Indonesia’s Wild East Off The Beaten Track
This must be every adventurous traveller’s dream itinerary. Take the chance to get to the heart of Indonesia’s “wild east” and explore the more remote parts of the archipelago, veering well off the beaten track. This specially designed, 17-day itinerary aims to cast its net wide, providing a true insight into diverse local cultures and fabulous wildlife wonders such as komodo dragons, crested macaques, tarsiers and pristine coral reefs, with time also to relax at the beach. But it’s no ordinary seaside location: you will be in West Papua, Indonesia’s half of New Guinea island, where the coral reefs and marine ecosystems are among the world’s most diverse and healthy, and where birds of paradise might be spied.
This itinerary is an excellent option throughout the year, including the rainy season months (October to April). Rainfall is generally lower in the east and the difference between the seasons is less marked. These are also the best months for visiting Raja Ampat.
Arrive Denpasar (Bali). Met on arrival and transfer to lodge. Rest of the day at leisure.
Staying at Kingfisher Udayana Ecolodge. Includes Dinner.
Transfer to the airport and fly to Labuan Bajo. Located on the island of Flores, Labuan Bajo is the main departure point for visiting the islands of Komodo and Rinca, home to the infamous Komodo dragon, the main draw of the islands. There are also excellent opportunities for snorkelling and diving off the islands. Later transfer to the harbour and board your private boat with naturalist guide and full crew to sail to Rinca Island. Enjoy a guided trek with your guide and local ranger on Rinca Island to see Komodo dragons and other wildlife. Perhaps enjoy some snorkelling in the afternoon before sailing to Komodo Island. Drop anchor and watch the sun set over the forest. Spend the night on board the boat (there are mattresses, mosquito nets, flushing toilet and a cold shower).
Staying at Local Boat. Includes All Meals.
After breakfast, land on Komodo and take a walk on the island with your guide and a local ranger to see more Komodo dragons and other wildlife. Komodo is more heavily forested than Rinca and has more wildlife to see: expect Timor deer and wild boar, plus a wide range of bird species including yellow-crested cockatoo and white-bellied sea eagle. In the afternoon, visit the Pink Beach for some wonderful snorkelling, then return to Labuan Bajo.
Staying at Bajo Komodo Ecolodge. Includes Breakfast.
Start the day early, with a transfer after breakfast to Ruteng, an interesting hill town located at 1,200 ft above sea level. There will be stops at local villages and viewpoints to observe the spectacular scenery (including volcanoes, valleys and the sea) and you will arrive at Ruteng in time for lunch. In the afternoon continue to Ranamese Lake, surrounded by rainforest and then to Aimere, to visit a local palm wine business, perhaps to sample some.
Staying at Edelweiss Hotel. Includes Breakfast.
Another early start today to transfer to Ende, with various stops along the way including Bajawa and Wogo, to see a traditional Ngada village with its rich megalith culture. After lunch at a simple warung (small roadside restaurant), continue towards Ende passing the beautiful Ende Bay to learn about the blue stone exported from here. Finish the journey at the Kelimutu Crater Lakes.
Staying at Kelimutu Ecolodge. Includes Breakfast and Dinner.
Wake very early to visit the Kelimutu Crater Lakes at dawn. This begins with a walk through the local forest listening out for the distinctive songs of the bare-throated whistler. Eventually you reach the crater rim in time to see the sun rise: a magical moment. Visit all three lakes before returning to the lodge for a late pancake breakfast. Later in the morning, visit the local village of Moni to see the market and learn about the local agriculture. After lunch and a short siesta, visit another local village supported by the lodge for an insight into local daily life. Return to the lodge for dinner.
Staying at Kelimutu Ecolodge. Includes All Meals.
Today explore Moni and its surrounds. The whole area is fascinating and the ikat weaving is renowned. In the late morning, visit other villages where such weaving occurs. After lunch back at the Lodge, you are free to relax in the lodge grounds or go out on walks with your guide.
Staying at Kelimutu Ecolodge. Includes All Meals.
