Whether you get there by ferry or short flight, Indonesia is a hassle-free holiday option from Singapore. It helps that it has some of the most beautiful places on the planet! Here’s a roundup of some resorts and experiences to follow up on when planning your next getaway.
Visiting Southeast Sulawesi
If exploring under the sea is your thing, Wakatobi Resort in Southeast Sulawesi is among the planet’s premier diving destinations – and a stunning spot for snorkelling, too – with some of the finest coral you’ll find. Stay here and you’ll have access to a private marine preserve, which is home to thriving reefs and an incredible array of animal life.
Back on shore, Wakatobi’s private villas and bungalows are tucked into a beachside palm grove, where there is five-star service and gourmet dining to enjoy – all with what you might call a toes-in-the-sand charm. You can reach the resort via a direct charter flight from Bali.
Special offer: Aside from offering diving packages, Wakatobi is currently offering a 10-night Unlimited Snorkelling package from US$4,997 per person, including flights from Bali, all chef-prepared meals and snacks, activities, three guided boat snorkels, plus discounts and bonuses. There’s a Light Snorkelling package too, covering a seven-night stay.
For more details, call +62 361 759669, email email@example.com or visit wakatobi.com.
Visiting Telunas Private Island
Couples visiting Telunas Private Island, which is accessible by boat from Singapore, will appreciate the resort’s brand new adult-only Ridge Villas. Each villa offers a fabulous view of the sea and a private plunge pool, with a spacious master bedroom, an open-air living room, and an oversized ensuite bathroom with an indoor/outdoor shower. Note that there are only five Ridge Villas, so they fill up fast!
This is a family-friendly destination too, and the fifteen overwater villas include a kids’ loft and allow you to fish right from your deck. There’s a school break right around the corner, so this could be the ideal spot for your next family trip.
Telunas Resorts continues to strive to impact Indonesia for a better tomorrow by digging wells in local communities, protecting endangered sea turtles and the environment, repairing and painting schools, and replacing roofs for local islanders. Guests can get involved by helping to release baby turtles, planting mangrove trees or visiting a local school. Whether you want to spend an hour or an entire day, you can join in the effort to preserve the area’s culture and environment during your Telunas stay.
Book online at telunasresorts.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sailing a phinisi (traditional masted ship)
One memorable way to explore some of Indonesia’s hidden gems is on a phinisi, or traditional masted sailing ship. The team at Scott Dunn has access to the best of these boats, not to mention the best crews, for exploring the pristine beauty of this huge archipelago. On board Ombak Putih and Katherina, for instance, you can sail to mountainous islands with forested coastlines, idyllic white-sand beaches and stunning marine life.
Scott Dunn’s 10-day “Papua’s Whale Sharks and Birds of Paradise” and “Jewels of Raja Ampat” itineraries include everything from seeking out birds of paradise with their incredible plumage, cruising through a maze of karst islets and, if you get really lucky, having the chance to snorkel with whale sharks. It’s a great way to relish the magic of an area that has been described as the “Last Paradise on Earth”.
Special offer: Book by 31 October 2019 through Scott Dunn for any sailing on Ombak Putih or Katherina, departing October 2019 to February 2020, and enjoy a S$150 complimentary bar tab for each adult.
3165 4050 | scottdunn.com
The Expat Living team has been lucky enough to visit Villa Borobudur Resort, and we can tell you now that it has a location to be envied. It’s positioned on the hillside of the Menoreh mountains in Central Java, overlooking a vast valley of lush vegetation and the renowned Merapi volcano. It’s also just 3km from the world’s largest Buddhist temple, Borobudur.
The seven uniquely designed villas on site all come with personal staff and private swimming pools, and an emphasis on privacy, while the colourful and flavourful food reflects authentic Indonesian culinary traditions.
Guests can expect around-the-clock personal service and a full range of activities and services that explore Javanese nature, culture and arts. There are sunset yoga classes to take part it, or sunrise meditation sessions in the temples surrounding the resort; or, you can hike the region’s volcanoes, experience a memorable road-trip or cycling session, and even discover Javanese spirituality. Tailored programmes and offers are available too – so, if you have a particular holiday wish list you want to satisfy, do ask about it.
+62 851 0052 5520 | villaborobudurresort.com
“One of the best nearby spots to recharge your batteries is Bintan, just a stone’s throw from Singapore.
“The first stop on our recent trip was the Bintan sand dunes, with their fascinating views. Try to get here early, before the tourists start arriving by the busload. (We took the first ferry of the morning from Singapore so we could explore the island before the crowds!)
“Next, we headed to Avalokitesvara Graha Temple (Guan Yin Temple), situated amidst dragonfruit plantations. With a huge Buddha statue and a peaceful ambience, you can spend a few hours here. At the 500 Lohan Temple, we were wowed by a massive statue of Buddha at the entrance. Inside, wall carvings provided an insight into the transformation of King Siddhartha to Buddha. There were also 500 life-size sculptures, each with a different facial expression. It’s a wonderful place and well worth a visit.
“Another highlight was the Aroma River Spa. There’s a rustic feel here, with the spa built on stilts on a mangrove river; guests are transported on a wooden canoe. After enjoying the spa, you can spend time at the private beach. The experience can also be paired with a mangrove tour and a meal at Mutiara Beach Resort.
“We stayed at Angsana Bintan, which has refreshing views of clear blue waters and easy accessibility to the various properties of Bintan Resorts. The authentic Thai delicacies at Saffron restaurant at Banyan Tree are also highly recommended. Basking in the sun on one of Bintan’s white-sand beaches is always a good idea, too.”
– Nikita Agarwal, Indian
“My husband and I went to Lombok in June of this year to take a certified diving course in the Gili Islands. In Lombok, we stayed in the Living Asia Resort at Senggigi. The best thing about this part of Indonesia is its blue and pristine water. It’s one of the best places in the world for water activities like snorkelling and diving, with an abundance of clean beaches and tropical marine life.
“Lombok is a very peaceful place where you just spend your time by the beach and relax. It’s recovering from the series of earthquakes last year – we saw construction everywhere, and people rebuilding their houses.
“The Gili islands are just a 15- to 30-minute boat ride away from Lombok, and are full of energy and great nightlife. Gili is also popular amongst newbie and amateur divers who want to learn or advance their skills. It has friendly waters, a favourable climate and good dive shops. We took our Open Water Certification from DSM Diving Centre – a PADI-certified shop. The marine life around the Gilis is amazing. We saw reef sharks, peacock mantis shrimps, nudibranchs, banded sea snakes, parrot fish, trigger fish, scorpion fish, turtles, puffer fish, box fish and eels.
“As our focus was on diving, we largely spent our time taking the course and relaxing at the beach. But a must do in Lombok is to climb Mount Rinjani.* This active volcano is the second highest in Indonesia.”
– Monali Anandpara, Indian
* Editor’s note: Rinjani’s hiking trails closed after last year’s earthquake. They are opening again, with some restrictions in place.
Like this? Read more in our Travel section.