Indonesia doesn’t do anything by halves; it is the world’s largest archipelago – comprising approximately 1,700 tropical islands in the Indian Ocean – and contains the second-largest tropical rainforest in the world. This rainforest is home to the world’s largest flower, a three-foot-wide orchid, and the world’s largest lizard, the infamous Komodo Dragon; Indonesia’s extremes are vast and truly stupendous.
An all-in-one destination where no two places are the same, Indonesia offers a heady combination of captivating culture, treasured temples, eclectic shopping, stunning tropical vistas, breathtaking volcanic landscapes and unparalleled scuba-diving. It’s also home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches and uber luxurious hotels, which is why a luxury holiday to Indonesia, should be on everyone’s bucket list.
Boasting some of planet Earth’s most dramatic and striking landscapes, Indonesia is home to a number of utterly breathtaking volcanoes. Java houses the famed Gunung Bormo peak, standing at 2392 metres tall, whilst the neighbouring island of Krakatoa is home to the iconic, world-famous Krakatau Peak. Not only are these volcanic landscapes a joy to marvel at and explore, they are also considered holy by many Indonesians; the trinity of sacred mountains, according to the Balinese, comprises Mount Rinjani – the second tallest in Lombok – Agung in Bali and Java’s Bromo mountains.
Temples and Monuments
A nation of spirituality and various religions, Indonesia is home to some of the world’s most beautiful, striking and intriguing temples. Take a trip to beguiling Bali, home to an utterly staggering 10,000 temples, or visit the gem in Java’s crown: the famed and stunning Borobodur Temple, the largest Buddhist monument in existence. Other islands house a number of these beautiful sites of worship, whilst Lombok boasts a unique mixture of temples and mosques. The holiest compound on the island, Pura Lingsar, is multi-denominational, offering spaces of prayer for both Balinese Hindus and Lombok’s strand of Islam.
Forget your modern worries and lose track of time as you immerse yourself in the various beguiling cultures of Indonesia’s islands. Live like a local as you experience the hustle and bustle of traditional markets, stroll past ancient villages, or take a trip through the picturesque rice fields of Bali and Java. The beautiful city of Ubud in Bali is home to countless temples, museums and galleries; Java’s Yogyakarta showcases the island’s spirituality, tradition and creativity; whilst Sumba’s regions each boast their own world-famous and beautiful Ikat weavings.
Walk atop inimitably pristine, powdery white sand that leads you out to the clear, turquoise-coloured waters of the Indian Ocean – welcome to paradise! For exclusivity and luxury, Bali’s beaches are among the best in the world, whilst Lombok offers the same stunning natural beauty in quieter, more rustic surroundings. Enjoy a mesmerising boat ride to Indonesia’s Gili Islands for a true taste of island paradise, or take to the waves with world-class surfing around the archipelago; Sumba Island boasts one of the world’s most coveted waves, ‘God’s Left’, offering a real challenge to even the most experienced surfers.
The diversity of Indonesia continues to the archipelago’s wonderful wildlife; prepare to encounter some fascinating, varied and beautiful creatures, both on land and at sea. Meet the cheeky Balinese Long Tailed Monkeys at Bali’s captivating Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, observing the daily activities of these charming animals. Home to an array of rare, intriguing wildlife, why not visit Java’s UNESCO-listed Ujung Kulong National Park, the last refuge of the One-Horned Javan Rhinoceros – one of the world’s most endangered species? For utterly mesmerising life beneath the Indian Ocean, embark on a mind-blowing scuba-diving excursion, meeting colourful tropical fish, octopus, Reef Sharks and more!
The Borobudur is the one of the most famous Buddhist temples in the world. A vast pyramidal structure it was built in the 8th and 9th centuries, over a period of seventy-five years, out of an estimated two million blocks of stone. Hundreds of images of Buddha stare impassively out over the plains whilst the detailed galleries and terraces leading up to the central stupa tell tales of ancient gods and battles. It was abandoned in the 14th century, for reasons that still remain a mystery, and for centuries lay hidden in the jungle, under layers of volcanic ash. Today it is one of Indonesia’s most popular attractions. Paying homage to its unique neighbour, the domed buildings and circular layout of Amanjiwo echoes those of Borobudur - spectacular views of the monument can be seen from the main building, which houses an open-air bar and restaurant, and all of the freestanding, domed suites.
Forming one corner of the 'Coral Triangle' and containing over 3,000 fish species and 600 species of coral, steep walls, deep water trenches, underwater volcanic mountains, World War II wrecks, and an endless variety of macro life, Indonesia is probably one of the worlds’ best dive sites.
