- The natural landscapes of Indonesia: a kaleidoscope of volcanoes, temples and rice fields in Java, Flores Island from east to west - wildlife, coral and beaches
- The temple of Borobudur, nature tours on scooters and Komodo dragons... it's all included in the itinerary
- Meeting a volcanologist at the Mount Merapi monitoring centre is a fascinating experience
- On-site Concierge service, Smartphone app, all our usual additional services
Contact one of our Indonesia specialists + 44 (0) 20 3958 6120
Volcanoes and Komodo dragons: supersized nature in Indonesia
Your tripFly from Java to Bali and on to Flores. The rest of the way is in an air-conditioned car with a driver. Walking or a scooter are the best ways to get around this area, with two wheels being especially well-suited to the Indonesian countryside. Its takes a few hours by road to cross Flores; the road goes up and down, winding between mountains and sea. The beauty of the landscape is a fine reward for a little bit of patience. The hotel in Yogyakarta is a former merchant's house and is part of the city's history. It offers a fantastic level of comfort. Labuan Bajo has the best laidback beach vibes. And just because you only have the one night in Jimbaran doesn't mean the standard of accommodation needs to drop: your hotel exudes charm and luxury. Then leave on a road trip for Moni, Bajawa and Ruteng, taking a break in comfortable small hotels. From the remarkable Borobudur and the regeneration of the coral reefs, to cycling in rice paddies, the tours and activities on the itinerary will create an unforgettable Indonesian experience. Private guides are available at each step of your trip. If, along the way, you have a last-minute request or a slight setback, contact our on-site Concierge service.
Flight to Yogyakarta, Java via Singapore
Assistance with immigration and customs. Transfer. Four-night stay in a historic mansion in the centre of Yogyakarta. The building, built in 1918 by a wealthy Chinese merchant, has evolved into a beautiful hotel, combining classic hospitality with a Southeast Asian feel (and a touch of Art Deco elegance). It has comfortable rooms, a large outdoor swimming pool, a gym, and day spa: everything is structured around guests and their wellbeing. In the restaurant, dive into Indonesian cuisine straight away or for a change of scene try Chinese, while starting with a few well-known international classics can offer guests a gentler introduction to local fare. And the hotel is firmly committed to the environment and sustainable development.
Already in the itinerary - Tour of the temple of Borobudur. With an expert guide, discover a wonder of Buddhist art: the stupas and mandalas of Borobudur. It was built in the eighth and ninth centuries and depicts the cosmos and path to enlightenment. It features a huge set of bas-relief sculptures, which, in a series of panels, guide the pilgrim from the ambiguous acts and values of earthly life to the attainment of perfect wisdom. The sculptors who created it were among the finest in their field. There is a certain sense of awe at the scale and consistency of the design, and wonderment at its teachings. Then, there are some five hundred statues of Buddha, a true sight in themselves.
Already in the itinerary - Private tour of the Prambanan Temple compounds. Visit this major Hindu shrine with an expert guide. Built in the ninth century, it originally had 240 temples, laid out in a square. In the centre, the main temples are devoted to the 'Trimurti', the three forms of the divine: Shiva and his vehicle, Nandi the bull, along with Brahma and Vishnu and their vehicles, Hamsa the swan and Garuda the mythical winged creature. The style of the buildings conforms to the rules of 'Vastu shastra', the classic system of Hindu architecture. The Shiva Temple, which dominates the shrine, symbolises Mount Meru, the fulcrum of the universe in the Hindu cosmos. Here again, sculptors left eloquent traces of their workmanship.
Included in the itinerary - A scooter ride through the countryside. It's the ideal way to soak up all the sights of the island's countryside. Lightweight, flexible and fast, but not too fast, it's the perfect mode of transport for sightseeing. Strap your helmet on and set off on an adventure behind a private guide. Rice paddy fields form a shimmering green and gold patchwork, where banana trees gently sway. Farmers work in the fields under traditional conical hats. Like everywhere, the villagers like to rest in the hottest part of the day. Only the local dogs are out and about at this time of day; leaving you free to choose the perfect picnic spot. Along the way, see some ancient sites, bearing testament to the island's Hindu and Buddhist past. It's another side to Indonesia, close to the major urban centres but still living life at the slow pace of agricultural cycles.
