The ultimate three-week holiday in Indonesia
Comprising thousands of tropical islands, which are home to breathtaking beaches and some of the world’s best hotels, Indonesia is an amazing destination to explore. Our trips are all totally tailor-made and meticulously designed to perfectly suit each and every client; but in order to give you an idea of what we can create, below we have described a three-week journey that takes in some of the country’s highlights – from the temples of Borobudur in Central Java to a private yacht charter in Komodo National Park – and includes cazenove+loyd touches throughout.
Days 1-5: Amankila, Bali
You will travel overnight to Denpasar Airport, on Bali, via Singapore. Having been met off your plane and escorted through immigration, baggage claim and customs, you will be be driven to Amankila, about an hour and a half away.
Amankila is probably the most famous of all the Aman hotels. Situated on a headland on the east coast and set against the dramatic backdrop of Mount Agung, this is our favourite beach hotel on Bali. It has stunning freestanding suites, legendary service, a private beach, a 41m swimming pool and spectacular vistas of the Lombok Strait. Much of your time here will pass relaxing at the Beach Club or enjoying massages in the Spa Pavilion.
On your second day, you will experience a traditional Melukat water blessing ceremony performed by Pak Mangku, the local priest. He will bless you and place yarn bracelets on your wrists to encourage love, health and happiness. Later, you will be taken on a scenic drive through the countryside to a bale (a small Indonesian hut or shelter) called Tirta Sari, where you can enjoy the picturesque views over the rice fields. You will then arrive at a candlelit pathway, which will lead you across the plantations to Aman’s bale, where your own private chef and waiter will await you. As you unwind, they will prepare a delicious and authentic Balinese satay feast for you.
The following day, after breakfast, you will explore the dramatic coastline on a traditional Balinese fishing boat. There will be snorkelling equipment on-board, so you can swim in the shallow waters teeming with reef fish. In the afternoon, you could venture out on a hike – we particularly recommend the one from Kastala to Tenganan – or simply put your feet up at the hotel. There is also a tennis court in the heart of the jungle, a fitness pavilion and a resident yoga instructor offering private and group yoga.
Days 6-8: Ubud, Bali
Your driver will take you to Ubud, a town in the verdant uplands of Bali. Here, your home for the next three nights will be the Four Seasons’ Bali at Sayan, which was voted the World’s Top Hotel in 2018 in recognition of its unique location perched beside Bali’s stunning Ayung River and its curated experiences that connect guests with the island’s cultural heartland. The Four Seasons is the perfect base to explore Ubud and laze by the hotel’s two-tiered swimming pool or your villa’s private plunge pool.
One morning, your guide will take you cycling through the UNESCO-listed rice fields, traditional villages and hidden temples nearby. On another, you could go on a guided walk, join a yoga or meditation session or venture into Ubud. The hotel has a daily shuttle into town, making it easy to go off and explore at your own pace. There are also some fantastic restaurants in Ubud – two of our favourites being Mozaic, a romantic, gastronomic restaurant, and Italian restaurant, Uma Cucina, at Como Uma Ubud, both top-notch spots for dinner.
Days 9-11: Central Java
At lunchtime, you will be collected by your driver and taken to Denpasar Airport. When you arrive in Yogyakarta, in Central Java, you will be whisked away on arrival to Amanjiwo, where you will stay for the next three nights.
Amanjiwo is one of the Aman group’s most opulent properties. It has striking views over the temple site of Borobudur, the largest Buddhist sanctuary in the world, from which the hotel draws its design inspiration with its dramatic domes and curved colonnades. The elegant, limestone infinity pool is flanked by rows of cream parasols and wooden loungers, where you can lie back and admire sweeping views of the surrounding rice fields and volcanic peaks.
If you feel up to an early start on your first day, your guide will take you to visit Borobudur at dawn. Built in the 9th century, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of Southeast Asia’s man-made marvels and the fact that Amanjiwo guests are allowed in an hour before the general public makes it even more magnificent. Later, you can go trekking in the Menoreh Hills, which are famed for their mystical power. In the 1820s, Java’s charismatic hero, Prince Diponegoro, sought spiritual wisdom in the caves near here. Today, the Javanese still come to Bukit Menorah seeking revelation.
Some of your time here should be spent enjoying the facilities at this truly unique hotel, but we can also organise for your guide to take you cycling through local villages to gain an insight into daily life as it unfolds in Central Java. In addition, one of our favourite things to arrange for clients is a very special dinner at local Pak Bilal’s house. Pak graciously opens his doors to Amanjiwo’s guests, giving them an enchanting glimpse into Javanese rural culture. The traditional menu is cooked over charcoal burners and is absolutely delectable. Listen to the gentle background music of the gamelan – bronze percussion instruments – and let things take their course the Javanese way.
