Indonesia is a fabulous destination for a summer vacation, there is so much to see and do. It is a land of contrasts from the dry islands and crystal seas east of Bali to the tropical foliage and volcanic ranges of Java, making it an easy destination for an interesting and varied itinerary. It is a part of the world I love, and I have returned time and time again to explore this vast archipelago. Here are Asia Travel Expert, Louise’s top picks in Indonesia.
Indonesia is a wonderful destination for honeymooners looking for culture, beaches, and beautiful scenery. Uma Ubud is a brilliant choice for those looking for a romantic getaway, they even have a ‘Romance Package’ which includes a private yoga session, a couples’ spa treatment, a romantic dinner or a private cooking class. It is located on the outskirts of Ubud, so you can explore everything Ubud has to offer or simply relax and enjoy the spa and pool.
For the ultimate honeymoon getaway, spend a few nights on board the Alexa, a luxury private yacht that you take exclusively for just the 2 of you. This stunning boat is the perfect vessel to explore the Komodo National Park, you will be wined and dined by the wonderful staff as you explore this magical area. Snorkelling in pristine waters, sandbank dinners, a private chef, sleeping under the star and of course seeing the Komodo Dragons are just a few things that make this experience so special.
As the cultural capital of Bali, Ubud is the obvious choice. Cycle through villages and paddy fields, raft down the Ayung River and visit the traditional market and many art galleries. For the more spiritual, we can arrange a special blessing at a local temple or private yoga classes.
There are lots of great hotels to choose from here, but a personal favorite is the Ritz Carlton Mandapa Reserve. The villas are absolutely stunning and the service is impeccable. You can plant rice in the resort’s own paddy fields, learn to cook some local specialties and even raft directly to the hotel after an exhilarating ride down the Ayung River.
The breath-taking ancient religious monuments of Borobudur and Prambanan in Java are another must see. You can’t beat a few nights at Amanjiwo, which overlooks the impressive Borobudur Temple. In addition to the temples, there are interesting markets, fantastic trekking and huge volcanic peaks so it works well for culture and history.
For snorkeling & diving…
Some of the world’s best diving is in Indonesia and there are some fabulous ways to experience the impressive dive sites, whilst staying in luxury.
Amanwana is a unique and extraordinary resort with luxury tents set up on the nature reserve island of Moyo. There is truly nowhere else like it, the remote and wild feel of this 12000 hectare conservation area make it more akin to Africa than Asia, and the diving and snorkeling are some of the best in the world.
For keen snorkelers, I would recommend a trip to the Gili Islands, where there is an array of marine life and an abundance of turtles. The Oberoi Lombok is the perfect place to stay, you can spend the afternoon visiting some of the best snorkeling spots and then have a stroll around the tiny island of Gili Air.
For Wellness & Spa…..
Como Shambhala is a wonderful choice for a wellness and spa vacation. Surrounded by terraced rice fields and beautiful jungle this is a stunning property, promising a more personalized approach to a spa retreat than its rivals. The spring water is sacred, revered by Balinese for its healing properties and is pumped uphill to the vitality treatment pool. There are a number of wellness packages to choose from, and the peaceful spa offers traditional treatments, as well as alternative treatments including reflexology, Ayurveda and iridology.
For Getting off the Beaten Track….
Nihi Sumba Island ticks all of the boxes, it is perfect for families, couples, honeymooners, those looking for culture and adventure or simply those who want to relax in a beautiful setting. Nihi is a remote, luxury eco-lodge surrounded by lush jungle and a paradise beach. It supports local villagers who follow an ancient, tribal culture and is the only property on the island for western visitors. All suites and villas are the epitome of understated luxury, featuring spacious outdoor living areas, private pools and spectacular views of the azure Indian Ocean. The list of things to do here is endless, but my personal favorites are the NihiOka Spa Safari, a visit to learn about the Sumba Foundation and learning to surf on one of the best waves in the world.
For The Adventurous…
The volcanoes in Indonesia are spectacular and a must see for those wanting an adventure – whether you visit for sunrise or choose to climb to the top, it will be a rewarding experience.
The most famous being Mount Bromo in Java, which is best visited at sunrise, for spectacular views. It involves a very early start and the hotels are rather basic, but it is well worth it.
For the more active, climb Mount Batur in Bali through the night to reach the crater for sunrise. You will witness stunning views of Mount Agung, Bali’s highest volcano, and then you will definitely deserve a massage when you return to your hotel!
You can’t beat the sunset at Alila Uluwatu. Perched on a cliff edge, the views here are spectacular – making it the perfect place to sip on a delicious cocktail as the sun goes down.
For A Once in a Lifetime Experience….
What could be more special than a family gathering or group of friends on board a luxury yacht? Aman have two luxury vessels, Amandira, a traditional Phinisi and the Amanikan. Both boats ooze luxury and sail the vibrant waters of Indonesia, from Amanwana to Komodo National Park and the Raja Ampat islands. Bespoke itineraries can be created to suit specific interests, visit untouched islands, witness the pre-historic Komodo dragon in their natural habitat, dive in the Flores sea or simple relax on deck with a good book and watch the dramatic scenery pass you by. This is the ultimate way to escape the crowds and do something unique.