Islander brings island-hopping to new heights, with expeditions sailing across nearly 30,000 tropical beaches in Southeast Asia.
From a golden sunrise, a smoking volcano, and a gushing waterfall, to the song of Birds-of-Paradise and a kaleidoscope of tropical fish — all beauty needs to be witnessed to truly exist. That’s where Islander comes in. Offering private boat tours and luxury yacht holidays across the planet’s most exotic and breathtaking seascapes, any dream comes to life in the oasis of travel paradise offered by Islander.
GC is joined by the Founder and CEO of Islander, Vadim Toshu, to dive deeper into the opulent island life that awaits each Islander explorer.
How did the journey to becoming an ‘Islander expert’ begin?
Ever since I read the “Robinson Crusoe” book in school, I had the image of a tropical island that I could call my own planted in my head. After many years of changing numerous professions, I relocated to Thailand; which was the starting point to my new life with Islander. Being close to so many incredible islands, it was impossible to stop exploring. From the Philippines to Indonesia, and then finally a trip to the remote Palau islands. I felt an incredible urge to share the remarkable experience with the world, which is what gave birth to the Islander project.
Describe the ‘Islander’ experience — what can we expect once we come aboard?
Our yacht holidays are crafted to inspire you to explore the hidden corners of paradise in the utmost style. So, you can expect unrivaled flexibility and freedom. It is about bringing you closer to nature, on a perfectly designed vessel that complements the uniqueness of each island. Details like the luxurious teak deck, meticulously hand-crafted with age-old techniques, to the furnishes with modern decadence and first-class service of a Superyacht. We even handpick the most experienced crew, captains, chefs, and entertainers to offer the highest quality of service in every detail on your journey, while all expeditions are tailor-made for the many different modes of ocean travel.
If you were to craft the ideal ‘Global Citizen Holiday’ what would it look like?
Islander expeditions are always about opulence, mystery, and romance. You will trek thundering waterfalls, encounter endemic wildlife, snorkel untouched coral reefs, kayak hidden coves and lagoons, bath on smooth sands, and gaze with wonder to a glorious sunset from a secluded viewpoint. The itineraries we create are not just holidays of a lifetime. They are unique, rare experiences that allow you to witness the beauty of our planet Earth. At its essence, the timeless mode of travel that we offer is about the elements of nature. From experiencing that panoramic view of the deep blue, without the obstruction of human-made blocks, to witnessing natural wonders that are as old as time. We will bring you to places where you feel like one of those early explorers must have felt centuries ago.
What makes the islands in Southeast Asia so unique from the rest?
Oceanic Southeast Asia is a definition of exotic — a hidden haven of deserted beaches, pristine coral reefs, endemic wildlife, ancient tribes, and jaw-dropping landscapes. There are 28,000 islands across Southeast Asia, and only 4% are known to mainstream travelers. As you move further east towards the Coral Triangle, there are thousands of paradise destinations that remain unfiltered. That’s where the Islander comes in. We are all about bringing you to the most compelling, remote destinations, so you can be among the few people on the planet to witness and revel in their beauty.
What has been your most cherished memory throughout all your adventures?
So many islands, so many memories! I sailed with a young family across the Mergui Archipelago in Myanmar that spans 800 islands. It was their request to design an itinerary that would make their children realize how fortunate they are in life. We specifically took fewer provisions and spent half of the journey among the sea gypsies on pristine islands that are so off the radar that it made the iPad extinct from the children’s vocabulary. They learned jungle survival skills like making fire with stick and stones. They chased pangolins and gibbons and went fishing with sea gypsies’ kids who dive without goggles. They soaked in the ancient-long traditions with giant hornbills flapping audibly above like tropical pterodactyls. It was just surreal. Memories like these will stay with you forever.
There are over 100,000 tropical islands in the world. Name the one absolute must-see island that every adventurer has to cross off their bucket list?
It is Raja Ampat in Indonesia that you must visit at least once in your lifetime. Raja Ampat is the most captivating cruising ground spanning 612 islands across 40’000 sq.km. of pristine ocean. Raja Ampat is truly a paradise on Earth. Located in the very heart of the Coral Triangle, it boasts the best waters and most abundant marine life on the planet. The diversity of marine life is staggering and too long to attempt to list. The geography, the diving, the nature, the wildlife, the culture, and the hospitality of the people are all legendary. Cruising Raja Ampat, you are guaranteed to wake up in a new jaw-dropping destination every morning. You will be lost to scenic beauty, but with the stars in your eyes, because you are having the time of your life. Raja Ampat makes an everlasting impression.
Island-hopping seems to be the new trend amongst travellers. Why do you think people crave this sort of experience?
The deep, big blue, covers 70% of the globe, while the mysteries of the sea still remain largely undiscovered. As such, the many thousands of islands dotted around this enormous aqua world provide a vacation like no other. We can all see the “Greening of Travel” with modern travelers demanding sustainable destinations. How else can you package so many adventures during a holiday, and at your own pace? It is only possible during a yacht holiday where island-hopping promises a myriad of remarkable experiences to suit every adventurer’s taste.
Do you want to sea it to believe it?