Bromo, Java, Indonesia
Indonesia,Bali
Nihi Sumba, Indonesia
Borobudur Temple, Java, Indonesia
Alila Villa, Uluwatu, Bali

...Insight

Indonesia

THE WORLD’S LARGEST ARCHIPELAGO

With more than 17,000 islands to choose from, the world’s largest archipelago offers a greater range of sights, sounds, customs and cultures than virtually any other country on the planet.

Indonesia’s kaleidoscopic islands run for thousands of kilometres along the equator, from the western tip of smouldering Sumatra to the eastern edge of seldom-seen Papua. Some are isolated Edens surrounded by stretches of white sand and warm translucent waters. Others are known for their spiritual secrets, be they Balinese dancers acting out stories from the Ramayana, or the quiet magnificence of Borobudur in Java, the world’s largest Buddhist monument.

Here we showcase some of our favourite destinations across this vast and varied country.



"Indonesia has something for everyone, from surfers and scuba divers to couples, families and ardent adventurers."

Indonesia, Bali

Bali - Island of the Gods

Towering volcanoes revered as domains of Hindu deities give way to forested foothills and emerald-green rice paddies as Bali spreads out towards the warm inviting waters of the Indian Ocean. The sea pushes back with powerful swells that barrel over reefs to the delight of local surfers and crash upon a host of beautiful sandy beaches.

Culturally speaking, bite-size Bali is a world apart from the rest of Indonesia. Here every doorway is marked with religious symbols, every temple is brimming with offerings of fruit and flowers, and every village observes the Hindu festivals – giving genuine meaning to Bali’s sobriquet, the Island of the Gods.

 

Pura Saraswati Temple, Ubud, Bali in Indonesia
Monkey Forest, Ubud, Bali

Ubud

"A must in Ubud is a stroll through the temple-dotted Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, so named for the 300 or so long-tailed macaques that inhabit the area."

Set among the gentle slopes that lead up towards Bali’s central mountains, Ubud is the heartland of Balinese culture. A hive of artistic activity, it offers endless rows of craft shops and workshops, excellent galleries, nightly dance shows, a central market and numerous temples and museums.

While the centre of town is a great place to base yourself, Ubud’s verdant backdrop of shelving rice paddies and towering palm trees hides a number of world-class retreats, where you can eat, pray and love to your heart’s content.

There are wonderful restaurants in all parts of town and courses in dance, music, cooking and art that let you tap into Balinese culture in all its rich forms.

Nihi Sumba, Indonesia

Sumba

Despite being only an hour’s flight from Bali, the island of Sumba is little visited by tourists and remains blissfully rooted in traditional customs. This is a place where buffalo are still traded as currency, where people worship animal spirits and joust annually on horseback – a wild and rugged place that feels like Bali might have done 100 years ago.

Surfers were the first visitors to camp out on its spectacular wild beaches, having discovered a mesmerising left-hand break that barrels onto the island’s pristine shores. Today this same stretch of beach is home to one of Indonesia’s most extraordinary eco-resorts, Nihi Sumba.

 

Borobudur, Java, Indonesia

Borobudur

Constructed in the 9th century, Borobudur in Java is the largest Buddhist structure ever built. The pyramid-shaped temple comprises nine tiers, rising to 35 metres, with four stairways leading to the top. It was conceived as a Buddhist vision of the universe, with the everyday world at the bottom and the circular top tier representing never-ending Nirvana. More than 2,700 relief panels depict ancient stories and Buddhist mantras and the higher levels are studded with 72 enormous bell-shaped stupas and more than 400 Buddha images.

Sitting among the stupas at dawn, watching the sky turn a fiery blood orange and the sun light up the surrounding hills and valleys, it’s easy to see why Borobudur has been a place of pilgrimage for over a millennium.