This morning transfer back to Ende for flight to Denpasar via Labuan Bajo. Met on arrival and transfer to Uluwatu, one of the six main Hindu temples in Bali, built around the 8th century. According to the Balinese cosmology, Uluwatu’s entrance gate is facing in the direction of Besakih temple’s gate. Walk up the cliff with stunning views to the temple where many long-tailed macaques can often be found. At 18.00 the Balinese Kecak dance from the Ramayana epic is held. This dance tells an eternal love tale between Rama and Shinta and often has a beautiful sunset backdrop, an unforgettable experience. Transfer back to your hotel for dinner.
Staying at Kingfisher Udayana Ecolodge. Includes Breakfast.
Transfer to the airport and take flight to Manado. On arrival transfer by road followed by a 20 minute walk to the lodge. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.
Staying at Pulisan Jungle Beach Resort. Includes Breakfast and Dinner.
Morning boat trip to Bangka and Gangga islands for snorkelling and island exploration. In the afternoon explore Tangkoko National Park in search of its special wildlife including the endemic Sulawesi crested macaque, spectral tarsier, bear cuscus and red-knobbed hornbill. Return to the lodge for dinner.
Staying at Pulisan Jungle Beach. Includes All Meals.
Morning to explore Tangkoko National Park in search of more wildlife, perhaps following a troop of convivial Sulawesi macaques on part of their the daily routine. In the afternoon transfer to Manado and to the hotel.
Staying at Novotel. Includes Breakfast.
Transfer to Manado airport and take flight to Sorong, West Papua. Met on arrival and transfer to a jetty for a boat transfer (1.5 hours) to your resort on the unspoilt and unpopulated Birie Island, close to larger Bantanta Island in the south of the Raja Ampat Islands. The rest of the day is at leisure to enjoy the peaceful island.
Staying at Papua Paradise Resort. Includes Breakfast and Dinner.
Full day at leisure to snorkel or arrange scuba diving at the local coral reef or sites nearby. The coral reef ecosystem in Raja Ampat is now regarded as the most biodiverse in the world and local specialities include the wobbegong shark, walking shark and pygmy seahorse. Manta rays and whale sharks can also be seen in the area. Another option is a boat trip to a small island to watch Blythe’s hornbills come to roost, and behind the resort is a swamp inhabited by parrots, hornbills and palm cockatoos.
Staying at Papua Paradise Resort. Includes All Meals.
This morning make an early start to visit Bantanta Island to see the exquisite Wilson’s bird of paradise at a favoured lek site. It is a short but steep trail to a hide where the birds can usually be seen. Rest of the day at leisure to snorkel, relax or explore the island.
Staying at Papua Paradise Resort. Includes All Meals.
Transfer back to Sorong by boat, and take flight back to Manado. Board flight home.
Includes In-flight Meals.
Novotel Manado Golf Resort
The four-star Novotel hotel is just 15 minutes’ drive from Manado International Airport and sits on the edge of a large golf course with views towards the nearby mountains.
The 199 air-conditioned rooms and suites are smart and spacious and are all equipped with a flat-screen TV, minibar safety deposit box and attached modern private bathroom. Facilities include an outdoor swimming pool, gym, sauna and hot tub and free Wi-Fi can be found in the public areas. The attractive restaurant offers a range of local Indonesian cuisine with plenty of western and French influenced choices also available.
Restaurant, outdoor swimming pool, sauna, gym, golf course, Wi-Fi in public areas, TV, minibar, safety deposit box and room and laundry services.
Papua Paradise Eco Resort
Papua Paradise Eco Resort is the only hotel on small, unspoiled Birie Island, close to Batanta in the southern Raja Ampat Islands of West Papua province on the vast island of New Guinea. The island is surrounded by world class diving sites with excellent coral and abundant marine life, but is also a great place to relax with a book, enjoy serene ocean views from your hammock and explore trails through the forest.