Yogyakarta - Denpasar (Bali) - Jimbaran
Transfer to the airport and flight to Denpasar. Transfer to Jimbaran. One-night stay just minutes from the sandy beach. The estate comprises three old wooden houses and a garden. The interior features natural hues. The generously proportioned rooms form a harmonious whole, while light shines through the latticed bay windows. The rooms combine elements of refinement and rusticity. The restaurant serves modern and delicious Indonesian food on traditional 'batik' tablecloths. Plus, there's the added bonus of a luxury spa and treatments and a beautiful outdoor swimming pool.
Jimbaran - Denpasar - Ende (Flores) - Moni
Transfer to Denpasar airport and flight to Ende.
Included in the itinerary - Drive to Moni, at the foot of Mount Kelimutu. The volcano's crater contains lakes with spectacular variations in colours and forms, depending on the time of day: milky white, emerald, turquoise, royal blue, red and even dark brown. It's just one of the many explosions of colour this trip has to offer. Overnight stay in a modern hotel, which is simple but pristine, cosy and comfortable and just a 15-minute walk from the village. The menu focuses on family cooking. Solar power and careful water management, both in terms of quantity and quality, demonstrate a real commitment to sustainable management. Dawn is an especially great time to see all the different colours on the lakes.
Moni - Bajawa
Included in the itinerary - Drive to Bajawa. A section of the road runs alongside the sea, with a blue pebble beach, then the road winds back up into the mountains. Bajawa is an active regional centre, a major draw for its natural surroundings. Around nine miles away is the Ngada village of Bena at the foot of Mount Inerie. The wooden houses, with steeply sloping thatched roofs, are set out on both sides in a long row. Between the dwellings are pairs of shrines: 'ngadhu' – a sort of palapa, represents the male – and 'bhaga' – a cottage, symbolises the female. There are standing stones as well. Overnight stay at a hotel in the village. A modern two-storey building, with basic furnishings and facilities and sumptuous views from the balcony; just what's needed for a comfortable night's stay.
Bajawa - Ruteng
Included in the itinerary - Drive to Ruteng. Soak up the captivating landscape dominated by ride paddy fields. Nearby is the famous Liang Bua limestone cave, which is also home to a few orangutans. Meet stunning leaf lorikeets and Flores scops owls, two species of bird endemic to the island of Flores. Excavations on the site first exhumed Stegodon florensis insularis, a small extinct species of pachyderm, and then, most importantly, 'Flores Man' (100,000 to 60,000 BC), two fascinating examples of the island's miniature residents, while, in contrast, the Komodo dragons represent the island's supersized inhabitants. Spend a night at a convent; quite fitting in a predominantly Catholic area. The nuns have opened a few rooms for visitors. It doesn't claim to be luxury accommodation but the premises are kept clean and tidy and to a good standard. A contemplative atmosphere and a unique experience, just minutes from the centre of Ruteng.
Ruteng - Labuan Bajo
Transfer to Labuan Bajo. Four-night stay on Waecicu Beach. Your traditional Indonesian-style wooden bungalow looks out over the Flores Sea and is a short walk from the beach and swimming pool. The interior design has a laidback seaside charm. The decor also pays gentle homage to the heritage of the archipelago. The veranda at the front is ideal for scoping out which hammocks are free under the garden's trees. The restaurant serves Indonesian cuisine with seafood as a speciality. Meals can be enjoyed in the dining room with its welcoming fresh breeze, on the beach or even in the hills above the hotel. The spa is a welcome addition to the hotel's other amenities. The long jetty running out to the sea is the starting point for kayaking trips and the best snorkelling spots on the coast.
