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Snorkel the coral reefs of Indonesia

Exploring Indonesia: Bali, Raja Ampat & Papua New Guinea

Bali to Brisbane - Example 20 Day Cruise aboard National Geographic Orion
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Set sail from Bali on an expedition to discover Indonesia’s rich tapestry of cultures and lush tropical islands. Experience the thrill of spotting rare Komodo dragons in the wild; snorkel and dive at pristine coral reefs of the Moluccas, Raja Ampat and West Papua; take part in exuberant welcome ceremonies at the secluded villages we’ll explore along the way; and step back in time as we learn about some of the fiercest battles of the Pacific Theater during World War II. Explore the fascinating riverine world of the Asmat region, one of the least-explored places on earth as the National Geographic Orion makes her way to the Solomon Islands and Honiara.
Wayag Islands, New GuineaBalinese dancerA pair of dragons on Komodo IslandSealife at Manuar Island, Raja Ampat, IndonesiaBeautiful wild coast of Raja Ampat, IndonesiaDancers in a Barong Dance showRelax on white-sand beaches with crystal blue watersLearn about the cultures of Papua New GuineaBrilliant textiles at a marketRemote lagoon in Papua New GuineaLearn about the cultures of Papua New GuineaSnorkel the coral reefs of Indonesia
Highlights
  • Relax on the stunning beaches of Raja Ampat and West Papua
  • Search for Komodo dragons in the wild at Komodo National Park
  • Discover the timeless traditions and exquisite art of the Asmat people
  • Learn about the ancient legends and modern history of the region
Places Visited
Trip Type:
  • Small Ship
Activity Level: Relaxed
0

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Bali, Indonesia

  • 1 Dinner
Arrive in Bali. Check in to the Fairmont Hotel (or similar). Meet your fellow travelers this evening at our welcome reception. 

Day 2: Bali, Indonesia | Embark

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning we check out of the hotel and head off into the countryside and the artist’s town of Ubud – famous for silver working, wood carving, and batik. As we wind our way up into the hills, we’ll pass exquisite Hindu temples, lush forests, small villages, and the terraced rice fields cut into the cliffs. From water buffalo, to ducks, to harvest, learn how all the pieces of rice production flow together and nothing is wasted. Following lunch and free time to wander through the galleries in Ubud, we’ll head back to Benoa where we embark the National Geographic Orion.

Day 3: Satonda | Sumbawa, Lesser Sunda Islands, Indonesia

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Our first stop is the uninhabited Indonesian island of Satonda – a small circular island that is an ancient volcanic cone. Spend the morning snorkeling or diving the vibrant reefs or hike inland to the island’s sacred lake. This afternoon visit the island of Sumbawa, where villagers welcome us with a lively cultural display. Witness a traditional wedding ceremony and a local boxing match.

Day 4: Komodo Island, Indonesia

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Explore Komodo National Park, home to the world’s largest living lizard—the Komodo dragon. Learn about the conservation of these prehistoric giants from park rangers, who will join us on a hike to spot the lizards in their natural habitat. Then enjoy an afternoon of swimming, snorkeling, or beachcombing at “Pink Beach,” named for the coral fragments that lend their color to the sand.

Day 5: Flores Island, Indonesia

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Flores was once an important Portuguese trading center for sandalwood. Known for producing some of the finest ikat weaving in the world, we’ll meet the people of this arid island when we travel inland from Maumere to the weaving village of Watublapi. Whereas many other local weaving communities switched to industrially spun yarn and chemical dyes for the sake of saving time and money, the weavers of Watublapi still use the traditional, hand-spun yarn made out of local cotton, as well as local natural dyes. We’ll also see a cultural dance presentation.