This is a remarkably quiet and unspoilt area with no habitation and virtually no passing boats. The resort itself is very quiet and peaceful and all one can hear is fish splashing and the occasional bird. In front of the resort is a healthy reef where juvenile black tips patrol and trevally jacks hunt.
Venturing out from the hotel’s full PADI operation, divers will discover healthy coral and no other dive boats on the nearby reefs, and other varied, exciting dive sites are only 45mins to an hour away (although there is an charge extra to reach these). Local highlights include the wobbegong shark, walking shark and pigmy seahorse.
Overwater wooden bungalows on stilts have verandahs with ocean views and mosquito nets, fan, safety deposit box and tea/coffee making facilities. Seaview Restaurant uses local produce to serve Indonesian and European food
540 coral species and 1300 species of fish including manta rays, pipefish, pygmy seahorses, eels, cuttlefish, sharks (including wobbegongs) and various turtles too. Forest birds including Blythe’s hornbills, palm cockatoo, sulphur-crested cockatoo, imperial pied fruit pigeon, and several endemic birds of paradise can be seen nearby.
Aside from local diving, you can visit fabulous dive sites such as Passage and Fam; snorkelling; guided birdwatching; jungle treks.
Kelimutu Crater Lakes Ecolodge
Solar powered and set by a river in a cool upland valley near the village of Moni in eastern Flores, Kelimutu Crater Lakes Ecolodge was only completed in 2010 and built using the latest sustainability technology and design. The hotel is now the perfect base from which to visit the famous volcanic lakes. Its five villas and five rooms (above the restaurant) have en suite bathrooms and are bright, modern and airy, many with views from the balconies. The restaurant serves local and western dishes washed down by beer or wine available at the bar.
Rooms include mosquito nets, western bathrooms with hot water, safety deposit box. There is also a traditional restaurant, a small shop and laundry service available.
Many species of higher altitude birds.
Visiting the Kelimutu crater lakes, which lie at 1400m absl and can mysteriously change colour suddenly, one year perhaps being white, then changing to turquoise, black, green, and even red.
A small simple guesthouse, the Edelweiss Hotel is nevertheless the best place to stay in Bajawa, and handy for breaking a journey through Flores. The hotel is basic but fine for an overnight stop, the rooms being clean and comfortable, some having great views towards the volcanoes. Edelweiss Hotel is centrally located in the town of Bajawa with good restaurants, markets and ATMs within easy walking distance. Only breakfast is available at the hotel but other meals can be taken at nearby restaurants. Wifi is available.
Breakfast room, WiFi, TV, hot water showers, two good restaurants opposite the hotel.
Independent wandering in the refreshingly cool town.
Pulisan Jungle Beach Resort
Set near cliffs by a white sand beach in northern Sulawesi, Pulisan Jungle Beach Resort is a great, laid-back place in which to relax and get away from it all. There is great snorkelling and diving, a long beach and a forested hinterland, home of many macaques and birds. The nearest road is 15 minutes away.
The simple accommodation is in clean and comfortable wooden cottages that face the sea. There are two deluxe beachfront bungalows that have a western-style shower (with lukewarm water) and a large veranda. Four of the bungalows feature mandi (traditional basin filled with water to be used for showering) instead of a western shower but all feature a western-style lavatory. There are two other smaller bungalows with Indonesian squat loos.
The resort is run by staff from the local village and the restaurants serves delicious meals, often featuring fresh seafood and locally grown vegetables, and can cater well for vegetarians.
Traditional wooden bungalows with western toilets and Indonesian décor. The restaurant serves traditional Indonesian cuisine with plenty of fresh seafood.
Turtles hatching on the beach, Sulawesi black (or crested) macaques (found at Tangkoko), spectral tarsiers, red-knobbed hornbills, bear cuscus, squirrels and marine life.
Explore Tangkoko National Park; snorkelling and diving on the nearby reef and at Bangka Island Marine Park; trek to volcanoes; hire bicycles or kayaks to explore independently.
Kingfisher Udayana Ecolodge
Set amongst quiet gardens in the grounds of a university only 15 minutes from Bali airport and the busier areas of Kuta and Jimbaran Bay, Kingfisher Udayana Ecolodge is a great base from which to explore the rest of Bali.
