Cairns to Singapore – Indonesia

Overview

DEPARTURES: APR
From: AU$18,450

STYLE: EXPEDITION/LUXURY

Days: 20
Country: INDONESIA AND WEST PAPUA

If you think Indonesia is all about Bali, then think again. Seemingly untouched by time, the Banda Islands, Buton Island, Belitung and Karimunjawa are examples of life beyond the tourist trail and offer a slice of local flavour that is untamed and unimaginable. A trip to meet the Asmat tribe of Papua New Guinea is surely a memory-making moment, to be discussed under the swaying palms of the Java Sea.

Karimunjawa - Silversea

ITINERARY SUMMARY

Asmats, Indonesia SILVERSEA

DAY 1 CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA

SILVERSEA - Cairns

Warmly welcoming you to the natural wonders of the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns is a treasure trove of rich tropical beauty and incredible sea life. Swathes of rainforest spread out to the north, where you can soar over the canopy in a cable car, before looking down over narrow channels of water plummeting down gorges and crocodile-filled waterways. The diverse lands of the Atherton Tableland lie to the west, but it’s the crystal-clear waters – and life-filled reefs – of Cairns’ remarkable underwater world that draws universal adulation. Priding itself as the Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, explore Cairns’ constellation of colour, as you dive into the world’s largest and most spectacular underwater universe. Head out on a glass-bottomed boat tour to explore the 3,000 coral reef systems, and let hours drift by appreciating the waving corals and life-imbued reefs during exceptional scuba diving and snorkelling sessions. Cairns is huddled in amongst abundant swathes of rainforests, which give way to glorious crescents of golden beach. Kuranda – with its scenic railway and heritage market stalls – waits to be discovered, cloaked within the depths of the rainforest. Learn of the indigenous people of North Queensland during cultural performances, and hear the throaty reverberations of digeridoos, as you hear eternal stories handed down through time, from generation to generation. Back in Cairns, there’s always time for a coffee or a beer, or a feast on fresh oysters with glasses of Cairns’ white wines – boldly flavoured with mango and banana notes.

DAY 2 AT SEA

Silver Explorer Dining

Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, whale watching, catching up on your reading or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.

DAY 3 THURSDAY ISLAND, AUSTRALIA

Thursday Island

While it may not be the largest island – a taxi can take you on a bespoke tour of the entire island in less than an hour – Thursday Island is a vibrant jewel in Australia’s crown. Located adrift from the northern tip of the Australian mainland, it’s one of the tropical Torres Strait islands, which are scattered between the mainland and Papua New Guinea. A gaping deep water port means the location is ideal for fishing, but you’ll have to avoid the temptation to swim in its idyllic seas – the waters are renowned for crocodiles, sharks and stingers.

DAYS 4-5 AT SEA

Silver Explorer

Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, whale watching, catching up on your reading or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.

DAY 6 AGATS (ASMAT), INDONESIA

Asmats, Indonesia SILVERSEA

The Asmat is a region of nearly inaccessible forested wetland that has long sheltered Asmat tribes from outsiders. The village of Agats is the capital of the Asmat region. The homes, longhouses, shops, schools and religious centres of Agats are all located along elevated wooden and concrete boardwalks in the heart of a dense mangrove thicket. The Asmat Museum is a must-see. Here it is possible to dote over exceptional examples of the Asmat’s renowned and vibrant woodcarving traditions. Elaborate displays of ancestor poles, drums, body masks, shields, daggers, and skulls, are reminders that headhunting and cannibalism were practiced here until the 1970s.

DAY 7 AT SEA

Silver Explorer Dining

Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, whale watching, catching up on your reading or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.

DAY 8 TRITON BAY & SEMISARON ISLAND

In 2008, the Kaimana Regency declared a 6000 square kilometre Marine Protected Area around the waters of Triton Bay. Conservation International maintains an office in Kaimana and a field station out in Triton Bay where visiting scientists can do their work studying the staggering marine biodiversity of the reserve. It is truly second to none, and the area offers everything from the tiniest pygmy seahorses, to large and graceful whale sharks. Triton Bay is known for its beautiful soft coral gardens as well as nesting green turtles, and a population of coastal Bryde’s whales.