Day 6: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner

Day 7: Banda Neira, Banda Islands, Moluccas, Indonesia

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Sail into the Molucca archipelago, also known as Maluku or the Spice Islands. In the heart of the Moluccas lay the Banda Islands, where a kora kora, or traditional war canoe, escorts us to the enchanted isle of Pulau Naira. Neighboring Banda Neira was once the center of the Spice Island trade and a hub of the Dutch East India Company. Stroll past Dutch architecture and visit Fort Belgica, built to protect the profitable spice trade. Next to Bandanaira, the near perfect conical volcano of Banda Api will be visible, quietly steaming away, and the crystal-clear waters provide us with some great swimming and snorkeling

Day 8-9: Raja Ampat, Indonesia

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Snorkel and dive one of the richest and most intricate marine regions in the world. Explore the steep coral walls and drop offs that are brimming with amazing life – colorful corals, giant clams and literally hundreds of different fish species. Above sea level, the experiences are just as amazing, with lush islands, towering limestone pinnacles jutting out of the water, and hidden white-sand coves to discover by Zodiac or kayak. On Gam Island birders may join a pre-dawn nature walk to try to catch a glimpse of the ethereal red bird-of-paradise.

Day 10: Maccleur Gulf | Kokas

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Soaring mountains, pristine rain forest, and dozens of the most ancient, primal tribes on the planet can be found on this amazing section of Indonesia. Use Zodiacs to get up close to 20,000-year-old rock art near the fishing village of Kokas. Explore the fascinating skull caves and rock art of the Macassan culture. See the remains of the secret underground Japanese bunkers built here during World War II. Witness the traditional gabagaba, or stick dance, and learn about the myriad cultures that have passed through this region

Day 11-13: Asmat Region, Indonesia

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
Arrive in the enchanting Asmat region, which spreads across mud flats and mangrove forests, with raised wooden boardwalks linking one village to the next. Elaborately painted “warriors” escort us to one of the stilt villages on shore, where we’ll attend a fascinating welcome ceremony. Our subsequent exploration will be dictated by the tides, as we venture to neighboring villages by Zodiac and encounter the ancient culture of the Asmat people, who are renowned for their woodcarving.

Day 14-16: Torres Strait | Gulf of Papua

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
We leave the Asmat region and sail through the Aru and Arafura Seas. During the last ice age, when sea levels were over 100 meters lower than they are today, this region was a land bridge between Australia and New Guinea. We transit the shallow, island-strewn Torres Strait, which separates Australia from New Guinea, to enter the Gulf of Papua. We’ll explore the coast and scattered islands looking for that perfect place to spend some time on a deserted beach or snorkeling through a reef bursting with color and life.

Day 17: Samarai Island, Papua New Guinea

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
It’s hard to imagine today that Samarai Island was once a bustling trading port and the second largest city in Papua New Guinea. The town was evacuated at the onset of the Pacific War and many of its buildings deliberately destroyed. When the war ended, Samarai never regained its earlier importance. Life is much slower paced nowadays, and we’ll have a chance to meet and be greeted by the town’s residents. As we depart, be sure to be out on deck as the ship cruises through the beautiful neighboring islands.

Day 18: At Sea

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner

Day 19: Honiara | Disembark | Brisbane, Australia

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch
Our expedition concludes in Honiara, a former U.S. supply depot and a strategic WWII battleground. Tour around the outskirts of the city to see sites well known from the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942-43. See the shores of Red Beach and the vital airbase at Henderson Field. Visit the hills above Honiara where some of the fiercest battles took places. Then, transfer to the airport for our flight to Brisbane, where we will overnight at a local hotel.

Day 20: Brisbane | Home

  • 1 Breakfast
Depart this morning for your flight home

Ship/Hotel

National Geographic Orion

Keep in shape in the exercise room aboard the National Geographic Orion
The National Geographic Orion is sleek and at your service
The lovely National Geographic Orion

