Best Routes & Seasons

The UK’s Time Out magazine recently voted Indonesia as the world’s most beautiful country. With a rich human history of kingdoms, conquests, and colonialism, Indonesia is an exhilarating kaleidoscope of cultures, traditions, and languages set against the dramatic scenery of an ever-evolving landscape. The variety of flora and fauna found in this country of unparalleled natural beauty is boundless. Indonesia boasts some of the world’s rarest plants, trees, and land animals and is home to a more diverse and concentrated collection of marine animals than anywhere else on earth.

The sparkling seas that surround this waterborne nation are no less breathtaking. They feature every type of tropical seascape, from sleepy mangrove backwaters and crystal-clear coral atolls to wave-battered basalt cliffs and current-swept rocky seamounts, all of them teeming with wildly colourful life. These elements, combined with a welcoming population and an excellent year-round climate, make it easy to see why Indonesia is rapidly rising to the forefront of Asia’s booming luxury cruising and adventure destinations.

 

Oceanic Indonesia: Facts & Figures:

  • Number of Islands: 17,000
  • 70,000 km2 coral reef
  • 99,093 km coastline

 

The scuba diving capital of the world:

  • 76% of the world’s coral species
  • 72% of the world’s coral reef fish species

 

One UNESCO World Heritage Centre:

Komodo

 

Five Signature Marine National Parks:

Bunaken, Raja Ampat, the Banda Islands, Wakatobi, and Taka Bonerate

 

Three marine signature biosphere reserves:

Samota (Saleh Bay, Moyo Island and the Tambora peninsula), Taka Bonerate National Park, Ujung Kulon National Park

 

Monsoon Seasons

The most popular cruising destinations straddle the equator in Indonesia’s eastern regions. The country is affected by two distinct monsoon seasons. What is known as the “dry season” blows from the southeast between April and October, while the “wet season” blows predominantly from the northwest between November and March. Historically, when sea and weather conditions in one area are challenging, another is at its peak.

These two distinct weather patterns often help decide where and when to visit this wonderful country. At any time of year, there is always somewhere to explore on a luxury charter cruise through this dazzling marine wonderland.

 

Fixed Cruising Destinations

It should come as no surprise that there are many exciting cruising grounds across such a vast country. Some are very well known, others not so much. Here is a rundown of some of Indonesia’s most popular destinations:

Bali to Komodo via Moyo: Mountains & Monsters

Best time to visit: April to October

Beginning at the international port of Benoa Harbour in Bali, the “Island of the Gods”, this exciting itinerary stretches for 250 nautical miles to Komodo. Cruising along the northern shoreline of what is known as West Nusa Tenggara, the route takes in the sights, sounds, and scenery of the large islands of Lombok and Sumbawa. Other island destinations include the Gilis, Kramat, Moyo, Satonda, and the magnificent 2,000-metre high twin-peaked volcano of Sangeang, before finishing at the remote island of Gili Banta, on the doorstep of the Komodo National Park.

Along the way, there are many highlights: high volcanoes, excellent beaches and sandy strands, waterfalls, nature reserves, and sparkling snorkelling sites. However, the highlight for many visitors is the chance to encounter the largest fish in the ocean, the mighty whale sharks of Saleh Bay.

Komodo National Park: The Land That Time Forgot

Best time to visit: April to October

Established as a World Heritage Site in 1980, the Komodo National Park is 250 nautical miles east of Bali, nestled between Sumbawa and Flores, the two largest and longest islands in a region of Indonesia known as Nusa Tenggara. Comprising the three major islands of Komodo, Padar, and Rinca, and many smaller islands and rocky islets, the park encompasses 1,817 square kilometres. With its outstanding natural beauty and raw environment, Komodo is considered one of the world’s most exciting yachting destinations.

Adventurous visitors can trek to the desolate peaks of jagged mountains, witness breathtaking scenery, and get up close and personal with ferocious Komodo Dragons. Over the reefs and seamounts in the channels, scuba divers can experience one of the world’s richest marine environments, with dive sites so colourful and diverse as to defy description.

Raja Ampat: The Realm of the Four Kings

Best time to visit: November to March

The pristine Raja Ampat National Park is located offshore from the Bird’s Head Peninsula, on the north-western tip of the continental-sized island of Papua, in far eastern Indonesia. Positioned at the heart of what is known as the “coral triangle,” Raja Ampat casts a spell on all who visit: scuba divers, adventurers and explorers, crusty sea salts, photographers, filmmakers, and scientists alike.

Covering a massive 50,000 square kilometres, Raja Ampat, meaning “Four Kings”, is named for the four major islands of Waigeo, Batanta, Salawati, and Misool, but is also comprised of hundreds of smaller islands and islets. Visitors can enjoy exploring vast cathedral caves, scrambling up to craggy peaks to catch otherworldly views of extraordinary lagoons and rock formations, or experience the mating rituals of the elusive “Birds of Paradise” in the high forests. Combined with an array of stunning picture-perfect sandy beaches and some of the world’s very best scuba diving, this makes Raja Ampat one of the finest cruise destinations on the planet.

The Spice Islands: Journey Back into the Mists of Time

Best time to visit: October to November

Once one of the most influential regions in world commerce, when nutmeg was more valuable than gold, the Spice Islands of Central Maluku included Ambon, Haruku, and Saparua, as well as the more remote Banda Islands. This fascinating and vital area is slowly evolving into a sensational luxury yacht destination. Located in the northern reaches of the deep blue Banda Sea, this intriguing cruising ground combines excellent watersports anchorages with welcoming local communities. However, it’s the topside sites of historical importance that draw most of the attention.

The mythical Banda Islands, in particular, allow visitors to step back in time at this otherworldly destination. Clouded in the distant past and set among jaw-dropping scenery and fascinating 17th-century artefacts, these sleepy islands are a valuable addition to any adventurous traveller’s itinerary. The outer islands of the Banda group, Run, Ai, and Hatta, are just a short distance away from the ancient wonders of the central island capital, Banda Neira. These islands feature some excellent dive sites along with incredible snorkelling reefs and beaches, making them perfect locations for luxury speedboat exploration.

Ujung Kulon & The Seven Wonders of Banten

Best time to visit: April to October

Add adventure to your life and embark on an exciting journey to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre of Ujung Kulon. Ujung Kulon National Park, in West Java, is home to the last remaining population of Javan rhinos. There are only approximately 60 Javan rhinos that still survive today, putting them near the top of the list of endangered animals. Ujung Kulon is the best place to see this remarkable animal in its natural habitat.

We continue our journey towards Krakatau, the world-famous, deserted, and active seaborne volcano. Here it is possible to see what remains after the cataclysmic 1883 eruption, one of history’s most violent recorded volcanic explosions. After trekking up to Anak Krakatau, intrepid hikers can enjoy the fantastic views from the summit over the Krakatau island region, located west of Java, in the Sunda Strait. It comprises the four famous islands of Sibuku, Sebesi, Sanghyang, and Lagundi.

Nicknamed the “Seven Wonders of Banten”, the area also offers excellent scuba diving options. Mysterious shipwrecks, deep wall exploration, and the chance to admire the relatively new hard coral reef systems that have formed on the lava flows from past volcanic eruptions.

 

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