Ladakh.
The Zanskar River offers some of the best white water for rafting in India, and runs through one of the most remote and isolated regions of India too, sharing incredible views with rafters along the route. And Nimmu House is the perfect home from home while exploring this amazing region. Nimmu is the ideal place to stay before or after trekking in Ladakh thanks to its relatively low altitude of 3100m. The property features a stable with yaks, dzos, cows and goats, terraces and a beautifully aromatic orchard with hundreds of fruit trees (apricot, apple, walnut). Nimmu House is both a perfect playground for your kids to get in touch with nature, and for you to unwind, destress and deeply relax with guided meditation and yoga.
Here at Secret Retreats we offer our guests authentic travel experiences that go beyond the more typical offerings. Supporting and working closely with our Asia based hoteliers and hospitality professionals our community provides incredible holidays and tailor-made Asia travel itineraries direct to public and to travel agents. And, by booking direct with Secret Retreats, enjoy the peace of mind from knowing that both the on-the-ground team and the team back at Secret Retreats HQ are there to ensure your travel plans go smoothly and to fully support you when they don’t.
Contact our Secret Retreats’ Concierges today who with their uniquely local experience and professionalism will Unveil an Asia to you that cannot be found in any other way.