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$19,480
National Geographic Orion's Category 1 Cabin.
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Category 1
Cat 1 #316, 318-321. Cabins feature a luminous oval window and configurable beds: two single beds, two beds converted to a queen-size bed, or a queen size bed. An armchair, reading lamps, a flat screen TV, and climate controls complete the amenities. Marble bathrooms are generously sized and include a spacious shower stall with a glass door.
Your  Category B Stateroom on the National Geographic Orion
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Category 1 Single
Cat 1S #301, 322, 323. These solo cabins feature a window or two portholes, a queen-size bed, except for #301 which has a double bed, writing desk and chair, climate controls, reading lamps, and a TV. Marble bathrooms are generously sized and include a roomy shower stall with a glass door.
A Category A Stateroom on the National Geographic Orion
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Category 2
Cat 2 #302-312, 314, 315, 317. Cabins feature a luminous oval window and configurable beds: two single beds, two beds converted to a queen-size bed, or a queen size bed. An armchair, reading lamps, a flat screen TV, and climate controls complete the amenities. Marble bathrooms are generously sized, and include a spacious shower stall with a glass door.
A lovely category 3 suite on the National Geographic Oion
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Category 3
Cat 3 Suite with Window #401-412, 414-419. These suites feature a sitting area with a large window, a sofa–except slightly smaller #401 & #402–an armchair or two, writing/laptop desk, reading lamps, flat screen TV, & climate controls. Beds are configurable (call for details). Marble bathrooms include a spacious shower stall with a glass door.
National Geographic Orion's Category 3 Cabin.
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Category 3 Single
Cat 3S Suite with Window #512. This solo suite features two beds and two large windows, plus two armchairs and small table, reading lamps, a flat screen TV, and climate controls. The marble bathroom is generously sized and includes a spacious shower stall with a glass door.
National Geographic Orion's Category 4 Cabin.
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Category 4
Cat 4 Deluxe Suite with Window #511, 515. These two suites feature separate sleeping and sitting areas, with a chair and armchair and a two-cushion sofa facing an expansive window. Beds are configurable (call for details). Ample storage, reading lamps, a flat screen TV, and climate controls complete the amenities.
National Geographic Orion's Category 5 Cabin.
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Category 5
Cat 5 Suite with French Balcony #501, 503-506, 508. These spacious suites feature open living areas and sliding glass doors opening to a shared French balcony. Beds are configurable (call for details.) A sitting area with arm chairs and a sofa, a writing/laptop desk, well-placed reading lamps, a flat screen TV, and climate controls complete the decor.
National Geographic Orion's Category 6 Cabin.
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Category 6
Cat 6 Owner’s Suite with French Balcony #502, 507, 509*, 510. These large, elegant suites feature a French balcony, with the exception of #509 which has double windows. Each provides a separate living area with a sofa and two arm chairs, except for #502, which uniquely offers a 'soaking tub with a view' in addition to a shower stall and expansive vanity.

Notes

What's Included:

Aboard ship
  • All meals and non-alcoholic beverages*
  • Your bar tab and all crew gratuities are included in the voyage price on all National Geographic Explorer, National Geographic Endurance, and National Geographic Orion voyages. Please call for details.
  • Your bar tab and WiFi** are included in the voyage price on all National Geographic Islander or National Geographic Endeavour II voyages. Please call for details.
  • Cappuccinos, lattes & filtered water
  • 24-hour coffee, tea & soda on demand (soda not included on Lord of the Glens)
  • Hors d’oeuvres & snacks during Recap
  • Fitness center or exercise equipment, depending on the ship
  • Fully stocked library, and other gracious public spaces
  • The guidance and company of our expedition staff
  • The services of a physician on certain ships/destinations
Ashore
  • Hotels ashore as indicated in the itinerary
  • Meals on land, as indicated in the itinerary
  • Sightseeing & entrance fees
  • Special access permits, park fees, port taxes
  • Transfers to and from group flights
  • The expertise of our expedition staff
Activities
  • All excursions
  • Zodiac & kayak explorations
  • Snorkeling, including wetsuits, masks, fins & snorkel where relevant
  • Presentations and guest speakers in the lounge
*Alcoholic beverages are included on the National Geographic Explorer, National Geographic Orion, National Geographic Endurance, Sea Cloud, and Lord of the Glens; certain super-premium brands are not included.

What's Not Included:

Airfare
  • International and internal airfare
Pre- and post-expedition
  • Additional hotel nights
  • Private transfers
  • Travel Protection Plan
  • Passport, visa, and immigration fees
  • Expedition extensions
  • Gratuities
Aboard ship
  • Alcoholic beverages (except aboard Sea Cloud, Lord of the Glens, National Geographic Orion, National Geographic Explorer, National Geographic Endurance, National Geographic Islander and National Geographic Endeavour II); certain super-premium brands not included
  • Spa treatments
  • Gratuities (except aboard Sea Cloud, National Geographic Orion,  National Geographic Endurance & National Geographic Explorer)
  • Scuba diving
  • Laundry
  • Internet and phone
  • Gift shop items and any other items of personal nature

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