Bali, the heart of Indonesia, continues to attract tourists and both sail and motor yachts from all over the world due to its rather eclectic mix of beautiful beaches, stunning forests, many picture-perfect islands, volcanoes, Komodo Dragons and mystical aura.
Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world, consisting of five major islands and about 30 smaller groups with a total of 17,508 islands, of which about 6000 are inhabited. The heart of Indonesia is Bali, also known as “Island of the Gods “.
Bali is a culture characterized by a deep spirituality. Each home is adorned with small temples and usually, a large temple within the property that’s used daily. The omnipresence of Balinese Hinduism in everyday life and in Balinese architecture is why the island earned the nickname of ‘Island of the Gods’. All this exists alongside the vibrant traditional culture, charming hospitality and delicious cuisine for which the island is famous.
“Every type of adventure activity, cultural experience and natural beauty cruising destination is available here. One can dive with whale sharks or mantas, visit and view the amazing Komodo Dragons, trek in the rain forest looking for Bird of Paradise, snorkel in areas where the rain forest meets the pristine coral reefs and visit authentic villages”, enthuses Captain Jimmy Blee, founder of Asia Pacific Superyachts (APS) Indonesia, adding: “Here you can see the rich history of the Banda group where the Dutch and English fought bitterly for these tiny islands over spices.
Indonesia is now open and welcoming yachts and visas open to all nationalities, as long as they fit some of the requirements. The visas are mainly for business travel but they are also open for yachts and their crew.
“Yachts and their crew can enter with these visas and crew can also fly in. Now there is a 5 night Quarantine to be done at a hotel on arrival if flying in or 5 nights on board the yacht if sailing in. Port Quarantine restrictions widely vary from port to port and are still in flux”, reports Captain Thomas Taatjes, APS Indonesia GM. We are standing by ready to share information and quality service to yachts interested in visiting this amazing country. We’ve also been successful in making special arrangements for a speedy entry for our clients once a yacht has made the determination to visit Indonesia.”
An exceedingly attractive Asia Pacific cruising destination, Indonesia is a great destination to plan for as the world moves toward the backend of the pandemic. Those with a penchant for exploring and adventure will find nothing short of a cruising paradise and a rare opportunity in finding a highly favored cruising destination reopening.
Benoi Bali Marina
Benoa Harbour is the main port for Denpasar, the capital of Bali and centrally located just north of Nusa Dua in the teardrop on the southeast side of Bali, close to the airport and to Kuta, Legian and Sanur.
The other anchorage option, especially for cruising yachts spending longer periods enjoying Bali, is north in the protection behind Serangan (Turtle) Island. The entrance through the reef is two miles northeast of the Benoa entrance and the yacht masts behind the reclaimed island can be seen from afar.
After arrival and with all paperwork and needs completed with the agency, exploration can begin. A great start is watching or riding the Balinese waves on a surfing excursion in Seminyak.
Boasting some of the most glorious beaches in Bali, be sure to catch the legendary sunsets and enjoy the tranquil beauty while marveling at Balinese ceremonies on the beach, complete with gamelan players and offerings to the gods. Along with cultural experiences, sophisticated spas and high-end boutiques might entice you away from the waterfront.
Continue your explorations to the World Heritage Site of Jatiluwih, where you can view the Jatiluwih rice terraces in the namesake upland village in West Bali, most famous for their dramatic and exotic landscapes. The cool highlands and the breathtaking scenery of this village at the foot of Mount Batukaru serves as a soothing retreat away from the island’s crowded south.
The list of adventures and activities in Indonesia is literally endless and yachts are treated to a magnificent sight when rounding the north eastern tip of Bali, the classic volcano cone-shaped Mt. Agung – every sailor’s welcome to the Island of the Gods.”
APS forms a close-knit relationship with vessels as they traverse the complexities of staying and cruising in Indonesian waters, perhaps starting with a pleasant week journey running down the coasts of Sumatra, Java, Madura, and finally, Bali.
Snorkel pristine waters while you spend a few days in Lombok, an island that is less known but steeped in beauty, charm, and tradition. It makes a fantastic addition that rounds out an experience in Bali.
The island of Lombok lies a few hours sailing east of Bali, and offers a veritable array of amazing watersports – sailing swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving, surfing and fishing in some of the most biodiverse waters anywhere in the world. The 26 Gili Islands of northwest and southwest Lombok, many of them uninhabited, offer white sandy beaches, idyllic bays and anchorages all year-round.
Either enjoy or consider taking a traditional Lombok cooking class in Waroeng Tugu, where dining recreates the romantic casual atmosphere of the Javanese and Balinese meals in the villages or in the comfort of their traditional homes. “Waroeng” is the word for a traditional open-aired hut where one enjoys their lunch and dinner with a menu of simple but truly delicious comforting home dishes of the local villagers, usually made of harvests from their own fields or catches of the day prepared in a traditional kitchen using terracotta, charcoal and wood-fire stoves and served on banana leaves and handmade earthwares without cutlery. It’s a unique experience that showcases hundreds of years of traditions where you can experience the humble beauty as well as the exotic richness of Indonesian dining and cooking.