Days 12-15: Komodo National Park
Early on day 12, your driver will take you back to the airport for your flight to Labuan Bajo via Jakarta. You will be driven to the harbour and transferred by speedboat to your private yacht, ALEXA, which is truly one of a kind. It is the only sailboat in Indonesia designed for just two guests and has a crew of seven, including a massage therapist, a talented private chef and a cruise director. You will spend the next three days exploring Komodo National Park in style.
Once onboard, you can sip a glass of your favourite drink while you meet the team. First, ALEXA will cross to Sebayor Island. The dive site, Sebayor Kecil, is perfect for snorkelling too, and you might encounter blacktip reef sharks, schools of tuna and green turtles. You will then sail on to Rinca Island. During this time, you may wish to have a spa treatment from your therapist. Sunset drinks will be served before dinner and it’s up to you whether you would prefer to dine onboard or on Wai Nilu Beach, where the yacht will anchor for the night.
The next morning, you can trek through Rinca’s ‘savannah’ in search of the legendary Komodo dragon, which are only found in three places on the planet – Padar, Rinca and Komodo. To avoid the heat of the day, this will be an early start but it is worth it to escape the crowds.
On your return, a well-deserved, hearty breakfast awaits before you depart to Komodo Island. Upon arriving at Pink Beach, you will have lunch onboard and a swim in the many shades of turquoise waters. The underwater scenery is as awe-inspiring and full of life as the one above it. As the day ends, you may wish to enjoy another spa treatment, before watching the sun set over the hills of Komodo Island and having a scrumptious dinner.
On your last day onboard ALEXA, you will set sail for Toro Longkoi. On arrival, swim in ‘Manta Alley’, located in the south-west of Komodo, which is a famous area to see rays and snorkel with them, if you wish, as they circle in an underwater ballet around you. Known as the most active area in all of Komodo because of its topography, three rocks in this deep bay are covered in an array of vibrant soft and hard coral gardens and inhabited by large numbers of fish, including species, such as jack, tuna, Napoleon, barracuda and many others.
After lunch, you will continue on to Tatawa Besar, where there are abundant turtles, which you can usually spot gliding beneath the waves. You will anchor here for the night, finishing your last day with a barbecue on a soft white, sandy beach under the stars.
Days 16-21: Nihi Sumba
Back on dry land, you will return to Labuan Bajo airport, fly to Denpasar and on to Tambolaka on the island of Sumba in eastern Indonesia. One of the most wild and beautiful isles in the world, and almost entirely preserved from urban development, Sumba is the perfect place to end your trip.
Here, you will be staying at Nihi Sumba, once voted ‘Best Hotel in the World’ by Travel + Leisure. Its scattering of freestanding luxury villas make it a very romantic and spoiling spot to completely switch off from the real world. Nihi attracts like-minded spirits who congregate here to hike, horse-ride and experience the distinct culture of Sumba.
Surfing is another big draw. People come from all around the world for the famous surf and it is hard not to be mesmerised by the endless sets pounding the sand. We would definitely recommend a group or private surf lesson. There is also excellent food, including a Japanese sushi bar called Kaboku.
There’s plenty to do on Sumba. As the sun sets on your first evening here, you will be guided by a local Sumbanese horseman for an exhilarating canter through the rolling ocean shallows. This is one of the most memorable ways to enjoy the changing hues over the island at this time of day. One morning, you might like to visit the Sumba Foundation. Nihi Sumba is a luxury hotel with a conscience, and its close relationship with the Sumbanese people has changed the lives of the indigenous communities on the island. You could visit a local water project, a malaria-combating health clinic or volunteer with the school lunch programme.
Another highlight of any stay here is a ‘spa safari’. The day will start with a 90-minute walk to Nihi Oka spa in the secluded nearby Nihi Oka Valley, followed by morning yoga under the palm trees and a bush-cooked breakfast served in a lovely treehouse platform nestled in ancient rocks perched above the coast and crashing waves. After breakfast, you will be taken to your private bale for the day by two spa therapists who will perform any number of heavenly treatments amid uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean.
Otherwise, you’ll spend your days sunbathing, reading, stand-up paddle-boarding, swimming in the infinity pool or joining yoga and meditation classes.
On your last day at Nihi, if you are feeling active, we suggest hiking or mountain biking to nearby waterfalls. You will pass some incredible birdlife en route – Sumba harbours more than 300 species and eight endemics found nowhere else on earth, including the hornbill, fruit dove, button quail and paradise flycatcher. That evening, we will arrange a magical private dinner on the beach – the perfect way to round off your extraordinary adventure in Indonesia.