Dances,
Dragons and Magical Indonesian Lakes

fr US$2,990 / £2,150 per person*

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*Trips are priced in the operator’s local currency. The sterling amount shown is a guide only and the amount you pay in sterling will change with currency fluctuations.

7 nights

Immerse yourself in the Komodo National Park and Indonesia’s Lesser Sunda Islands from an intimate perspective, cruising through a panorama of islands and encountering new wonders on a daily basis. This adventurous, eight-day inclusive voyage of discovery aboard a luxury 24 or 12 passenger Pinsi offers a cross-section of remote beaches, quiet coastal villages, jungle-clad mountain ranges, towering volcanoes, rivers, waterfalls, tribal rituals, a mysterious lake, and the legendary Komodo Dragons. As always, there will be ample opportunity to snorkel and view the kaleidoscopic beauty of the underwater world. Unlimited use of the stand-up paddleboards and sea kayaks onboard will add yet another dimension to your nature explorations.

WANT TO ADD AN ORANGUTAN EXPERIENCE TO YOUR CRUISE?

All of our Dances, Dragons & Magical Lakes departures between April 1st and June 30th have an optional add-on package that involves a jungle river cruise to see orangutans in their natural jungle surroundings, and an opportunity to marvel at the strange-looking, big-nosed proboscis monkeys that line the river, spot amazing birdlife swooping low over the river and singing high in the canopy, and visit and experience the fascinating culture of the famed Dayak people of the rainforest – all from the comfort and ease of an air-conditioned riverboat. Just ask one of our team when booking for more details.

The whole vessel is available for charter. Please enquire for details. 

Trip Start: Mar – Sep



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VESSEL

Vessel Type

Traditional Indonesian Pinisi made from Ironwood

Vessel Length

42 metres

Skipper

Yes. Total crew of 14

Berth

24 guests in 12 cabins

All cabins offer creature comforts and necessary amenities:

  • Spacious twin-share cabins with twin bunks or double beds
  • Each cabin has a private bathroom with toilet and hot shower
  • Washbasin and toiletries provided in your cabin
  • Each cabin has individually controlled air conditioning
  • Towels and beach towels provided and regularly changed
  • Each cabin has a mini safe for valuables and travel documents

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YOUR TRIP

Deposit and cancellation:

25% and Staggered.

See deposit and cancellations policy

Included

  • Professional cruise directors
  • Outdoor sleeping facilities
  • Complimentary snorkelling equipment and two sea canoes (add SUP)
  • Free tea, soft drinks, juices, coffee and mineral water
  • Excellent food and snacks (vegetarian and special menus on request)
  • Television, DVD and music centre in lounge
  • Dining in spacious air conditioned lounge
  • Teak wooden furniture in lounge, cabins and on deck
  • Spacious sun and semi-covered decks
  • Mooring fees

Additional

  • Visits to restaurants, museums, galleries etc during the trip
  • Fine selection of wines, beer and spirits for sale
  • Travel to and from the vessel (including internal/domestic airfares)

Practical Info

  • Open to beginner sailors.
  • Open to families.
  • Open to solo travellers.

GETTING THERE (AND BACK)

Getting there

Fly to Bali.

Getting back

Fly back to Bali from Labuan Bajo harbour

Travel assistance

Need help booking travel and accommodation for your trip? We have teamed up with STA Travel. Their experts will assist you with all your travel requirements. Please enquire when booking.

ITINERARY

Itinerary I

Join: Bali, Indonesia

Leave: Labuan Bajo harbour

Day 1
You will arrive in the afternoon at the beach resort in the delightful and quiet, East Bali coastal village of Amed, where you can relax and unwind with a swim or a snorkel, perhaps a scuba dive, or even a walk in the surrounding village and hillsides. It’s also an opportunity for those unfamiliar with snorkelling to have a lesson with our tour leader. In the evening, enjoy sunset drinks in the seaside bar, before having dinner with your fellow guests to get better acquainted for the voyage ahead.

Day 2
We will wake in the morning at the resort, have a leisurely breakfast and maybe an early morning swim or snorkel before being transported the short distance to the boat, which will be waiting at anchor in the bay. After we board the vessel you will have a chance to settle in before the captain gives the orders for the anchor to be lifted prior to crossing the Lombok Strait. This deep trench of water between Bali and Lombok marks part of a very important ecological boundary called the Wallace Line, which was first described by Sir Alfred Russel Wallace, the renowned Victorian naturalist. Wallace noticed that the flora and fauna of the islands to the west are home to Asiatic animal and plant species, whereas the islands to the east of the invisible line have a greater similarity to species found in Australia. In the afternoon, we will make our first stop at one of the three Gili islands, a popular holiday destination just off Lombok’s northwest coast. We will spend a few hours here, during which time you can choose from a number of water activities: swimming, snorkelling, paddle boarding, kayaking, or simply enjoying the beautiful white-sand beach.