Mountain ridges on the Lombok mainland provide stunning scenery, including the tallest volcano in Indonesia, the 4000 metre Mount Rinjani on the northern Lombok coast. Pristine white sand beaches, traditional culture and a majestic jungle clad volcano tower over this untouched landscape. You will find world-class surf breaks, jungle treks and buzzy cafes in Kuta Lombok. Senggigi is a hotspot for families, with resorts and villas located amongst lush landscapes of coconut trees and hidden coves.
“There’s a beautiful sail across to the little anchorage bay of Nusa Lembongan, the closest island destination to Bali”, notes Capt. Jimmy. Two tropical islands with pristine white-sand beaches just off the Bali coast, Nusa Lembongan and Ceningan, are relatively quiet islands with a yellow bridge connecting the islands. Impressive coastal cliffs sides, great beaches and beach clubs, and snorkeling with Manta Rays are among the many things to do in Nusa Lembongan & Ceningan.
After an idyllic anchorage on Lombok Island for the first of the land excursions of a scenic tropical island, the next stop suggested after a 100 NM cruise is the Island of Moyo just east of Bali. The nature reserve of Moyo Island is 15 kilometers off the coast of Sumbawa, at the western end of the Nusa Tenggara islands, a grouping that begins with Lombok and stretches some 1,300 km east to Timor.
In the untamed wilderness of West Nusa Tenggara, Moyo is a rustic jewel of unspoiled nature and seas alive with plentiful marine life. Most of the island is a nature reserve and remains virtually untouched by outside influences. Though Moyo has its green bursts of jungle, much of the island is arid savannah; home to multifarious flora and fauna. Macaques, monkeys, wild pigs, deer, and many colorful birds and butterflies remain thriving and undisturbed in some of the most verdant and fertile land in Indonesia.
Captain Jimmy says, “Moyo Island was formerly home to the famous Amanwana Resort and still a perfect place for a late afternoon anchorage. This bay is a natural paradise, a veritable Eden in the Flores Sea. Overlooking the turquoise waters of Amanwana Bay – a protected national marine park – a visiting boat is awarded access to some of the best scuba diving and snorkeling in Indonesia.
Komodo National Park
Next Captains Jimmy and Thomas suggest an amazing trip in the Komodo National Park to marvel at the renowned Komodo Dragons, Manta Rays and a whole plethora of fish and marine life. Home to a population of about 5,700 giant lizards, the Komodo National Park conservation is overseen by the Environment and Forestry Ministry and the national park is the only place in the world where people can see the endangered Komodo Dragons in their natural habitat.
According to UNESCO Komodo National Marine Park encompasses a cluster of islands in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) comprised of the main islands of Padar Island, Rica Island and Komodo Island, as well as 26 smaller ones that overall span 219,322 hectares.
Komodo and Rinca islands both have the Komodo Dragons, with Rinca boasting of a higher population density as the island is smaller. ”A trek can be arranged well in advance with the rangers at either Komodo or Rinca Island to view the Dragons”, notes Captain Thomas.
Return to Bali
Returning yachts are awarded a spectacular downwind sail back to Bali as they take in the towering peaks of Tambora, Rinjani and finally, a viewing of Mt. Agung over Bali”, adds Captain Thomas. Mount Agung (Gunung Agung) is an active volcano and also the highest point of Bali island. It is situated in Karangasem, East Bali at an elevation of 9944 feet (3031 metres) above sea level. Balinese people believe that Mt. Agung is the most sacred place on the island, the oldest and mother temple Besakih is also built on the slope of this volcano. Due to the volcanic activities Mt. Agung trek has been closed since 2017.
Given its geographical size Indonesia has a 12 month cruising season, notes Capt. Jimmy, adding: “April to October is best for what we term 8th parallel cruising; transition cruising typically known as the Inter Monsoon is March / April & October/ November. This allows yachts to move or visit any one of the 17,000 islands making up this amazing country. The months of November to February are peak season for equatorial cruising.”
“Every type of adventure activity, cultural experience and natural beauty cruising destination is available here. One can dive with whale sharks or mantas, visit and view the amazing Komodo Dragon, trek in the rain forest looking for Bird of Paradise, snorkel in areas where the rain forest meets the pristine coral reefs and visit authentic Indonesian villages.
Here you can see the rich history of the Banda group where the Dutch and English fought bitterly for these tiny islands over spices. Also wonderful is a visit the Orangutans of Kalimantan (before their natural habitat is completely destroyed), surf some of the best waves in the world and climb a volcano. The list of adventures and activities in Indonesia is literally endless.
NOTE: Asia Pacific Superyachts Indonesia can provide a helicopter to collect the owner and guests from the Helipad at the Benoa Bali Harbour for a stunning 45 min to an hour tour to take in all the sites of Bali and arrange for all permits and ground support. As well, APS can offer great flight options for vessels bringing their own helicopter, adding superb value to an adventure trip dominated by wonderful cultural experiences.
Photo credits – Asia Pacific Superyachts Indonesia
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6308-2: Diving in Komodo National Park