The sand, sea and swimming pool are the main focus of activities and the perfect setting for utter relaxation. Labuan Bajo is no longer just a fishing village, but it's still a charming place to visit Every day, the boats go out to sea to fish; in the evening, the harbour turns into a night market with grilled fish and squid. During the day, a scooter ride up into the hills offers lovely views of the bay. Looking west, the broad setting sun dips below the horizon. As dusk falls, spot colonies of fruit bats cutting through the air over the mangroves of Kalong Island, a small island belonging to the Komodo National Park. The powerful sound of them in flight is an unforgettable experience.
Included in the itinerary - The Komodo dragons of Rinca Island. The idyllic islands of Komodo, Padar and Rinca all belong to the Komodo National Park. They are home to the famous Komodo dragons (Varanus komodoensis). These magnificent creatures can easily devour deer and reach ten feet in length. Rinca is a rugged island, covered in dry savannah and lined with white beaches. It's less crowded than Komodo and there are still plenty of Komodo dragons; and you can track them down with the help of a ranger. Although these dragons don't breathe fire, seeing them is still a thrilling experience. Then, go diving off the corals of Pembe and Kelor. A refreshing break after watching the dragons.
Included in the itinerary - Coral Guardian. At the top of the Coral Triangle lie the Philippines, to the south-west Bali, and in the south-eastern corner, the Solomon Islands. This area represents 30% of the world's coral reefs. Flores is also part of the group, with biodiversity that puts it at the forefront of environmental efforts. Sound management of these resources would provide significant long-term protein for the local population. This can be achieved by analysing the situation and aligning practices. The non-profit international organisation of Coral Guardian is taking the lead in this area and championing the cause. Spending the day with a private guide is a great opportunity to discuss coral reef biology, conservation issues and their social and economic implications. Locals are also involved in the itinerary. Briefing over, go diving in a protected area and collect fallen corals. Viable parts are then placed in coral nurseries. Once they have grown, they are then replanted back into the reef.
Labuan Bajo - Denpasar - return flight via Singapore
Transfer to the airport and flight to Denpasar. Two hours of relaxation treatments at a spa near the airport, before flying home.
A la carte
Mount Merapi with a volcanologist
North of Yogyakarta, impressive Mount Merapi (9,500ft above sea level) is Indonesia's most active volcano. Meet a volcanologist who works at the volcano observatory. It's a great opportunity to learn what terms such as 'stratovolcano', 'pyroclastic flows' and 'lahar' all mean. From the remains of Kinahrejo village, destroyed in 2010, to the observatory's seismometers, get a real sense of the nature of the challenge. The giant Mount Merapi looms over one of the most densely populated areas on Earth and farmers cling to the ash-fertilised slopes at altitudes of up to 5,000ft. With their devastating unpredictability and the blessing they bestow once their anger has cooled, it's not surprising that volcanoes have, since time immemorial, been a sign of divine forces at work. Lunch is a great time to discuss everything you've found out over 'ayam goreng kalasan' (Javanese fried chicken) or 'gudeg' (stewed jackfruit with coconut milk and palm sugar).
With a few extra days - Stop off in Singapore
Singapore is a city that has kept pace with the modern world, but one of the first definite must-dos has a distinctly retro feel: a Singapore Sling at the Raffles Hotel bar. Then, walk to Clarke Quay, where former warehouses and junk boats have been transformed into trendy boutiques, restaurants and nightclubs. Enjoy chicken rice from one of the 'hawker centres', open-air food centres, which feed Singapore's army of workers each day. The National Orchid Garden in the Botanic Gardens is a magical peaceful haven. Gardens by the Bay is a beautiful and educational space that highlights major environmental projects to raise awareness about our Earth. Parkview Square, designed by DP Architects in 2002, is an amazing example of Art Deco revival. The Dravidian-style 'gopura' (entrance tower) of Singapore's oldest Hindu temple, the Sri Mariamman Temple, dates from 1925 and is a sight to behold with its array of multicoloured statues. In Chinatown, the Taoist temples have beautifully ornate rooftop spikes that curl towards the skies.
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