Asia is fast becoming known as a premier boat show destination.

With ever-increasing numbers of luxury yacht owners, buyers, charter and leasing companies in the Asia region, it’s no real surprise that more luxury craft, equipment manufacturers are choosing Asia as the centre-stage to release new and exciting marine products and services.

This is especially true when it comes to luxury yachts, which are now big draws at a growing number if annual boat shows around the region offering competition for long-favoured European and American yacht shows.

Asia’s boat shows now attract visitors from every continent, almost year round. This is in part thanks to the region boasting ideal weather for most of the year, as well as the numerous splendid marinas and, of course, the swelling numbers of luxury consumers.

Spectator Sport

If you enjoy these types of boating and lifestyle events, it’s now possible to travel around Asia for months visiting the shows, while also fitting in plenty of beach and boating time on the way. You can even time your holidays around specific boat shows, making them the focus of the trip and with luxury craft and goods, fine dining and entertainment all on offer at the venues, not mention the cities hosting the events, you’re sure to have an indulgent experience.

I made a point of attending a number of 2014 boat shows across Asia and can therefore offer this line-up of dynamic on-water displays for you to check out in 2015. It could potentially take you on an luxury voyage from Phuket to Singapore, Hong Kong and China.

Trailblazing Thailand

One boat show you will have to wait for until 2016 is PIMEX (Phuket International Boat Show, which took place in January). The 2015 event was the 12th making it one of the region’s longest running boat shows.

A record-breaking 5,000 visitors attended this year, along with a host of global yachting brands displaying their latest and greatest vessels for buyers and charter clients in Southeast Asia. The 2015 event featured world class craft from shipyards around the globe including Princess Yachts, Sunseeker, Sanlorenzo, Wider Yachts, Monte Carlo Yachts, Gulf Craft and Ferretti Custom Line.

“We are seeing more boats, luxury brands and products choosing PIMEX as the platform to launch into Thailand and Asia,” said Andy Dowden, PIMEX Show Director, and the figures certainly supported his claims.

The event was a record-breaker on many fronts, with the largest display both in-the-water and onshore; the most companies and brands exhibiting; and the most impressive line-up of boats ever on display in Thailand. Over 5,000 domestic and international visitors enjoyed the Show over the four days this year, and exhibitors were enthusiastic about the quality and interest shown.

Like the recent show, PIMEX 2016 will also host plenty of products to use on the water besides boats. Innovative products by Sea Doo and Quadski were great crowd-pleasers this year, and these are what many buyers and visitors like to see, whether for personal use, charter or rental.

Singapore Sensation

The biggest boating event for the year tales place at the exclusive ONE°15 Marina Club in Sentosa Cove, Singapore where visitors can hit the high notes of the sailing season at the Singapore Yacht Show, held from 23-26 April.

Supercars, luxury properties, quality time pieces, top-tier fashions and fab parties are all rather engaging side shows that complement the spread of luxury yachts that form a centrepiece to this event and bringing potential yacht-buyers from around the world to such events is now big business.

The boats, yachts and watercraft are obviously the main attraction, with a host of  top class vessels of all types on display from a variety of  nations. In fact, it’s a little like an A to Z of marine magnificence, starting with Alibi Catamarans, Aquacraft Asia, Atlantis Yachts, Azimut, Aquila Boats, then moving onto Beneteau, Benetti. Well, you see what I mean. No wonder the event is billed as the largest boat show in Southeast Asia. If you doubt the extent of the list, you can also visit offerings on display from Wider Yachts, X Yachts and Yacht Zoo.

New exhibitors at the 2015 Singapore Yacht Show will include super yacht makers Mondo Marine and Amels. US-based Westport Yachts will return with new craft, and a big magnet for attendees will be Silver Yachts’ awesome super yacht Silver Fast, making a world debut, and further enhancing the show’s status.

To complement the on-water displays, there will be fashion parades, a classic car and supercar Rendez-Vous, and numerous glittering parties, including the famous Official After Party, at W Singapore – Sentosa Cove. All-in-all, it’s well worth a visit, even if you are not in the market for an ocean-going vessel.

Spring to Hong Kong

You can enjoy the warmth of North Asian spring at the Hong Kong Gold Coast Boat Show in early May. The 2014 marine event saw a record-setting 70 exhibitors displaying more than 80 leading marine brands from a wide array of international manufacturers, and this year  attendees will have a chance to view some of the newest yachts on the water in Asia at the show, which is held at the popular Gold Coast Yacht and Country Club.

The yacht club faces the broad bay that touches Hong Kong International Airport, Hong Kong Disneyland and the Central District of Hong Kong Island. In other words, if you want more to do after visiting one of the finest boat shows in the region, you’ll find it here.

Last year’s line-up included the biggest ever presentation by Italy’s Ferretti Group, and the exquisite Altura 840 Tai He Ban, making its Asian premiere, demonstrating how global yacht designers now value the importance of the Asian market. Sleek Beneteau and Azimut craft also drew the crowds and refined design displays included the beautiful Hall of Supreme Harmony, one of the lavish points of Beijing’s Forbidden City.

The 2015 show will also embrace smaller craft to attract buyers at all levels. Jet skis, small sailboats and motorboats will join the event, as will jewellery, clothing brands and sports items alongside the berthed vessels. There will also be a food street, fashion shows and a special children’s area so you can bring the whole family.

China hosts a Jewel

Since her initial moves in China back in 2002, Delphine Lignieres, founder and CEO of China Rendez-Vous and SO! DALIAN, the luxury lifestyle show that sprouted from the boat show, has focused on bringing the best of China to the world, and vice versa. Having helped promote the French Riviera in the East by taking Chinese groups to Cannes and Monaco yacht shows, she went on to establish Hainan as the premier location for luxury yachting.

The 2015 China Rendez-Vous, running form 1-3 December this year, will continue to expand on this impressive luxury growth by merging interests between China Rendez-Vous and the organizer of the International Boat Show and Festival (IBSF) held each year in Haikou, Hainan.

You should head for this show if you want to be steeped deep in luxury of every form, from art and hand-made jewellery to fine dining, the best in wines and liqueurs, even private jets, luxury cars, distinctive properties and, of course, magnificent yachts.


Southeast Asian cruising grounds offer around 4,500,000 km2 of waters to explore, a territory that’s triple the size of the Mediterranean. The region is an incrasingly popular location for sailing and luxury boating, but it’s useful to have some inside knowledge of the region before you venture into the open seas, even with a captain and crew on a charter cruise.

  • Modern day pirates were once reported quite often by visiting luxury vessels in the seas of Southeast Asia, but there have been no reports of a pirate attack on a private yacht for many years. Of the nine “ship boardings” reported by the International Chamber of Commerce International Maritime Bureau (ICCIMB), all were cargo ships and occurred near commercial harbours.
  • Security of equipment and vessels includes good technical services, so boat owners and captains should know that the Asia region has worldwide quality marine technical services available at marinas in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.
  • Although Southeast Asia has regular monsoon-type weather conditions across most areas, charter vessels follow “favourable monsoons” as sailors have for centuries. Most destinations are a few hundred miles apart, and there are no major ocean crossings or long lay-offs at marinas. This means boats of all sizes can continue yachting for 12 months a year.

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David Malabar
David is a professional photographer and travel writer. As a qualified Dive Master and underwater photographer his connection with the beach allows him to offer insights far beyond sun, sea and sand.