With more than 17,000 islands spread across 5,000 kilometres,
there’s more to Indonesia than just Bali…  Here, we signpost
the best bits of undiscovered Indonesia including an eco resort
in Sumba and a diver’s paradise in Raja Ampat

Raja Ampat – A DIVER’S PARADISE

With the sort of marine life you usually only see on Blue Planet and scenic beauty to spare, the Raja Ampat archipelago is a mecca for divers. This 15,000sq mile area is considered to be the most bio-diverse region on the planet (a fact only discovered in the last decade)  – with the richest variety of species including an amazing 75 per cent of all known coral species. Found at the northwest tip of Bird’s Head Peninsula on the island of New Guinea, in Indonesia’s West Papua province, Raja Ampat (also know as the Four Kings) is an archipelago of over 1,500 small islands, cays and shoals surrounding the four main islands of Misool, Salawati, Batanta and Waigeo. Above the blue, this area is wildly beautiful, home to Birds of Paradise and the Pacific’s most important Leatherback Turtle nesting site. The place to stay is Misool Eco Resort, a three-year-old resort housed on its own private island. Eight wooden water cottages (that wouldn’t look out of place in the Maldives or Fiji) hover over the so-blue water for direct access to some of the world’s best underwater scenery. A diver’s dream…

Nihiwatu Resort, Sumba – AN UNDISCOVERED IDYLL

To call Nihiwatu ‘off-the-beaten track’ would be a huge understatement. This 10-room eco resort is located on one of Indonesia’s most undiscovered islands, Sumba. Just a couple of hour’s flight southeast of Bali, the island is unlike its better-known neighbours. Here ancient religions still hold sway and the vast majority of the island’s tourists are surfers hoping to ride the fabled waves. Yet Sumba with its baskable beaches, true-blue waters and lush forests isn’t just for surf-junkies but also perfect for nature lovers, outdoor enthusiasts and fans of diving with scuba diving, diving, fishing, hiking and mountain biking on offer. Unspoilt tranquility, as you’ve never experienced it before…

Tiger Blue – THE ULTIMATE SEA SAFARI

Indonesian tradition meets Western luxury aboard Tiger Blue – a 34-metre-long historic Phinisi yacht that explores the Indonesian Archipelago from Komodo Islands to North West Papua. Tiger Blue is based in the magnificent seas of Eastern Indonesia and guests can visit Komodo, Sumba, Flores, Banda – the remote Spice Islands, up to northwest Papua and see the dramatic landscapes, coastlines and natural history of this magnificent archipelago. As well as unrivalled cultural and historical interest, these areas are surrounded by the richest seas in the world and offer superlative diving, snorkelling and adventure. The boat is one of the finest yet most authentic live-aboards in Indonesia and can arrange customised itineraries, dive trips and specialised family holidays making this the ultimate sea safari…

Borobudur in Central Java – THE ESSENTIAL PILGRIMAGE

A world away from the megalopolis of Jakarta, rising from a mishmash of emerald rice paddy fields and visible above the swaying palms is the colossal Buddhist temple of Borobudur. A temple to rival Angkor Wat – built in the second half of the 8th century AD, three centuries before the famous Cambodian religious complex – Borobudur, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is one of Southeast Asia’s wonders. This three-tier mammoth structure is the largest Buddhist temple in the world and is decorated with 2,672 relief panels and home to 504 life-size statues of Buddha. The perfect base to explore Borobudur is the luxurious hotel of Amanjiwo. With amazing views of Borobudur, located in the midst of an aromatic coffee plantation and surrounded by mountains in all directions, Amanjiwo is nearly as unforgettable as its temple neighbour. The hotel can arrange sunrise and sunset visits to Borobudur when the colossus is at its best and elephant safaris around nearby Dagi Hill. No trip to Indonesia is complete without a personal pilgrimage to this ancient place…

Amanwana, Moyo Island – SAFARI-STYLE EXPLORATION

Far from the madding crowds, on the intoxicatingly remote island of Moyo – a nature and marine reserve 15km off the coast of Sumbawa (east of Bali), only accessible by chartered Cessna – is the jungle-chic tented camp of Amanwana. Twenty tantalizing tents make up the island’s only resort. In the turquoise sea that surround the seductively beautiful island the diving is superb; on land, in the lush forest birds abound and monkeys and indigenous rusa deer frolick. When staying on Moyo, not only is deer-spotting a must but so is island-hopping – Amanwana’s private boat can take visitors to nearby Rinca and Komodo islands where the legendary dragons live. An urban escapist’s fantasy destination…

Mount Bromo – THE SUMMIT OF VOLCANO EXPERIENCES

Proving that size truly doesn’t matter, Mount Bromo may be small in comparison to Indonesia’s other volcanoes, but what it lacks in height it more than compensates in spectacular scenery and the sheer drama of its stage setting. Located in the heart of Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park in east Java in a place called the ‘Sea of Sands’, the rumbling mountain is a photographer’s dream landscape and the place to see one of the world’s most spectacular sunrises. Stay at the rustic-chic hotel of Tugu Malang in the colonial throwback town of Malang, the only place to stay when exploring Mount Bromo. Remember an offering to appease the Gods – virgin sacrifice optional…

Yogyakarta – THE CULTURAL CAPITAL

Known lovingly as ‘Jogja’ to the locals, Yogyakarta city is Java’s heritage hotspot. A centre of the arts and learning, it is set against a backdrop of mountains including Mount Merapi – the island’s most active volcano. Highlights include the 200-year old Sultan’s palace, the Kraton; the old-world charms of Dutch colonial architecture; the delights of traditional Javanese dance; and the shopping – get your batik here. Savvy visitors stay at The Phoenix Hotel – a comfortable, colonial, 144-bedroom landmark dating back to the early 20th century. Culturistas only need apply…

Browse Ampersand Travel’s Indonesian itineraries, which start at £3,170 per person and range from 11- to 17-day tours. For further information, visit http://www.ampersandtravel.com/itineraries/Indonesia

www.ampersandtravel.com / 020 7289 6100

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