Three whale sharks swimming near the surface, Cenderawasih Bay, West Papua, Indonesia

Pulau Semisarom (Semisarom Island) is a small karst island located in West Papua’s Triton Bay. Within the Kaimana Marine Protected Area and part of the Bird’s Head Seascape, the waters surrounding Semisarom Island and the Semisarom Passage south of Pulau Mauwara are considered some of the best to look for soft corals and reef fishes. Triton Bay is known for its marine biodiversity which includes a population of coastal Bryde’s whales and even whale sharks. The area is a nesting ground for green sea turtles and many bird species can be seen along the shore and in the trees.

DAY 9 WATUBELA ARCHIPELAGO

Silversea - Indonesia

Some of the islands in the Watubela Island Group have small communities where people live and work largely on the water. The raised coral islands are generally heavily forested and have interesting cliffs surrounded by picturesque limestone islets.

DAY 10 BANDA NEIRA ISLAND & PULAU RUN

Banda Neira, Spice Islands

Banda Neira is situated in a volcanic area and steam can occasionally be seen rising from the peak of neighbouring Gunung Api. An eruption caused a lava flow here as recently as the 1980s. The town itself is historic and was wealthy in its heyday thanks to plentiful nutmeg, clove and pepper trees. The colonial buildings of Banda Neira are part of the charm of this administrative centre of the Banda Islands; a group of ten small volcanic islands. The remains of two impressive Dutch forts are on UNESCO’s “Tentative List” to become a World Heritage Site along with the rest of the Banda Islands themselves.

DAY 11 AT SEA

Silver Explorer

Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, whale watching, catching up on your reading or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.

DAY 12 BAU-BAU, INDONESIA

Bau Bau - Indonesia -Silversea

Buton Island seems to be small compared to its neighbor Sulawesi, but with slightly more than 4,400 square kilometers it is Indonesia’s 19th largest island. Much of the lowland consists of uplifted karst and other limestone formations. Due to its hilly topography it still has a considerable amount of forest; most of it is seasonal tropical lowland forest with mangroves in coastal areas. Visitors to Bau-Bau, the main city on Buton Island, may well be welcomed with a mangaru, which is a welcome dance performed by three men to respect guests and to ward off enemies. Overlooking Bau-Bau is Benteng Keraton Buton, known as having been the seat of the sultan. Claiming to be the biggest fort in Indonesia and made of coral blocks, it commands an excellent view over the city and port and the sea beyond.

DAY 13 PALOPO, SULAWESI (GATEWAY FOR TANA TORAJA)

Palopo is a municipality in the South Sulawesi Province of Indonesia, with a population of approximately 150,000. The city has an ancient history dating back to its founding in the early 1600s. The port has always had a trade link to the highlands of Sulawesi known as Tana Toraja, and a physical link through a twisting mountain pass making it a perfect gateway to Toraja. The land of Toraja is an ancient and mysterious place where residents adorn their homes with the horns of water buffalo killed in funeral ceremonies and ornate carvings painted in bold reds and black. In many ways the Tana Toraja customs of honouring the dead dictate their ways of life. Human remains rest in stone chambers in the hillsides and burial caves high in the cliffs. Elaborate funeral ceremonies which can take months or even years to prepare can go on for days and can draw hundreds of people in a festival-like atmosphere.

DAY 14 MAKASSAR, INDONESIA

Port of Paotere, Makassar, Indonesia

Makassar is the provincial capital of South Sulawesi, Indonesia. It is the largest city on Sulawesi Island in terms of population, and fifth-largest city in the Indonesian Archipelago after Jakarta, Surabaya, Bandung and Medan. From 1971 to 1999, the city was named Ujung Pandang, after a pre-Colonial fort in the city, and the two names are often used interchangeably. The port city is located on the southwest coast of the island of Sulawesi, facing the Makassar Strait. The city’s area is 175.77 square kilometres. Its official metropolitan area, known as ‘Mamminasata’, covers an area of 2,473 square kilometres. The city is southern Sulawesi’s primary port, with regular domestic and international shipping connections. It is nationally renowned as an important port of call for phinisi boats, traditional sailing vessels which are among the last in use for regular long-distance trade.

