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.
Location: Komodo, Flores, Raja Ampat and elsewhere
Lowdown: With over 17,000 islands, Indonesia is an archipelago dotted with uninhabited islets and secluded bays. Skirting its miles of coastline on board a luxury phinisi, exploring the nooks and crannies of Indonesia’s forgotten islands is a brilliant way to see the true splendour of the country. Cruising the isles of Komodo and Flores or Raja Ampat allows you to get well and truly off the beaten track on a real adventure that takes in sweeping bays, deserted islands, sheltered coves and empty beaches.
For a romantic and exclusive way to see Indonesia, charter the Alexa. This 31-metre private cruise for two promises private picnics, stunning treks and candlelit dinners on board a historic vessel, while Tiger Blue, with four cabins, is perfect for a family adventure, a once-in-a-lifetime trip with old friends or a diving holiday you won’t forget in a hurry.
Logistics: 3158 6530 | scottdunn.com
Location: Seminyak, Bali
Lowdown: Noku Beach House is the ultra-glam star of Seminyak’s exclusive beachfront. With six bedrooms, an army of six-star staff including a gourmet chef and your own personal maître’d, this villa is all about maximising your holiday pleasure.
The centrepiece of the property is a sparkling 27-metre pool, which is flanked by an enormous balé with decks and covered terraces, a spa with plunge pool, vast tropical gardens and a fabulous ocean-front tennis court. Rooftop gardens overlook the ocean and provide a gorgeous hideaway for sundowners.
For meals, you can choose from an elegant indoor dining area, outdoor dining under a covered terrace, a rooftop terrace, or two raised oceanfront decks with long views down the beach to the cliffs of Jimbaran Bay.
Location: 50km south of Singapore
Lowdown: Turn your back on busy city life and enjoy an escape to an upscale private island resort for a weekend or more. Telunas Private Island is one of two properties operated by Telunas Resorts, a family owned boutique resort brand with an emphasis on being environmentally friendly and socially responsible.
Currently ranked the number-one hotel in the Riau Archipelago (including Bintan and Batam) on TripAdvisor, Telunas Private Island is especially popular among expats living in Singapore. The 15 overwater two-bedroom Sea Villas are all built from local timber and with décor inspired by the local culture, and come with children’s lofts and separate sitting rooms.
The resort has a one-of-a-kind overwater spa, a daily kids’ club, complimentary daily social activities, à la carte dining experiences featuring Western and Asian fare, access to neighbouring Telunas Beach Resort public facilities, and more.
The EL team along with some of our readers reflect on their experiences in Indonesia!
“We were picked up from Yogyakarta airport by Paula’s sister and her fiancée (who’s Javanese) on their scooters, which allowed us to get through daytime traffic with ease. We stayed at Hotel NEO Malioboro, located near popular Malioboro Road, one of the first places we visited. It’s very busy and has a lot for the senses to feast on, from local food to a never-ending stream of shops and outlets. At night, it comes alive with street bands (I joined for a couple of songs), lights and a fun atmosphere. If you aren’t comfortable with hustle and bustle then this place mightn’t be for you. The hotel itself is contemporary and pleasant; you’ll be greeted by the friendly hotel staff in their monochrome outfits of black uniforms and white wigs.
We visited a lot of places, but a couple stood out. They include the ancient Borobudur Buddhist temple, with its stunning views. The Gereja Ayam (fondly known as the Chicken Church) also has a fascinating story and stands out for miles around. The Ullen Sentalu Museum in the Kaliurang highlands offers a stunning art and cultural experience and has a fantastic restaurant with local and Western food choices. We meant to head off to Mount Merapi after but it started to pour! Instead, we made our way back to the hotel on our scooters, soaked but enjoying the beautiful countryside, and getting smiles from the local people we passed – who probably thought we were crazy! In fact, the whole trip put a smile on our faces and made us laugh a lot at the madness of it all.” – HARRY AND PAULA COX, BRITISH
“In October 2016, I visited COMO Shambhala Estate Bali, a private retreat located 15 minutes from Ubud. The flight from Changi to Denpasar takes around three hours, then it’s a 90-minute drive to the estate; a COMO transfer costs US$75 one way, but you can easily catch a cab right outside the airport.
The secluded getaway is set in jungle-covered gardens above the Ayung River, so you’re literally surrounded by lush greenery. This is more of a spot for honeymooners, solo travellers, yoga enthusiasts and anyone who wants to get their health back on track, so I’d say it’s best to leave the kids at home. There’s plenty of sporty activities like pilates, aqua-therapy (a must-try) and cycling, but I was perfectly satisfied lounging in my gorgeous suite and the infinity pool.
Service here is top-notch; every suite has a personal assistant who’ll make your stay an extra bit special. Food-wise, this wellness resort offers a mix of the healthful and the naughty. For those on the wellness programmes (they’ve recently launched four new programmes), most meals are held at the open-sided dining venue, Glow. The menu features nutritious, flavourful cuisine such as salads and energising juices, and most of it is raw. If you prefer something with local flair, dine at Kudus House, an intimate Indonesian restaurant occupying a picturesque 150-year-old former Javanese residence. I recommend having breakfast here – you’ll be treated to a breathtaking bird’s eye view of the forest!”– ANTHIA CHNG, SINGAPOREAN
“We decided to go to Batam because we wanted an island holiday that was close by and inexpensive. After a ferry ride from the HarbourFront Centre, we arrived at the Batam Centre Ferry Terminal; our hotel, the four-star Best Western Premier Panbil, was a 20-minute taxi ride from there. This is a secluded spot, well away from the hustle and bustle of the island’s main touristy bits, with polite and efficient staff, a rooftop bar and restaurant, spa and gym facilities, and two infinity pools. The view takes in acres of lush greenery and the DAM Duriangkang Reservoir, and you can hire a bike to cycle around the Panbil estate. Adjacent to the hotel are Villa Panbil and Panbil Residences, stunning Balinese styled villas and luxury apartments available for both short- and long-term stays.
Batam is known for its cheap massage deals and bargain shopping. Our go-to spa is Eska and we were thrilled to discover that our hotel had a branch on site. For food and shopping, we headed to Nagoya Hill Shopping Centre, the island’s largest mall. It has plenty of food options, a huge selection of shops and a hypermarket. The highlight of our trip was discovering the quieter side of Batam. We’ve been to the island several times before, but have usually stayed at hotels close to the ferry terminal or shopping centre for the sake of convenience. We’re looking forward to returning and booking a stay at one of the villas in Panbil next time.” – MARK KEDDIE AND LIANA TALIB, BRITISH AND SINGAPOREAN
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