Travelling by sea shows you Indonesia from a whole new angle. It can give any trip to the archipelago a boost of flexibility and freedom, and show you some of its most secluded and remote destinations.
Choosing the right boat is key, and SeaTrek are absolutely at the top of their game; their traditional wooden phinisi combine laid-back onboard ambiance with routes to some of Indonesia’s most intriguing corners. Moor up overnight next to the smaller, less-visited islands. Go ashore first thing in the morning, and enjoy being the only ones on the beach. Dig deeper into the rhythms of island life, explore their symbiotic connection to the sea, and dive into some of the most phenomenal snorkelling in Asia.
SeaTrek’s two primary vessels - The Katharina and the Ombak Putih - have been brought sensitively up to date, making life aboard feel comfortably modern whilst maintaining the phinisi’s majestic traditional silhouette. Although space is obviously at a premium, and the cabins are definitely ‘cosy’, they provide a good level of luxury within that framework. All sorts are drawn to this open, relaxed travelling style, and everyone from honeymooning couples to adventurous families can find themselves dining together at ease around the top deck table.
To make the most of the conditions in different parts of the archipelago during different times of year, SeaTrek vary their routes by season. If you’re keen to begin in Komodo and cruise towards Bali, then schedule a trip between May and September. Venture into the stunning waters of Komodo National Park to snorkel over coral, watch bats swoop over mangroves, and anchor up in search of Komodo dragons, before swimming among whale sharks closer to Bali’s shores.
If you’re looking to explore the outlying north-western regions around West Papua, and the remote paradise of Raja Ampat, plan to sail between September and April. During these months, the wild winds that often rush through the region are at their lowest and the calmer seas are more conducive to smooth sailing. Snorkel close to uninhabited islands, encounter elaborate Birds of Paradise in the wild, and drift the days away amid some of Indonesia’s most unspoilt islands.
Don’t want to choose? If you time your trip to coincide with the SeaTrek seasonal crossover, you can board a boat for its long, semi-annual journey between regions, allowing you to experience a bit of both.
In a side-step from how most boats in the region operate, especially around Raja Ampat, SeaTrek are set up for snorkelling rather than diving. This makes the whole trip feel really inclusive as you don’t need any previous experience to enjoy jumping straight off the boat into the crystal waters, and it gives everyone the opportunity to swim amongst the region’s extraordinary sea life. SeaTrek’s flexibility really comes into its own here, as encounters with wild sea creatures can’t usually be planned very far in advance! The crew keep an ear out for where different wildlife have been spotted each day, then give passengers the option of heading off the pre-planned trail to see them.
Between Bali and Komodo, you might find yourself floating above gargantuan whale sharks, their 30-foot-long spotted backs catching the sunlight through the clear water, or hovering over coral gardens where sea turtles languidly swim. In Raja Ampat’s warm waters, you might encounter graceful manta rays seeming to fly through the turquoise depths, or find yourself surrounded by angel fish and wrasse as you drift over the vibrant reefs. There’s even the chance to snorkel among hundreds of stingless jellyfish in a remote inland lake...
Despite their name, SeaTrek’s journeys don’t involve much trekking by foot (the name refers instead to the boat’s ‘trek’ across the sea). However, there are numerous opportunities to pootle ashore for gentle walks, to spend time in local villages, or to marvel at the region’s jaw-dropping wildlife. Raja Ampat’s Birds of Paradise are legendary for their improbable rainbow plumage and extraordinary mating dances that make them seem more like creations from fantastic stories than real-life creatures! Komodo’s dragons are, perhaps, even more famous, and by mooring up just offshore overnight you can be among the first to spot these enormous lizards each day.
Nature thrives in all corners of these islands. There are colonies of bats nesting amid ancient cave paintings, coconut crabs sheltering in the palms, and monkeys, deer and wild pigs wandering through inland forests. The time spent ashore can be as long or short as you (and your fellow passengers) wish, and SeaTrek’s flexibility really works in your favour here. There’s no need for everyone to always follow the same itinerary; join in with the day’s excursions if you wish, or stay aboard and have the boat to yourself for a few hours.
What live-aboard boats naturally lack in space, SeaTrek’s phinisi make up for in simple style, ingenious design, and cosy privacy. Whether gathering around the communal top deck table to tuck into buffets of fresh seafood, salads and local specialities, sipping perfectly-blended cocktails as the sun sets, finding moments of peace as the day breaks, or taking joyful leaps off the bow into the azure sea, life aboard is all about making you feel at home amid stunning surroundings.
What takes the experience to the very highest level, however, is the dedication of the crew. These folks have sailed these routes many times and really know their onions on everything from finding out-of-the-way spots to moor up and snorkel, to tips on making the most of shore-time. They’ve often got some great stories to share too, which get the evening conversation flowing. Everyone involved with SeaTrek goes above and beyond to ensure that guests feel welcome, and there’s a camaraderie that really puts you at ease so you can fully focus on absorbing every moment of your adventure at sea.
SeaTrek sail a variety of routes throughout central and eastern Indonesian waters that can be stand-alone or built into a more extensive Indonesian journey. Our Indonesian Specialists will be delighted to find the perfect sailing for you. Welcome aboard. The price of £3,290US$3,890 listed above is per person (not including international flights) based on SeaTrek with Whale Sharks, Corals & Dragons
Explore the Spice Islands and West Papua and its wild and timeless beauty.