An Indonesian Island Odyssey

An Indonesian Island OdysseyA private yachting voyage is the ultimate DIY adventure whether surfing the awesome waves of Sumbawa, reef diving off Flores or exploring the mysterious animist rituals of Sumba Island

The world’s largest archipelago can boast a mind boggling 10,000 plus uninhabited tropical islands – never before has a would-be Robinson Crusoe had so much choice. Sprawling over 5,000 km from the Indian Ocean to the northern tip of Australia, Indonesia’s attraction lies in the fact that many of these off-the-radar islands are simply too isolated to reach without the luxury of a private yacht. A private yachting voyage is the ultimate DIY adventure whether surfing the awesome waves of Sumbawa, reef diving off Flores or exploring the mysterious animist rituals of Sumba Island.

Day 1 – 3
Bali – Lombok

After a couple of days R’n’R in the bohemian Gili Islands (50 km east of Bali) set sail at a leisurely pace eastward along the north Lombok coastline.  Every step of the way, rising above the cloud is the awesome bulk of Lombok’s Mount Rinjani, Indonesia’s second highest volcano. At almost 4,000 meters and a fairly arduous three day climb, this is one to tick off the bucket list if time allows on the return leg to Bali. Spend the night at sleepy Gili Lawang, a tiny offshore islet noted for glorious ocean sunsets.  Wake up with an early morning skinny dip with dolphins.

An Indonesian Island OdysseyDay 4
Lombok – Sumbawa

Across the narrow Alas Strait, Sumbawa is hot, dry and rugged, yet the offshore island of Moyo offers a distinctly lush paradise of dense rainforest, waterfalls and pristine mangroves. For an unforgettable night on terra firma, there is also an ultra luxury tented village resort hidden deep in the jungle, favored by adventurous A-listers and royalty.

Day 5 – 6
Sumbawa – Labuan Bajo, Flores

Heading toward Flores and the fabled Komodo National Park, look out for the rocky Mount Tambora peninsular, scene of the most powerful volcanic eruption ever in history. By nightfall, the bustling port and diver’s haven of Labuan Bajo is a refreshing sight with a handful of bohemian beach bars and grilled seafood under the stars.

An Indonesian Island OdysseyDay 7
Labuan Bajo – Komodo

The islands of Komodo and Rinca hit the bullseye for biodiversity. On land, these hot, dusty islands, famed for pink sand beaches are home to the infamous Komodo Dragon, a prehistoric throwback and the largest species of lizard in the world. Under the water, there are pristine coral reefs which are acclaimed as one of the world’s richest marine environments.

Day 8
Komodo – Ende

Come ashore at the Dutch colonial port of Ende, both the birthplace of the Indonesian independence movement and the gateway to the famous multicoloured lakes of Kelimutu. Yet another of the bizarre natural phenomena that Indonesia seems to specialize in, Kelimutu is a volcano with three huge crater lakes, each of a different color. Currently red, green and blue respectively, the colors dramatically change periodically and have baffled scientists for decades. A few hours south of here is the island of Sumba, noted for mysterious megalithic tombs and the famed “Pasola” ritual war on horseback.

An Indonesian Island OdysseyDay 9 – 10
Ende – Larantuka

At the extreme eastern tip of Flores is Larantuka, where you can expect plenty of playful activity in the water. A mind-blowing 20 different species of whales and dolphins come to bask in the sunshine here. Larantuka itself is an old Portuguese stronghold and still devoutly Catholic. Reinha Rosari Cathedral is the standout landmark in town and the Holy Week celebrations are arguably the most vibrant in Indonesia, mixing orthodox candlelit processions and animist rituals.

Day 11 – 13
Larantuka – Sumbawa – Bali

For the return journey back to the bright lights of Bali, follow the southern coastline of Sumbawa – wild, untamed and ruggedly beautiful. Check out the awesome offshore waves and boho beach scene of Lakey Peak, while further west at the southern tip of Lombok, Kuta (a world away from its hedonistic Bali namesake) has an endless supply of dreamy white sand beaches and towering ocean swells.Islands off the Radar – The Intrepid Traveler’s Guide to the Gili Islands