The hotel has 10 rooms all equipped with air-conditioning and hot water bathrooms.
The lodge is well positioned for exploring the local area and one can visit the nearby settling ponds which are great for birding, explore local Hindu temples and cultural sites and enjoy the many beaches. The lodge is also convenient for short stopovers on the way to other areas of Indonesia.
The comfortable rooms feature air-conditioning, fan, safety deposit box, free Wi-Fi, western toilet and Balinese garden shower, plus seating area overlooking the gardens.
A variety of birds can be seen at the nearby Nusa Dua Settling Ponds and long-tailed macaques are often found at nearby temples.
Visits to local cultural sites, beaches and birdwatching at the Nusa Dua Settling Ponds.
Bajo Komodo Ecolodge
The colonial-style Bajo Komodo Ecolodge was one of the first in Labuan Bajo on Flores Island. The lodge is located by a beach (not suitable for swimming) and has a small pool. There are 16 bright and spacious rooms within the main building, each equipped with air-conditioning and private hot water bathrooms.
The restaurant serves good a la carte meals, mostly a mix of western and traditional Indonesian. Bajo Komodo Ecolodge is the best access point for boat trips to Komodo National Park to see the impressive Komodo dragons. Scuba diving and snorkelling can also be arranged from the lodge.
Comfortable and spacious rooms with mosquito nets, air-conditioning, free Wi-Fi, fan, hot water and western style shower and toilets. The restaurant has great sea views looking out over Komodo island.
The highlight is of course the Komodo dragons, but there are also introduced Timor deer, wild boar and water buffalo. The birdlife is also of great interest with the critically endangered yellow-crested cockatoo and orange-footed scrubfowl two of the highlights. There are also wonderfully diverse coral reefs.
Diving and snorkelling nearby.
Are International Flights Included?
No. Please contact us for a quote if required.
Domestic flights within Indonesia are included.
January to December
Are you ATOL Registered?
Yes. This means we are legally able to book your international flights in conjunction with your ground arrangements so you can book with us with complete confidence. Read more about our ATOL license here.
For keen scuba divers and snorkelers, extend your time at Papua Paradise Resort to make the most of this marine wildlife hotspot.
If you have any questions regarding this Tour, please feel free to contact me on +44 (0)1803 866965
We are back and all I can say is what a fantastic tour! Thank you so much for organising, we have both fallen in love with Indonesia and cannot wait to go back to see other things. Sulawesi was fabulous –the diving was so good it was like being in an aquarium. The tarsiers were all that I expected but the black macaques were so much more!
The first evening walk to see the Tarsiers, on the way we saw two Cuscus hanging about in the trees. We saw a couple of Macaques but the main event was the Tarsiers. We saw six in one tree and they are more cute/ugly as their photos. I could have stayed there all night watching them.
The next day we travelled back to see the Macaques, we were a little late and thought we had missed them as a we got to a group of people who had been watching them the macaques turned away into the bush. We carried on walking to look for kingfishers when we found ourselves in the middle of a monkey gang fight. Rambo 1 and Rambo 2 troops had travelled onto each other’s territory and all hell broke loose! They didn’t care that we were there they just rushed back and forth hollering at each other, it was so exciting watching it.
Once all the testosterone subsided Rambo 2 relaxed and groomed each other we just stood in the middle of them watching them for ages. One climbed a tree to communicate with me by sticking his tongue out and showing me some very strange facial expressions – Stewart thought he was asking me to be his 3rd wife! As we stood watching them relaxing, one came to play with my shoelaces and then another liked my trousers, then a brave one climb up me and started grooming my hair! He didn’t give up easily, sticking his fingers in my eyes and kept looking at me seeing how I was reacting– it was a fantastic experience all round.
All that is left to say is thank you again for giving us the wide variety of what we can see in Indonesia, it has whetted our appetite to see more! Now to plan for next year –we will be in touch soon!