Escape the crowds and hire a helicopter to access some of Southeast Asia’s most sumptuous isolated spots.
Warm waters licking powder white sands flanked by wafting palms is the dream destination for many. Thankfully, there is no shortage of tropical islands to choose from across Southeast Asia. For those short on time or who simply want to travel in style, chartering a helicopter is the most convenient way to access them. Here are four delightful islands waiting to be discovered.
Gaya Island, Malaysia
Sitting 10 minutes from Borneo’s Kota Kinabalu is Gaya, an expansive island hugged by virgin tropical forest with 25km of pristine shoreline and colourful corals. The island is the largest in an archipelago of five that form Sabah’s Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. Gaya is also home to two exclusive five-star resorts that provide the perfect holiday getaway.
Apart from lazing on the pristine shores, visitors can trek through the island’s verdant heart that takes in lowland rainforest, mangrove swamps and quaint fishing villages. Gaya is also home to a range of wildlife, including proboscis and macaque monkeys, hornbills and bearded pigs. Divers can also discover the vibrant underwater world, including the coral reef that rings the island.
Palawan, the Philippines
Stretching almost 1,930km from Mindoro in the northeast to Borneo in the southwest, postcard-perfect Palawan is surrounded by about 2,000 smaller islands which collectively make up Palawan province – a top celebrity destination.
The island is home to long stretches of white beaches, a rich diversity of flora and fauna, a magical UNESCO-listed underground river cave, forest-covered mountains that rise up to 6,800 feet, hidden lagoons and a collection of five-star hotels and luxury facilities. It is easy to access by helicopter from the international airport in Puerto Princesa.
Hire a helicopter and explore Komodo – perfect for nature-lovers, thanks to it being home to the mighty Komodo Dragon, the world’s largest lizard. Forming part of Komodo National Park, the island features striking pink beaches – one of only seven in the world.
The stunning spot is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to more than 4,000 species of wild birds. Also holding the title of a diver’s paradise, the waters surrounding Komodo are home to more than 1,000 species of fish, 260 species of reef-building coral, manta rays, sharks, whales, dolphins and sea turtles thrive.
Pangkor Laut, Malaysia
This 300-acre tropical island paradise lies off the west coast of peninsular Malaysia. Covered in rainforest, the island is home to one resort, Pangkor Laut Resort, and is famed for its pristine natural beauty.
Easily reached by helicopter, the private island encompasses a relaxed vibe. Guests can circumnavigate the island using the resort’s yacht, snorkel and fish off the coastline, indulge in pampering sessions at the village spa, feast on world-class dining and take part in sporting activities.