To the east of Bali lies the Lombok Strait, through which flows the greatest volume of tidal water on earth, creating some powerful currents and rollercoaster rides that characterise Bali’s best scuba diving sites. The strong currents cleanse the water and create fantastic visibility of the pelagic fish – mola mola and sunfish – that visit regularly.
A mind-blowing variety of superb dive spots are easily accessible from Amanwana. Guests can organise their underwater programme at The Dive Centre that provides a range of equipment and underwater programmes that include day and night dives.
Weddings & Honeymoons
Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay provides a perfectly exclusive and exotic setting for a private celebration with villas providing Balinese sleeping, dining and bathing pavilions surrounding a courtyard and plunge pool - romance at its finest.
Not having a Balinese massage would be a wasted opportunity. An hour or two of kneading, rolling, stroking and deep-tissue and holistic treatment should quite honestly, be on every Bali-goer’s agenda. At Amanjiwo a range of Javanese and traditional beauty treatments are available including the two-hour Mandi Lulur is a highlight and follows the traditional Javanese preparation of a princess on the eve of her wedding - a masculine version of Mandi Lulur is also available.
Food & Drink
The local rice wine, arak, is fairly potent; Bintang beer is fairly popular whilst Indonesian coffees is amongst the best in the world. Nasi Goreng - fried rice with assorted vegetables normally served with a fried egg on top – is one of Indonesia’s most popular dishes; guests of the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay, can discover the elaborate world of Asian cuisine at The Cooking School. There are three modules to choose from, including Balinese, Spa and Asian cuisine.
Located in the centre of the Gili Isles archipelago, the Komodo National Park is home to the largest living species of lizard in the world, the Komodo dragon. Believed to be a descendant of dinosaurs, Komodos can grow to about eight feet long and weigh in at two-hundred pounds. The Komodo is the only lizard that will attack prey bigger than itself (wild boar, deer and goats) - it will even attack other Komodo dragons.
On the Indonesian island of Bali, Nyepi Day (Silent Day) is celebrated by the Balinese every 355 days, marking the start of a new year in the Balinese calendar. During this holiday, local people stay at home, relax, enjoy the quiet and often, meditate. Generally, this means that services, including transportation and tours, will be unavailable. Nyepi 2015, is 21 March.
Indonesia’s close proximity to the Equator means approximately twelve hours of glorious sunshine a day, alongside a warm tropical climate with year-round temperatures averaging 31°C. The western monsoon brings the dry season, between May and October, when humidity levels are reduced and refreshing breezes blow in from the west, making this the best time to visit (rainfall at this time is infrequent and usually falls at night or in the early morning). Between November and April, the north east monsoon brings drenching rains to the western islands – the heaviest of which are between December and January – alongside continuously high humidity and, often, rough sea conditions.
These figures show monthly average maximum temperatures and monthly average rainfall for Indonesia.
Singapore Airlines from London Heathrow and Manchester to Singapore, British Airways and Qantas from London Heathrow to Singapore with onward connecting flights to Bali and Lombok; Malaysia Airlines from London Heathrow with onward connecting flights to Bali, Lombok and Java.
From London Heathrow to Bali: 16 hours (excludes touchdown time in Singapore).
Travelling With Children or Without an Adult
Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country (for example, South Africa) or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.
Visa and Advance Passenger Information
All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.
If you’re travelling to Indonesia for a holiday of up to 30 days, you can enter the country without a visa at certain airports and seaports, providing you also leave from one of designated airports or seaports. You will not be able to extend your stay beyond 30 days if you enter under this visa waiver scheme. For more information, and to ensure you meet visa requirements prior to travel, it is advised you visit the website of the Indonesian Embassy , or your nearest Indonesian Embassy offices.
Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.
For up-to-date resort information, visit www.fco.gov.uk
Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs from your general practitioner or a specialist clinic as early as possible before travel. Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with Zika. For information about Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (such as Dengue fever and Chikungunya), Lyme Disease (caused by tick bites), and to receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures, please visit http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/insect-tick-bite-avoidance/
In addition, we highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.
Visit the FCO website and select your destination country for the very latest travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Additional sources of information include: www.hpa.org.uk, http://nathnac.net,
www.fco.gov.uk, www.hpa.org.uk and www.nathnac.org, your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.
For information and advice about the risks associated with Zika virus, visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre website. View the travel advice in full here: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/Indonesia