Day 3
Moored off the coast of North Lombok, we will enjoy a hearty breakfast before going ashore and boarding a private bus for a trip into the interior of the northern side of the island and the traditional village of Senaru. Here, we will be taken on a tour, by one of the local women-guides, of the simple thatched houses and gardens of fruits and spices, which will give us an insight into the culture of the indigenous Sasak people. Our mellow adventure will then lead us down a well-trodden flight of steps through the tropical forest to Sindang Gila, a roaring 40-metre tiered waterfall. The small gravel beach and flat rocks at the base of the falls are a meeting place for the local people, and if we want we can take a dip under the full force of the intense flow. Our walk will continue alongside an old irrigation canal offering panoramic vistas of rice fields stretching towards the sea. The area around Senaru and Bayan was the birthplace of Lombok’s unique Wektu Telu belief system in which ancient animist practices are combined with Islam. If we have time, we will visit Bayan Beleq, a grass-roofed mosque with woven bamboo walls. Said to have been founded in the 16th century, this is the oldest mosque in Lombok. We may also have time to see some weavers and spinners demonstrating their age-old skills. After getting back to the boat and having lunch, we will explore one of the coral reefs near Gili Sulat, which is a marine conservation area.

Day 4
This morning we will moor off Labuan Aji village on the island of Moyo, visit the village and then walk to Diwu Mba’i waterfall, where can swing on a rope and jump into the deep clear river pool below, or simply bathe in the refreshing cool water. Our next stop will be Satonda, a strange and mystical volcanic island with a sunken crater lake in its centre that was filled with saltwater when the nearby Mt Tambora erupted in 1815, causing a tsunami that flowed into the crater. The eruption was the biggest volcanic explosion in the collective memory of mankind; it had roughly four times the energy of the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa, and gave rise to the ‘year without a summer’ because of the effect on North American and European weather. Local people believe Satonda to be magical, and with this in mind, we will walk to the lip of the caldera to view the mysterious lake, alongside which are trees believed to be ‘wishing trees.’ Visitors to the island tie a small stone to a tree and make a wish. If your wish comes true, you are bound to return to the island to offer thanks. The seas surrounding the island are rich with soft and hard corals and colourful tropical fish, so we will spend the afternoon swimming and snorkelling. Another highlight of our visit to Satonda will be the sight of thousands of flying foxes that commute at dusk from the island to feed on the mainland, returning before first light the next day. Immediately after sunset, we leave for an overnight passage on a course due east.

Day 5
We will wake up off the coast of Pulau Sangean, an active volcano that towers 1,800 metres above sea level. After breakfast, we will go ashore to a small hamlet, which, because of the active nature of the volcano, is only inhabited for short periods during the year when the local people come to tend their crops and small herds of buffaloes, which we can see swimming in the sea. We will then snorkel on both a nearby reef and a location on the north of the island where volcanic gasses escape in the form of bubbles from the sea floor among the corals, a most interesting sight. We will then proceed to the island of Banta and its pure white sand beach, for an afternoon of swimming, snorkelling and hill climbing for the fit. Later that evening we proceed on to Komodo dragon country.

Day 6
This morning, the boat will be anchored off the famous Komodo Island, one of approximately 80 islands that make up the Komodo National Park. We will go ashore at the ranger station in Loh Liang for an early morning ranger-led trek through the park searching for Komodo dragons. In this savannah-like setting of dry, rugged landscape, we will encounter, at a safe distance, these awe-inspiring, giant lizards – Indonesia’s living dinosaurs. We may spot deer, wild boar, sulphur-crested cockatoos, butterflies, rare orchids, and jungle chickens among the strangle-fig trees and the distinctive lontar palms. After returning to the onboard we will cruise around the coast and visit Komodo village, where we can buy some local handicrafts. Later we may head to Pantai Merah ‘red-beach,’ which takes its name from the particles of red coral mingled with the sand. Here we will swim and snorkel over one of the richest reefs in Eastern Indonesia, relishing the unforgettable spectacle of the region’s many varieties of coral and marine life. Later, we will head to Makassar Reef, where we will look for manta rays, and if we spot them, we will go snorkelling with these gentle giants. We will then head to Gili Lawa Darat for some more snorkelling and a hill climb to watch a magical sunset.

Day 7
Today we will visit the ranger station of Loh Buaya on Rinca Island where we will have another ranger-led nature trek in search of more Komodo dragons, which are indigenous to this small group of islands. Rinca is also well known for its diverse wildlife, so we may spot monkeys, wild buffaloes and deer as well. From the top of the hills, the scenery is breathtaking. In the afternoon, we can go snorkelling on the beautiful Siaba Island, before perhaps visiting the lovely Kelor Island. We will also have the option of visiting the adjacent island of Kukusan where we will meet a settlement of ‘sea-gypsies,’ the Bajao people who build their homes on stilts over the sea. That evening we will go ashore to an uninhabited island and get our toes in the sand for a final night’s beach barbeque. With a raging bonfire, great food, dancing and the crew singing and playing guitars, this end-of-cruise celebration under the stars.