DAY 15 AT SEA

Medallion Suite - Silver Explorer

Makassar is the provincial capital of South Sulawesi, Indonesia. It is the largest city on Sulawesi Island in terms of population, and fifth-largest city in the Indonesian Archipelago after Jakarta, Surabaya, Bandung and Medan. From 1971 to 1999, the city was named Ujung Pandang, after a pre-Colonial fort in the city, and the two names are often used interchangeably. The port city is located on the southwest coast of the island of Sulawesi, facing the Makassar Strait. The city’s area is 175.77 square kilometres. Its official metropolitan area, known as ‘Mamminasata’, covers an area of 2,473 square kilometres. The city is southern Sulawesi’s primary port, with regular domestic and international shipping connections. It is nationally renowned as an important port of call for phinisi boats, traditional sailing vessels which are among the last in use for regular long-distance trade.

DAY 16 KURA KURA (KARIMUNJAWA)

Karimunjawa - Silversea

Self-styled as “The essence of paradise” and “the best place between heaven and Earth”, when it comes to tropical islands, Kura Kura is as good as it gets. And when it comes to isolated, there simply isn’t anything like it. The nearest local airport is a 40-minute speedboat ride away, and even that is a 40-minute flight from Semarang, Central Java. So suffice to say that for those in search of luxury in undiscovered and far-flung places, Kura Kura ticks all the best boxes. The resort is located between Java and Borneo. At 22-hectares the island is ringed by white sandy beached yet has a verdant centre, and is of a rare beauty. It is also home to one of the largest lagoons in the area, so if you are a keen diver, get ready to don your mask and snorkel, as Kura Kura is fringed by a reed and offers a spectacular underwater display. The entire island is given over to a luxury eco-resort that has been conceived with sustainability in mind. Facilities were built using local materials, the resort operates a zero-waste policy (and uses no plastic) and permanent moorings are set up all around the archipelago, to have safe places for boats that need to anchor during excursion or dives. This also provides a secure point for the fishermen who seek shelter for the night, enabling them to stay safe while not having to drop an anchor, (which causes damage to the reef). Note that Wi-Fi is not available – a conscious choice – that will delight some and surely leave others gnashing their teeth! Enjoy the rare chance to disconnect.

DAY 17 AT SEA

Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, whale watching, catching up on your reading or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.

DAY 18 BELITUNG ISLAND

School of Cardinal Fish

The island of Belitung is large, measuring roughly 4,500 square kilometres. Along with neighbouring Bangka and the many other surrounding small islands this is not just an archipelago, but a substantial province of Indonesia. Belitung used to have many tin mines, but today the island is better known for its nature. The most distinct features of Belitung’s many beaches are the fascinating granite rock formations along the shallow shores. These rocks can reach the size of houses and lie in bold contrast to the white sand. Swimming and snorkeling in the crystal clear waters reveals healthy corals and hundreds of fish.

DAY 19 AT SEA

Silver Explorer Lounge

Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, whale watching, catching up on your reading or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.

DAY 20 SINGAPORE

Singapore

Advanced, airy and elevated, Singapore is a spectacular, futuristic vision of utopian city life. A healthy population of almost six million call it home, but this is a city designed with space to breathe, and gorgeous outdoor parks, massive indoor greenhouses and beautiful recreational spaces spread between the City of Gardens’ skyscrapers and soaring structures. Once a quiet fishing village, now a glistening island city-state and an international beacon of science, education and technology. Singapore is almost intimidatingly clean – and the hyper-efficient public transport system whips residents and visitors across the city’s neighbourhoods in a heartbeat. Glorious fountains and audacious skyscrapers loom up – nodding to traditional feng shui beliefs – and putting on dazzling illuminated displays after dark. The lush green botanical gardens are a spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Site, covering 52 hectares and decorated with impressive colourful orchids. Or breathe in more of the freshest air by heading up to wander the canopy strung bridges of MacRitchie Reservoir Park. Head for the iconic Marina Bay – a landmark of the city crowned by three interconnected towers, which watch out over island sprinkled waters. Jaunt between Little India and the atmospheric Chinatown in minutes, where beautiful temples – like the Chinese Thian Hock Keng Temple and Hindu Sri Mariamman Temple add rich cultural intrigue. Singapore’s cuisine is a mouthwatering fusion of its Indian, Chinese, Indonesian, and Malay influences, taking and enhancing the best of each. Enjoy dishes in towering restaurants, or toast the glowing skyline with the city’s eponymous gin-soaked cocktail – a Singapore Sling.

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