Alternative Indonesia: Bali and Sumba in Luxury
A two week journey for the luxury traveller that likes to be a little different. Explore the tar-black sands of Bali's west coast, the world class surf, isolated beaches and Animist communities on the island of Sumba, and the verdant landscapes surrounding the cultural hub of Ubud.
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Day 1: International flight
Depart from the UK on an indirect overnight flight to Bali.
Day 2: West Coast Bali
Once through customs, you will be met at Ngurah Rai International Airport by our representative on the ground and privately transferred to your luxurious hotel on the west coast, Soori Bali.
The pool villas either look out over the working rice paddies or are set on a black sand beach sprinkled with micah, which sparkles in the moonlight. Cure your jetlag by the beachside pool and head to the Soori Spa to rejuvenate with an Asian treatment in this secluded sanctuary.
Day 3: West Coast Bali
After a leisurely breakfast overlooking the ocean, it's time to start exploring.
Head out on foot with a local guide, passing tumbling rice terraces, local farmers going about their daily routine, mythical temples and lush plantations as you trace the Yeh Abe river. Stop to re-fuel with a picnic lunch before continuing your journey by bicycle, cycling through local villages and towns on route back to your villa.
Day 4: West Coast Bali
This morning you will watch a spectacular sunrise over Tanah Lot, a Hindu shrine which dates back to the 16th century.
Sunrise usually takes place around 6 or 7am, so you will reach the temple in good time and witness this magical moment away from the day time crowds. Return to your hotel and relax for the remainder of your day.
- Cookery Class
- Segway Tour
- Village Tour
Day 5: Sumba
After a final breakfast on the west coast, you will be picked up for the transfer back to the airport where you will board a domestic flight to the island of Sumba. Although one of Indonesia's larger islands, Sumba is relatively unexplored by tourists.
The island is characterised by rolling hills, verdant rice paddies, traditional animist villages and some stunning, deserted beaches. It also so happens to be home to one of our favourite hotels in Asia, Nihi Sumba.
The Nihi Sumba team will pick you up from the airport for the transfer to the hotel, a journey of around two hours. Spend the rest of the day exploring the resort, relaxing by your private pool and enjoying delicious meals overlooking the blissfully isolated beach.
Day 6: Sumba
Keen surfers flock to luxurious Nihi Sumba to ride the resorts very own wave, Occy's Left.
Should you be an already accomplished surfer, we'll ensure to book you a spot on the wave - there's a daily cap on surfers! Alternatively, neighbouring sheltered bays provide the perfect spot to learn with the expert surf coaches at Nihi Sumba.
Day 7: Sumba
Meet the locals today, as you explore the island on foot with your expert guide.
You'll head out early to avoid the midday heat, for a two hour trek through the surrounding forest, passing traditional Sumbanese villages as you go. Your guide will explain about the village architecture and the beliefs and traditions of the Animist communities living on the island, as well as act as translator between you and the villagers. Return to the hotel late this morning.
The rest of the day is at leisure.
- Further surf lessons
- Horse-riding along the beach
- Waterfall hike
- Deep sea fishing
Day 8: Sumba
A day of complete and utter spa bliss awaits today, as you enjoy the Nihi Oka Spa Safari.
Leaving your villa early morning, you'll trek for around an hour and a half through rolling hills and rice fields to reach your private cliff top bale which overlooks two pristine beaches and the rolling Indian Ocean waves below. Refresh with coconut water straight from the tree and enjoy a healthy breakfast in this completely private and utterly beautiful spot. Two spa therapists are on hand to provide as many pampering spa treatments as you can take throughout the day. Return to the resort later this afternoon.
For our family travellers, the parents can enjoy the Nihi Oka Spa Safari while the kids can enjoy a further surf lesson at Coconut Cove, Nihi's second beach, or any choice of other activities.
Day 9: Ubud
After time in blissful (more-or-less) isolation, it's time to return to Bali for a stay in Ubud. You'll return to the airport in Sumba for the short flight back to Bali, from where it's a 90 minute drive north to Ubud.
Holing up in one of our recommended luxury hotels will ensure you come back to Bali without a tourist-swarmed bump, but still within easy reach of one of the islands most popular towns.
The rest of the afternoon is at leisure. Perhaps barter for gifts in the local market, shop in the trendy boutiques on Monkey Forest Road or visit the Ubud Palace in town.
Day 10: Ubud
Rise early for an exciting day of exploration. You will be collected from your hotel by your driver in a vintage style VW convertible.
Your first stop is Taman Ayun, one of the island's most beautiful temples, before continuing the journey through beautiful countryside and little villages before an uphill drive to the stunning Lake Bratan. Located at 3900ft above sea level, this volcanic lake is surrounded by mountainous scenery. You'll also have time to gawp at Bali's most photographed temple - Pura Ulun Danua Bratan. This beautiful temple was crafted in the 17th century and is dedicated to Dewi Danu, the goddess of water and as such, the beautiful thatched Hindu Meru seems to float on the tranquil lake. Pura Ulun Danua Bratan is also home to a Buddhist shrine and a small mosque.
Continue your journey higher into the mountains of central Bali to visit Bali's 'Great Lakes': Buyan and Tamblingan. As you drive high along the rim of the caldera, there will be plenty of chances for photos. You'll leave your VW behind now, and transfer into a normal vehicle which can handle the steeper inclines as you travel to the hilltop village of Munduk. Enjoy lunch in this peaceful location before making the journey back to your hotel, travelling along the rice terrace lined roads of Pupuan, and stopping for a coffee break at a plantation in Belimbing.
Day 11: Ubud
After breakfast, ramp up the adrenaline with a half day of white-water rafting on the rapids of the Ayung River.
You will be guided by experienced rafters who will take you down the river on a thrilling journey, allowing you to gaze out on the banks and look for wildlife as you go.
Day 12: Ubud
You will be picked up from your hotel this morning for a traditional Balinese cookery class.
First stop will be the local market, where you will pick up ingredients and learn about the various local fruits, vegetables and spices, and perhaps enjoy a sample or two. From here, you'll walk to the Balinese kitchen where your cookery class will take place. You'll learn to create a variety of traditional dishes, from Gado Gado (local vegetables in peanut sauce) to 'yellow sauce' - a delicious and fiery paste which forms the basis of many dishes.
For lunch, sit back and enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of your labour, accompanied by a glass of rice wine or a cool beer - or something softer for the kids, of course.
The afternoon is at leisure to relax.
Day 13: Ubud
Enjoy a lay in on your final morning in Bali. We've left today at your leisure to relax, finish the final pages of your book or pick up a few last minute gifts. Later this afternoon you will be picked up for the private transfer back to the airport for your departing flight home.
Holly is our expert for this itinerary and, as a seasoned traveller, has the inside track on the most memorable adventures.