South East Asia Reopening to International Superyachts

The islands of South East Asia, home to many Superyachts’ favourite destinations, have been challenged for the past year and a half as Covid-19 and ensuing pandemic closed many borders. Time and again plans to reopen popular hotspots in countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and the Andaman Islands have been put on hold.

Asia Pacific Superyachts (APS) has been closely tracking countries reopening and helping to set yacht protocol in South East Asia as the region slowly opened to international visitors and foreign-flagged yachts and superyachts. Following are APS agency updates on some of the region’s popular cruising areas.


Many Southeast nations are cautiously opening to travelers. One appears to be throwing its doors wide open. Thailand pioneered Southeast Asia’s tourism reopening on July 1 with its first-of-a-kind “sandbox” scheme. Thailand announced plans to reopen its popular tourist destinations and large cities by the year end.

Under the plan, vaccinated travelers who test negative for Covid-19 before and after arriving can enter Phuket without quarantining. Now vaccinated travelers can visit other parts of Thailand, including the island of Koh Samui and parts of the provinces of Krabi and Phang-Nga. Thai authorities also announced plans to open a large swath of the country from Oct 1 to January 1, 2022. Authorities approved a four-phase reopening timeline that prioritizes popular tourist destinations, including Bangkok, as follows:

PILOT - Oct. 1

Continue reopening of Phuket, Surat Thani (Koh Samui), Krabi and Phang-Nga; more places opening in Krabi 

PILOT 1 - Nov. 1

Reopening of 7 more provinces, including spots like Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya and Hua Hin 

PILOT 2 - Dec. 1

Reopening of 20 more provinces, including Ayutthaya, Chiang Rai, Songkhla, Sukhothai, Trang, Trat, and Yala

PILOT 3 - Jan. 1, 2022

Reopening of 13 more border provinces, including Satun, Surin and Udon Thani


Southeast Asia’s largest and most populous country is taking steps to welcome visitors. The islands of Bali, Bintan and Batam are part of a reopening pilot project, thanks to their vaccination rates, safety protocols, health infrastructure and international demand, a representative from Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism told CNBC.

Indonesia has now re-opened and applications for the B211A visa are welcomed. This visa is for a period of 180 days, 60 days first followed by four extensions of 30 days each time. “Find out more about this visa from your agent. Use of an agent is needed to act as a sponsor for the visa and not all ports of entry are open and able to receive boats that must quarantine on arrival”, reports Captain Thomas Taatjes of APS in Bali.

Malaysia (Langkawi & Borneo)

Langkawi, the largest island in an archipelago of 100 islands in the Andaman Sea and located off the mainland coast of Malaysia, is only 98 NM from Phuket and with a duty-free port. Langkawi reopened in September 2021 as part of Malaysia’s Tourism Recovery Plan to vaccinated domestic tourists. The government expects to welcome domestic visitors to other popular tourist destinations such as Tioman Island, Johor, Melaka and the state of Sabah on the island of Borneo.

Malaysia will reopen its borders to international visitors by January 1 at the latest, a government advisory council said on Thursday, as the country seeks to revive its ailing tourism sector. The Southeast Asian country has gradually reopened its economy in recent weeks as coronavirus infection rates have slowed amid a ramped-up vaccination program.

Andaman & Nicobar Islands, India

Encountering the vast spread of the Andaman Islands in India is a journey offering stunning cruising vistas as well as land attractions and discoveries of deserted islands with pure white sparkling beaches and crystal clear water.

From November 15, 2021, the Indian Border opened for all kinds of visa, including the E-Tourist Visa at Seaports, which is needed for arrival by yacht. It is best to arrive with a visa for all crew on board. There are many other safe anchorages along the coast, notably Shoal Bay and Kotara Anchorage in the South Andaman; Cadell Bay and the Turtle Islands in the North Andaman; and Outram Harbor and Kwangtung Strait in the archipelago.

Sri Lanka

A very short 450NM passage from the Maldives takes you up to Sri Lanka – a good option for a fueling point. Sri Lanka is also a useful stop for yachts en route to the Red Sea, as well as a good point of departure for cruising the Maldives, Chagos and Seychelles. An island of magical proportions, Sri Lanka was once known as the ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean’.

The country is open for tourist to arrive by air. But the process for guests arriving to join private pleasure vessels in the port is still to be opened up, though agents do expect the protocols would be relaxed soon, reports Priyantha Perera of APS Sri Lanka: “At present as per prevailing COVID 19 protocols private pleasure vessels may call to receive supplies but the crew is not permitted to go ashore during port stay. However, by end November there should be good news, warmly welcoming visiting international yacht visitors.”


Made up of 26 exotic atolls and lying in a north/south chain in the Arabian Sea in the Indian Ocean, her shores are dotted with exclusive and elegant resorts with berthing services and beautiful anchorages.

The only country to be opened for all of the past year & more, the Maldives had the busiest season ever last season as the crew and guests only needed one negative PCR test on entry and then were free to cruise around this stunning destination. “The policy is the same for this season, so the Maldives will again be busy”, enthuses Mohamed Hameed of APS Maldives.

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