Following in the footsteps of explorers past, this is a comprehensive appreciation of Indonesia’s treasures both natural and cultural, taking in the best of Java, Borneo and Bali. You’ll snorkel off uninhabited islands, hike to bright-blue lakes hidden among jagged peaks and witness the sunrise over active volcanoes and jungle-cloaked temples. But, you’ll travel in style, with private touring and transfers included throughout, from flight hops and ferry rides to 4WD excursions and open-jeep island tours. Along the way, you’ll stay in the best-located accommodation, including oceanfront pool villas and a traditional houseboat, meandering deep into Borneo’s orangutan-dotted depths.
Begin your trip in the utmost comfort with a private chauffeur transfer to the airport where you’ll be treated to exclusive, airport lounge access.
On touching down, a private transfer through mountains and hills will see you to your exclusive villa. Here, your private pool and fine-dining restaurant look up to Borobudur – the world’s largest Buddhist temple. For a closer look, a private guided tour will start with sunrise over this UNESCO-listed treasure. Watch as its great jungle frame, 500 Buddha statues and 2,500 relief panels come to life in the early-morning glow. You’ll then uncover the region’s human side with a horse-drawn cart tour of a rural village and a lesson in Indonesian gamelan music before you end at a traditional kris maker to learn of the dagger’s ritualistic role in Indonesian culture.
Still headed by its sultanate, Yogyakarta is a city of imperial prowess. And, what better place to start your private tour than the 18th-century palace where the sultan himself still resides among great dragons, ornate reception halls and open-air pavilions. It’s also host to Taman Sari; better known by its old Dutch name, ‘The Water Castle’, this 250-year-old fortification is built around a giant concubine’s bathing area. It’s then on to Kota Gede to watch the local silver craftsmen practise their ancient art before you end with a visit to UNESCO-listed Prambanan. A 9th-century temple complex, its intricately carved spires pierce big blue skies.
A flight hop over to Borneo, bookended by private transfers, will see you to your simple yet comfortable timber houseboat, complete with observation deck, air-conditioned cabin and a private chef, who’ll freshly prepare each of your meals. Then, over three memorable days, your expert guide will lead you through the twisting waterways, mangroves and dense rainforest of Tanjung Puting National Park where jungle walks and river safaris alike see you search for everything from leopards and lizards to crocodiles, monkeys and over 600 species of bird. You’ll also stop for a ranger-led jungle trek at the world-renowned Camp Leakey, an orangutan research and rehabilitation centre, before continuing to orangutan feeding stations and learning about the park’s conservation efforts at the Pesalat Reforestation Camp.
Stay: Klotok Houseboat
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner included
Private transfers will once again bookend your flight, this time back to Java and one of Indonesia’s natural treasures – Mt. Bromo. And, your accommodation – the region’s finest – is set right at its feet, with 2,000-metre-high views over the surrounding volcanoes and dense forests. It’s scenery showcased in the hotel’s very own art gallery.
Departing at 3 AM, a private jeep ride followed by a guided trek will see you to the rim of Mt. Penanjakan. Here, you’ll be treated to a spectacular sunrise over Mt. Bromo and its accompanying peaks, watching as their mists swirl in in the dawn light. Then, retracing your steps down to the sandy bluffs, a pony ride will bring you to a 250-step climb up Mt. Bromo itself. If you’re lucky, you’ll be rewarded with a smoke display before your descent. A private transfer will then bring you through jungle-clad countryside to the rural village of Ijen for your stay in its finest accommodation.
Breakfast & Lunch included
Tucked away among the Ijen Plateau’s volcanic peaks, there’s a bright-blue caldera lake known as the Ijen Crater. Proceeding through plantations, rustic villages and tropical rainforests, your private 4WD vehicle will see you to a 90-minute hike that brings you right up to its rim. Along the way, steaming fumaroles and local miners evidence the region’s sulphuric activity before you’re presented with a magnificent vista of the lake itself – perfectly aqua blue yet ringed by savage, volcanic scenery.
Leaving Java, a ferry hop – as always sandwiched by private transfers – will see you to your plunge-pool villa on the shores of the West Bali National Park. It’s an unspoilt slice of coral reefs and mangrove forests, far away from the crowds. And, you’ll uncover its underwater realm with an included snorkelling trip out to Menjangan – an uninhabited island where seahorses and tropical fish play among the coral. It’s the idyllic setting for an included picnic lunch. You’ll then enjoy a day at leisure, perhaps heading out on jungle treks and sunset cruises or relaxing at the resort’s infinity-pool bar, keeping an eye out for wandering deer.
Heading south to Bali’s jungle-fringed heart, Ubud, your private driver will make stops at local markets, shimmering highland lakes, floating temples and Brahmavihara Arama – the island’s largest Buddhist monastery. You’ll then arrive at the Como Uma Ubud, enjoying four-poster bed comforts and private-terrace views of the forest. Ubud is also a perfect launchpad for your private tour of central Bali. You’ll be driven, in a classic VW 181 convertible, between the likes of volcanic peaks, beautifully terraced rice fields, traditional arts villages made from bamboo and dragon-guarded temple complexes that date to the 11th century. Then, end with a day at leisure, perhaps relaxing with a cooking class, Ubud’s bohemian ambience or your hotel’s complimentary yoga sessions.
Your penultimate private transfer will see you to the airport for your flight back to the UK. On arrival, you’ll be met by your chauffeur for the onward journey home.
"Monkeys often get mixed reviews, known for stealing food and being generally quite cheeky they often end up being the bane of any tourist’s trip, but not orangutans. No, the orangutan is a firm-favourite and always will be. Sadly, as an endangered species, it is very difficult to see them in the wild hence why I have put together an itinerary that takes in their natural dwelling, the rainforests of Borneo. A trip of any wild-life lovers dreams, this is certainly once-in-a-lifetime material. "