For anyone planning to cruise Indonesia, there are few considerations that are well worth knowing in advance. Here we cover the most important points you’ll want to be aware of to make the most of your cruise experience.
Indonesia’s Geography and Regions
Indonesia is an archipelago nation, made up of over 17,500 islands – it’s huge. While people may talk about planning to ‘cruise Indonesia’, they are referring to taking a cruise in a region of Indonesia, such as a Bali cruise, or other regions such as Raja Ampat, Komodo or the Banda Sea, for example. Each of the regions offer different highlights, different experiences, and generally require different durations aboard. It’s important to know the regions and which one suits your interests best. Here is a general guide to some of the most renowned areas.
Taking a Bali cruise is ideal for those who want to cruise Indonesia without going completely off the grid and while having options to frequently venture ashore and enjoy all that Bali has to offer, including fine dining restaurants, nightlife, spirituality and lush nature. A Bali cruise is also perfect for those planning a shorter itinerary and for those with families and young children.
For those who want to cruise Indonesia and explore some of it’s more rugged and wild side, Komodo is the perfect option. Komodo also offers exceptional snorkeling and scuba diving – particularly for more experienced divers due to the currents and drift dives that are on offer here.
The Banda Sea
The Banda Sea is an ideal destination for those who want to go off the grid and get away from the crowds. Highlights here include phenomenal dolphin and whale watching opportunities and the chance to scuba dive with schooling hammerheads.
For anyone with a love of nature, Raja Ampat must be included when planning to cruise through Indonesia. Raja Ampat is at the heart of global biodiversity both on land and underwater. It’s off the grid and it shows!
The People of Indonesia
It’s not just the regions of Indonesia that differ, the people, their customs, traditions, and religion does too as you traverse the archipelago. Starting from the west with a Bali cruise, the Balinese people are mainly Hindu and, due to mass tourism in some areas, are well adjusted to modern day living. However as you travel further east through the country to more remote parts of Indonesia, many of the village communities are living as they have done for centuries, and in regions such as Alor, you’ll find that tribal living is still in existence today.
No matter which region you decide on though, one thing is consistent, and that’s the beautiful broad smiles that will greet you – when you cruise Indonesia, you’ll meet people who have very few material possessions but are among the happiest and most content on the planet!
Available Activities when you Cruise Indonesia
The opportunities are almost endless but they do vary from region to region. Here are some of the activities that are available in all areas:
Indonesia is one of the world’s top scuba diving destinations, and wherever you decide to cruise, you’ll find phenomenal diving and an impressive array of marine life. If you are planning to cruise Indonesia with a view to scuba diving, let your cruise operator know your experience level so the diving conditions are matched with your abilities.
Indonesia’s colourful coral reefs are truly world class and in all regions it’s possible to find shallow coral reefs that offer a kaleidoscope of colours and are suitable for all levels.
For those either wanting to simply stretch their legs or for those who want to go for a more challenging hike, there are no shortage of options in most areas. Some of the most breathtaking views are to be had from the top of Indonesia’s peaks – making the effort more than well worth it.
Village Visits to Meet the Locals
This is an absolute must for anyone wanting to cruise Indonesia! The people are incredibly hospitable and it’s intriguing to observe daily life on the islands – no matter which region you are visiting.
When to Cruise Indonesia
It’s possible to cruise Indonesia at any time of the year, however, different regions have different ‘open’ or ‘high’ seasons, while others are subject to seasonal weather and sea conditions. If you want to travel at a specific time of year, you may need to sacrifice on your destination choice, likewise, if your priority is to visit a certain destination, you may need to be more flexible with your travel dates.
Generally speaking, most vessels tend to be in the Bali and Komodo region (west Indonesia) from April through to late September. From October through to late March they will be based further east around Raja Ampat.
If you take these factors into account while planning to cruise Indonesia you are more likely to have a phenomenal cruising experience as you explore this incredible country – which will most likely leave you wanting to come back time and time again!