Sunset over Bali as seen from the Gili Islands

Indonesia Property Spotlights

1. FOUR SEASONS RESORT AT JIMBARAN BAY, BALI
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1. FOUR SEASONS RESORT AT JIMBARAN BAY - BALI

Set on a rocky peninsula just steps from a white-sand beach and with sacred Mount Agung on the horizon, the Four Seasons at Jimbaran Bay feels a world away from the busy resorts that crowd much of Bali’s south coast. Traditional bale-style villas are tucked away in the foliage and separated by weathered stone walls, ensuring total privacy. Each comes with all the luxury flourishes you’d hope for in Bali, including courtyard gardens and private plunge pools. Numerous facilities keep all ages entertained, from the infinity pool facing the bay and the exceptional spa, to the fitness centre, two tennis courts and gourmet cooking school.

Good to know

With themes that change daily and activities that range from crab hunting to coconut bowling, the kids’ club is a blessing for families. Kids can also enjoy surf lessons, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, and easy access to Waterbom Bali, Asia’s number one water park. Plus kids under five eat for free at the resort restaurants.

Capella Ubud, Bali
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2. CAPELLA UBUD - BALI

Hidden among lush rainforest beside the sacred Wos River, Bali’s first luxury tented camp transports you back to the days of the island’s early colonial settlers. Designed by celebrated architect Bill Bensley, each secluded tent comes with its own private plunge pool from which to soak up the natural surroundings. A helpful duffel bag with all your camp essentials is provided upon arrival. Four-poster beds and brass roll-top baths add a sense of timeless charm. As does the cleverly disguised mini bar, which you’ll find hidden within a vintage trunk.

Good to know

Capella’s guides offer wonderful scenic walks among Ubud’s terraced rice paddies. Alternatively, spend a morning cycling the volcanic slopes of Mount Batur before stopping for an authentic lunch in a local’s house. Or dive into Bali’s spirituality with a visit to the nearby Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, a nature reserve and Hindu temple complex.

Nihi Sumba, Indonesia
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3. NIHI SUMBA - SUMBA

Phrases like ‘best hotel in the world’ often get bandied about when discussing Nihi Sumba, and while we wouldn’t be so bold as to say that (these things are subjective after all), there’s certainly a case to be made. The resort is set on hundreds of acres of waterfront real estate, between a glorious private beach and a truly untamed jungle. Take your pick from a range of light and airy villas of varying sizes – all elegantly rustic with sweeping views. Activities include horseback tours, mountain biking and yoga classes, but the emphasis here remains the ocean, with fishing, diving and paddle boarding all on offer, as well as surfing the famous breaks that put Sumba on the map in the first place.

Good to know

If we had to pick a highlight here, the Spa Safari might be it. The day begins with a beautifully scenic hike past rolling hills and rice fields to the NihiOka Spa, followed by a private breakfast overlooking the ocean. You’re then shown to your cliffside spa room to succumb to your selected treatments, which range from massages and body wraps to organic facials. The pace of the day is up to you, but we recommend allowing time for a dip in the ocean or gorgeous infinity pool.

Amanjiwo, Java, Indonesia
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4. AMANJIWO - JAVA

Not only do the suites at Amanjiwo look out over a wooded valley towards the ancient Buddhist temple of Borobudur, but as a guest here you get unparalleled access to the monument itself. Only Amanjiwo guests can access the site at dawn and watch the sun’s first rays light up the volcanoes that circle the structure. Then as the day warms up and the crowds arrive, you can sidle smugly out and return to Amanjiwo, whose design carefully echoes that of Borobudur itself. Suites are joined by stone walkways and laid out in a crescent. All have four-poster beds, traditional rattan furniture, outdoor soaking tubs and day beds installed in a thatch-roof pavilion. It’s all you would hope for from an Aman resort and more.

Good to know

Although it’s tempting just to lie by the 40m pool and gaze at the rice paddies, there’s a raft of activities to keep you busy at Amanjiwo, including cycle and hiking tours, horse riding, visits to local monasteries and traditional Javanese spa treatments.

Have questions? Our knowledgeable team of experts are on-hand to take your call or if you prefer by Zoom. Talk to us about your holiday dreams or challenge us with your travel conundrums.

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