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Discover and explore Indonesia’s ‘Ring of Fire’

Indonesia is a dynamic country that spans almost two million square kilometres across the equator between Asia and Australia and offers plenty of adventures and explorations to suit all travellers. Its more than hundred-twenty volcanoes throughout the chain of islands is why Indonesia has often been referred to as the “Ring of Fire”. From romantic retreat-like settings, rugged hiking trails up majestic towering volcanoes, scenic sailing routes along the coasts of the country’s innumerable islands, to remote eco lodges in Irian Jaya (Western part of Papua New Guinea) there is something to suit the needs of every traveller. Here are some of my favourite spots that belong to a close knit family of retreats around Asia (secret-retreats.com) and while each property is as diverse as the countries itself, what they have in common is their commitment to bring their guest in touch with the soul and heart of the culture. Bliss & Romance – Villa Mathis, Bali The magical island of Bali is most known for its sensuality, art, graceful people and dramatic landscapes making it a perfect romantic getaway. While in Bali stay at Villa Mathis where you will feel like you are staying at a sumptuous private residence rather than at a resort. Ensconced in the heart of a vast and lush tropical garden planted with native and exotic spices, all the rooms are uniquely furnished with four-poster beds, lavish raised bathtubs and a décor that reflects the artistic and mystical nature of the island also famously known as ‘The Island of the Gods’. Villa Mathis, Bali Volcanoes and Legends – Tugu Malang, Java The island of Java is home to soaring volcanoes dotting the landscape, two of the world’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites and dramatic coastlines that makes travelling through Java an exciting experience and adventure. Stay at the exquisite Tugu Malang in East Java where you can find everything that a lover of history and culture may wish for: delicate silks, hand painted batiks, sumptuous Ikat textiles, antique statuettes, enigmatic masks and leather puppets. The first hotel of the Tugu properties to be built in Indonesia, Tugu Malang magnificent display of antique art was collected during the owner’s extensive travels. A short trip away from one of Indonesia’s most celebrated volcanoes, take a day trip to Mount Bromo where you will be able to walk right up to the edge and see wisps of smoke rise up from its crater. Tugu Malang, Java ‘Glamping’ – Jeeva Beloam, Lombok Nusa Tenggara (‘South-East Islands’) is a collection of more than five-hundred islands that starts from Lombok in the west to Timor in the East and offers more of a dry barren landscape compared to the other islands in Indonesia. If you always wanted to go for a glamping experience (luxury camping) then an absolute must is to try out Jeeva Beloam (‘the Soul of Beloam’) Beach Camp located in a secluded cove surrounded by pristine sandy beaches on the southern part of the island. This unique place features five thatched, wood and bamboo made Sasak berugas (small houses) amidst fifty-five hectares of unspoiled nature. An environmentally conscious resort, its completely run on solar power and generates its water through rain catchment basins and through treatment of underground water and seawater recreating a tranquil and serene ‘Robinson Crusoe’ experience. Jeeva Beloam Sailing Voyage – Silolona Sojourns, Spice Islands Another great way to explore this eclectic country comprised of more than 17,500 islands, 583 languages, and 300 ethnicities is to sail along its dramatic coastlines on board the Silolona, based on the traditional Indonesian ‘Phinisi’ (two-masted) sailing boat. Passionate about Indonesian traditions and beliefs, founder Patti Seery built the Silolona vessel so that she could share the rich experiences and diverse culture among Indonesia’s innumerable islands. As you sail the Indonesian waters on this luxurious five cabin boat, you will be able to experience some of the local islands that are only accessible by sea, swim among turtles and dolphins and enjoy freshly caught fish brought to you by local fishermen. While Silolona is usually offered on a charter basis, it runs two trips a year that are sold on a per cabin basis (1st to 6th June 2013 & 24th Oct 24 to 2nd Nov 2014). For those traveling with a small group of friends, there is also the Si Datu Bua, a three-cabin vessel. Silolona Sojourns Diving and Nature – Misool Eco Resort, Irian Jaya Always been fascinated by taking the less travelled path and discovering remote destinations? Take a trip to Irian Jaya (western half of the island of Papua New Guinea) Indonesia’s largest, most remote, and least populated province, with large areas yet to be explored. Stay at Misool Eco Resort, a private island resort nestled deep in an archipelago of uninhabited islands, in the very epicentre of marine biodiversity. Recently awarded one of World’s best eco lodges by National Geographic Traveller, your stay at Misool Eco Resort directly supports their conservation initiatives and provides sustainable employment opportunities. Not only are you surrounded by pristine coral reefs and have the opportunity to dive in some the world’s most extraordinary settings – you are also contributing towards the greater good of the environment and community. Misool Eco Lodge Cristy Elmendorp is Managing Director of Soma Journeys. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

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