Start with a few days in Bali, an island that moves to its own transcendent rhythm. You’ll be based in its most mystical town, Ubud, where you’ll be spiritually seduced by its artsy culture and expertise in indigenous healing therapies. Meet mischievous long-tailed macaques and jungle-cloaked Hindu temples on an Ubud Monkey Forest tour as you wander along its vine-wrapped trails, before a guided hike through the rice paddies of Tegalalang. You’ll have another day to stroll Ubud’s prayer flag-lined and gamelan-soundtracked streets, before hopping on a flight to Komodo Island – the land of dragons.
Here, you’ll board your home for the next week, the luxury boat Aqua Blu. Its small size means it can reach many of Komodo National Park’s wonders that plenty of other cruise ships can’t, while still ensuring you island-hop in style. Your Komodo National Park tour will begin among the footprint-free sands of Gili Lawa Laut, where you can snorkel straight from the beach for encounters with sea turtles. Next, you’ll meet the archipelago’s namesake dragons among mangroves and savannah-coated hills on a Rinca Island tour; a meeting with these ancient creatures is one you won’t forget. The following day, you’ll search for sea eagles and more Komodo dragons aboard Aqua Blu’s skiffs in the volcanic caldera of Horseshoe Bay before reclining on the blancmange-tinged sands of Pink Beach.
Dragons may be the primeval drawcard but Komodo National Park’s diving hotspots are its trump card. You’ll discover this when you explore the depths of the Linta Strait, where you’ll glide alongside manta rays, trevallies and barracuda. After you’ve dried off, clamber up a peak on Padar Island for an epic view of its glittering bay and curving rugged coastline, before toasting to nature’s magic with a sundowner cocktail on the beach. You’ll uncover more idyllic beaches and rainforest hiking trails on Gili Banta, become reacquainted with Komodo dragons in the wild on West Komodo before waking up to inquisitive whale sharks in Saleh Bay.
Your last day in the Komodo archipelago will quite possibly be the wildest: tread the wild jungle paths of the remote Moyo Island to stumble upon secret waterfalls, off-the-map fishing communities and the kaleidoscopic Angel Reef. After all that adventure, you’ll spend a few decadent days winding down on Bali’s south-western shores at The Bvlgari Resort, twinning Italian elegance with tropical chic isolation.
With a name like the Hanging Gardens of Bali, you’re probably already conjuring thoughts of a lush oasis. The truth exceeds even your wildest imagination, with the Hanging Gardens of Bali defying gravity on an emerald hillside and enveloped by bamboo, orchids and coffee trees. Each one of the alang alang-thatched Balinese villas comes complete with outdoor showers and heated plunge pools, while the inventine design of the infinity pool mirrors nearby rice terraces. This is your very own Indonesian Eden.
A cruise is a fine way to see several of Indonesia’s island gems in one hit and Aqua Blu is the most luxurious way to do it. You’re tracing the wake of legends, with Aqua Blu’s CV revealing a past life as a British naval explorer HMS Beagle and yacht for a European aristocratic family. Onboard, the stylish brass-and-ivory interior exudes comfort, while the twenty-five-strong crew includes guides and a diving instructor, making for ultimate flexibility when discovering Indonesia’s wonders on land and at sea.
Teetering on a clifftop 150m above the Indian Ocean, The Bulgari Resort boasts one of Bali’s finest views. Fashioned by Italian architects, this is chic Milan meets Balinese jungle, with tropical woods and hand-hewn volcanic stone used to create its glamorous interiors and Balinese antiques and handicrafts ensuring an ever-present sense of place. Frangipani-scented pathways lead you to your thatched villa but that view is best appreciated from the dazzling infinity pool or the resort’s private beach, accessed via a sleek inclinator.
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