Day 8
For those early risers, we will have time for one last swim and snorkel, before cruising into Labuan Bajo harbour. At about 9am we will leave the boat for a trip to the village of Melo. Here, local ‘strongmen’ will perform the ‘Caci,’ a ritual whip-fight between two rivals in which the players, each armed with a rattan shield and a whip, will try to hit each other while dancing to the rhythm of traditional acoustic instruments. The men of Western Flores are famous for this test of daring and skill, requiring lightning quick moves to dodge the infliction of a wound. The winner is loudly applauded and cheered by the village. Besides this, the cultural group will also showcase other traditional dances. After the performance, we will have lunch on the boat before transferring you to the airport for your flight back to Bali.

WANT TO ADD AN ORANGUTAN EXPERIENCE TO YOUR CRUISE?

All of our Dances, Dragons & Magical Lakes departures between April 1st and June 30th have an optional add-on package that involves a jungle river cruise to see orangutans in their natural jungle surroundings, and an opportunity to marvel at the strange-looking, big-nosed proboscis monkeys that line the river, spot amazing birdlife swooping low over the river and singing high in the canopy, and visit and experience the fascinating culture of the famed Dayak people of the rainforest – all from the comfort and ease of an air-conditioned riverboat.

Itinerary II

Join: Labuan Bajo harbour

Leave: Bali

Day 1
After flying from Bali in the early afternoon, you will be transported to a beachside resort just outside of the port town of Labuan Bajo, the gateway to the Komodo National Park. You will have the afternoon free to relax and unwind with a swim or a snorkel, or even a walk around the town. It’s also an opportunity for those unfamiliar with snorkelling to have a lesson with our tour leader. In the evening, we will enjoy sunset drinks on the beach before dinner with your fellow guests as you get better acquainted for the voyage ahead.

Day 2
After breakfast at the resort, at about 9am we will leave the resort for a trip to the village of Melo. Here, local ‘strongmen’ will perform the ‘Caci,’ a ritual whip-fight between two rivals in which the players, each armed with a rattan shield and a whip, will try to hit each other while dancing to the rhythm of traditional acoustic instruments. The men of Western Flores are famous for this test of daring and skill, requiring lightning quick moves to dodge the infliction of a wound. The winner is loudly applauded and cheered by the village. Besides this, the cultural group will also showcase other traditional dances. After our visit to Melo we will return to Labuan Bajo where you will get your first glimpse of your splendid pinisi boat. We will have plenty of time to settle in and get acquainted with the crew and fellow passengers as we cruise to the island of Kelor. Once there, we can enjoy a swim or a snorkel, kayak, or have a little bit of fun on a paddleboard. We will also have the option of visiting the adjacent island of Kukusan where we will meet a settlement of ‘sea-gypsies,’ the Bajao people who build their homes on stilts over the sea. At around sunset we will be able to witness the departure of thousands of flying foxes departing their roosts to feed, and later that evening we will cruise to Komodo dragon country.

Day 3
Today we will visit the ranger station of Loh Buaya on Rinca Island where we will have a ranger-led nature trek in search of Komodo dragons, which are indigenous to this small group of islands. Rinca is also well known for its diverse wildlife, so we may spot monkeys, wild buffaloes and deer as well. From the top of the hills along the walks, the scenery is breathtaking. In the afternoon, we can go snorkelling in the rich waters of Siaba Island and then later we will head to the gorgeous Pantai Merah ‘red-beach,’ which takes its name from the particles of red coral mingled with the sand. Here we will swim and snorkel, relishing the unforgettable spectacle of the region’s many varieties of coral and marine life. With over 1000 species of fish in the waters of the national park, there is much more to this wildlife reserve than just dragons.

Day 4
When we wake up, the boat will be anchored off the famous Komodo Island, one of approximately 80 islands that make up the Komodo National Park. We will go ashore at the ranger station in Loh Liang for an early morning ranger-led trek through the park searching for Komodo dragons. In this savannah-like setting of dry, rugged landscape, we will encounter, at a safe distance, these awe-inspiring, giant lizards – Indonesia’s living dinosaurs. We may spot deer, wild boar, sulphur-crested cockatoos, butterflies, rare orchids, and jungle chickens among the strangle-fig trees and the distinctive lontar palms. During lunch, we will head to Makassar Reef, where we will look for manta rays, and if we are lucky enough to spot them we will go snorkelling with these gentle giants. We will then head to Gili Lawa Darat for some snorkelling and a hill climb to watch a magical sunset, then will get our toes in the sand for a beach barbeque. With a raging bonfire, great food, dancing and the crew singing and playing guitars, this celebration under the stars.

