Langkawi is an archipelago off Malaysia’s northwest coast. The striking waters and the natural protection year-round for its 99 islands are reasons behind growing superyacht interest. Capt. Scott Walker, Asia Pacific Superyachts’ co-founder, knows the area well. In fact, he’s been working with yachts and superyachts between Langkawi and Singapore for three decades. He believes that Langkawi could become the “Monaco of the Far East.” Since the season from November through April is the ideal time to visit, here are a few more reasons why Walker says Langkawi is an emerging superyacht destination.
“International superyacht visitors come to cruise the islands and beaches, trek through wildlife-filled rainforests, and take advantage of excellent duty-free shopping,” Walker notes. Port access to the island of Langkawi (it and the archipelago share the same name) is duty-free, too. All the while, the yachts can remain anchored out or in a marina and benefit from the services they’ve come to expect in other regions, like fresh provisions.
Acclaimed Sailing Destination
Once the center of the spice trade in the region, Malaysia is a country of seafarers. Langkawi is only 98 nautical miles from Phuket, Thailand. The island chain, amid the Strait of Malacca, supports ancient mangroves and coral reefs with abundant marine life, too. Meanwhile, the interior of the islands are lushly green, and turquoise seas hug the coasts.
Langkawi is the only UNESCO Global Geopark in all of Southeast Asia, and one of just 177 worldwide. UNESCO Global Geoparks are single, unified geographic areas with geologically significant landscapes and sites. Those landscapes and sites further are managed under the all-inclusive concept of protection, education, and sustainable development. Langkawi has earned the status for its pristine beaches, rivers, caves, forests and rainforests, and waterfalls, among other highlights. Additionally, you can hike its peaks, dive among colorful corals, and explore the millions-of-year-sold Kilm Karst Geoforest Park (above).
Walker says Langkawi is an emerging superyacht destination additionally for its abundant moorings and protected anchorages. For those who prefer slips, however, four modern marinas await. For instance, the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club can accommodate yachts to 262 feet (80 meters) amid more than 200 berths. Some of the marinas are part of resort developments, too. Regardless, the marinas offer amenities far beyond berthing, too, such as duty-free shops and business-class facilities.
Lots on Land to Do
The cruising experience is as much about what you can do ashore as it is what you can see from on deck. Scott says the international superyacht visitors he works with enjoy hiking through the wildlife-packed rainforests, for example. Those who prefer a little more taste of modern life can head to the center of the island of Langkawi, he adds. It includes everything you’d expect of a small city, including an international airport. Renowned hotels like the Four Seasons Resort Langkawi and Ritz-Carlton Langhawi, spas, outstanding dining, and famous golf courses offer great breaks as well. Plus you can see the eagle statue (above), which references the origin of Langkawi’s name.
Ultimately, Walker says, owners, guests, and yacht crews have easy access to shopping, dining, sports, other entertainment, and transportation, Scott notes. He expects visiting foreign-flagged yachts to continue to grow as word spreads.
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