Here’s a fun fact about Indonesia – it’s home to over 18,000 islands, over half of which are populated. And that’s not just a fun fact, that’s one of the reasons why organizing a cruise where you visit everything that’s worth visiting is actually more difficult than you’d think.
But fret not, because we’ve got things sorted out for you. We’ll guide you through a two-week cruise that shows you what Indonesia is all about, and you’ll leave knowing that you’ve experienced Indonesia like it’s meant to be experienced.
The Spice Islands
Even though a bit further away than the other islands worth visiting, it’s best if you start off with a Spice Islands cruise. The Spice Islands, also known as the Maluku Islands nowadays, aren’t just a stunning place to explore, they’re also historically rather significant. At one point, these islands were the world’s only source of nutmeg, leading to a war in which the Dutch would emerge victors, and get control of the nutmeg trade.
And while the Dutch had control, they had established themselves on the islands and they built quite the architecture. What’s even better is that most of that architecture is still preserved to this day in an immaculate shape. And you can experience it in its entirety.
From the Spice Islands, you’ll want to head up north, and towards Raja Ampat.
The name means “the Four Kings”, and Raja Ampat is an entire archipelago of islands, over 600 of them, to be exact. The archipelago straddles the Equator and is part of the Coral Triangle, a place with the richest biodiversity on earth. The name refers to the four islands of Misool, Batanta, Salawati and Waigeo, which are the four main islands you’ll want to visit. It’s easy to get to them if you’re cruising.
The archipelago has some stunning coral life, and is an absolute paradise for people looking to dive, snorkel, and enjoy beaches in any shape or form. You’ve got fine white sand on the beaches and stunning blue waters that just look beautiful. Cocktails, anyone?
Once you’re done exploring the Spice Islands, it’s time to head back south and towards the Lesser Sunda Islands, and head to Komodo Island.
This island is famous for being the home to the Komodo National Park. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it’s home to a massive population of Komodo dragons, the world’s largest reptiles. But, there’s more to the island than just Komodo dragons.
The landscapes are nothing short of phenomenal. Ancient volcanic activity has resulted in some rather spectacular coastal terrain, unlike anything you’ve seen before. If you prefer water to land, you’ll be able to enjoy some incredible diving and snorkeling spots on Komodo.
Now, if you have a bit of time, you can also visit the neighboring islands of Padar and Rinca, both part of the national park. But if not, let’s head to Moyo Island.
Right off the north coast of Sumbawa Island, Moyo is an island that’s mostly uninhibited, and as such, not really popular in terms of tourists. The total population is about 1,000, and people are spread out in six villages located on the islands. They depend on fishing and farming to survive, and they’ve been enjoying this lifestyle for ages.
But if you aren’t about that life, you’ll be able to tour the Moyo Island Hunting Park, which covers a large part of the island and lets you see things like long-tail macaques and barking deer. Oh, and there are also two endangered bird species – the yellow-headed parrot, and the Tanimbar Megapode, which is also endemic to Indonesia.
Moving on, it’s time to visit the paradise that is Lombok.
Known as a calmer, less touristy alternative to Bali, Lombok is an island that’s just as beautiful as Bali but oriented towards beach sports and adventures. You won’t find a lot of people there, nor will you find anything as remotely as developed as Bali, but that’s the beauty of it – you can surf, dive or snorkel in peace, and sip a cocktail once you’re done without any noise or disturbance. And then you can head to Bali.
We’ve saved the best for last, but you can end your trip in Bali, Indonesia’s most popular tourist destination. Bali is known to get you everything Indonesia has to offer, in one place. You’ll get plenty of beaches to enjoy, but you can also head to some of the craziest parties in the world – your choice.
There’s no denying that some people don’t really love the chaos that is Bali at its peak. But if you want to experience Indonesia to its fullest, you can’t miss out, and it’s the best place to end your two-week cruise.