Day 5
We will wake up off the coast of Banta Island with its pinkish-white sand beach. We will go ashore and enjoy a morning of swimming, snorkelling and hill climbing for the fit. After lunch on the boat, we will then proceed to Pulau Sangean, an active volcano that towers 1,800 metres above sea level. We will go ashore to a small and very simple village, which, because of the active nature of the volcano, is only inhabited for short periods during the year when the local people come to tend their crops and small herds of buffaloes. We can see the buffaloes on the beach and sometimes even swimming in the sea. We will snorkel on both a nearby reef and maybe a location on the north of the island where volcanic gasses escape in the form of bubbles from the sea floor among the corals, a most interesting sight. At sunset we will head for Satonda Island.

Day 6
Today we reach the strange and mystical volcanic island of Satonda with its beautiful coral gardens along the coastline. Satonda has a sunken crater lake in its centre that was filled with saltwater when the nearby Mt Tambora erupted in 1815, causing a tsunami that flowed into the crater. The eruption was the biggest volcanic explosion in the collective memory of mankind; it had roughly four times the energy of the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa, and gave rise to the ‘year without a summer’ because of the effect on North American and European weather. Local people believe Satonda to be magical, and with this in mind, we will walk to the lip of the caldera to view the mysterious lake, alongside which are trees believed to be ‘wishing trees.’ Visitors to the island tie a small stone to a tree and make a wish. If your wish comes true, you are bound to return to the island to offer thanks. From Satonda we will cruise to the island of Moyo where we will moor off Labuan Aji village and walk to Diwu Mba’i waterfall. Here, we can swing on a rope and jump into the deep clear river pool below, or simply bathe in the refreshing cool water. Returning to the sea, we will find time for snorkelling on the reef, and later relax under the stars aboard the Ombak Putih as we will continue our westward voyage to Lombok.

Day 7
Moored off the coast of North Lombok, we will have breakfast and then go ashore and then head off by bus or car into the interior of the northern side of the island to the traditional village of Senaru. Here, we will be taken on a tour, by one of the local women-guides, of the simple thatched houses and gardens of fruits and spices, which will give us an insight into the culture of the indigenous Sasak people. Our mellow adventure will then lead us down a well-trodden flight of steps through the tropical forest to Sindang Gila, a roaring 40-metre tiered waterfall. The small gravel beach and flat rocks at the base of the falls are a meeting place for the local people, and if we want we can take a dip under the full force of the intense flow. Our walk will continue alongside an old irrigation canal offering panoramic vistas of rice fields stretching towards the sea. The area around Senaru and Bayan was the birthplace of Lombok’s unique Wektu Telu belief system in which ancient animist practices are combined with Islam. If we have time, we will visit Bayan Beleq, a grass-roofed mosque with woven bamboo walls. Said to have been founded in the 16th century, this is the oldest mosque in Lombok. We may also see some weavers and spinners demonstrating their age-old skills. After lunch on the boat we will set off west in the direction of Gili Air, one of three popular holiday destination islands, arriving sometime after 3pm. Here we will snorkel and swim and perhaps have a visit to this popular tourist island, before having a last night party with the crew on board.

Day 8
We will wake up off the coast of Bali under the majestic gaze of Mt Agung, Bali’s mother mountain. Here we will go for a final snorkel and swim before heading south along the coast to our disembarkation point of Amuk Bay. Here we say farewell to our crew and will join a bus for the 90-minute trip back to south Bali.

WANT TO ADD AN ORANGUTAN EXPERIENCE TO YOUR CRUISE?

All of our Dances, Dragons & Magical Lakes departures between April 1st and June 30th have an optional add-on package that involves a jungle river cruise to see orangutans in their natural jungle surroundings, and an opportunity to marvel at the strange-looking, big-nosed proboscis monkeys that line the river, spot amazing birdlife swooping low over the river and singing high in the canopy, and visit and experience the fascinating culture of the famed Dayak people of the rainforest – all from the comfort and ease of an air-conditioned riverboat.

KIT LIST

Temperature in this sailing area varies little (27° to 33° Celsius year-round) with mostly blue skies and light winds. We suggest you bring the following:

Light cotton/ linen clothes, including a pair of long trousers for visits in the villages

Water shoes (boots or plastic shoes)

Hiking shoes

Camera

A plastic / waterproof  bag for your camera when disembarking

High protection suntan lotion

A hat

Insect repellent

Dive/ snorkelling equipment if you have your own (there is plenty on board)

A sweater for cool evenings

INSURANCE

Specialist off-shore sailing insurance is required. We can direct you to the insurer we use. Ask for information when you enquire.

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