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There’s no denying that Bali makes for a wonderful holiday destination, but with over 18,000 islands, there are plenty of other places to explore in Indonesia, offering unspoiled island scenery and authentic cultural encounters.

Indonesia is also an ideal destination for liveaboard or adventure cruises – places like Komodo or Raja Ampat are best explored on a boat, allowing travelers to seek out the remotest islands and best scuba and snorkeling locations, without having to worry about tourist crowds.

Yet, until recently, planning an Indonesia cruise required a fair bit of forward planning. Many local operators don’t have a website, and there’s no way besides word of mouth to find out who to trust. True, you can always book onsite – but if you’re planning to head off the beaten track, you may be stuck for days waiting for a boat.

But companies like are solving this. Nowboat is the first all in one seafaring platform, collecting over 900 trusted local operators worldwide and allowing travelers to get in touch with them and book at 0% commission.

Indonesia is one of the top countries featured on the platform, with over 160 yacht charters and adventures available – here we’ve selected for you our five favorite Indonesia cruise adventures, available to book on for this summer!

5 Amazing Sailing Destinations in Indonesia

Surf the Moluccas

Serious surfers will almost certainly have the Moluccas on their bucket list. These islands located between West Papua and Sulawesi have long been known for their perfect beaches and reliable winds, offering swells to die for.

A surf cruise of the Moluccas is truly the best way to enjoy these dreamy breaks – having your own charter allows you to chase the best winds and surf conditions, choosing between the West Coast from Morotai and Halmaherarn or the East Coast from Halmahera until the Buli Islands.

Check out this trip

Surfing RF

Kite Safari Between Lombok and the Gili

Indonesia is not just about surfing – the reliable winds also make it a wonderful destination for kite lovers! Winds from Australia reach the Lombok/Gili area during the Australian winter, making it the ideal region to visit.

This kite Safari travels to some of the most idyllic Gili Islands – not just the famous Gili Air and Gili T, but also hidden gems like Gili Nanggu, Layar and Renggit. If the group includes non-kiters, this is not a problem – there are excellent snorkeling and swimming opportunities every day!

 Check out this trip


Image credit: Fred Bigio

Dive Alor and Wakatobi

The most popular activity to combine with an Indonesian cruise is definitely diving – after all, Indonesia is home to some of the best scuba destinations in the world!

One of them is Alor, known for having the highest anemone concentration in the world – say hi to Nemo everyone! Nowboat offers a liveaboard expedition travelling from Alor all the way to Wakatobi in Sulawesi, known for their stunning underwater seascapes and hiking opportunities on land.

Meanwhile, the boat will also call at several small islands in the Flores Sea, another great and little-visited Indonesia scuba destination!

 Check out this trip

Hawksbill Turtle Indonesia

Image credit: Christian Gloor

Dive Raja Ampat

Have you ever heard of Raja Ampat? If not, Google it – and you’ll fall in love for sure! This is an archipelago comprising of hundreds of jungle-covered islands, and known for its beaches and coral reefs rich with marine life.

The Raja Ampat Archipelago is not just home to spectacular seascapes, a unique culture and the famous Bird of Paradise – it’s also an incredible diving destination, second to none in terms of biological diversity.

For this reason, Raja Ampat makes for a great live aboard destination – Nowboat offers a 10day cruise of the southern part of Raja Ampat, taking in top dive sites like Southeast Misool famous for its large gorgonians, and the Dampier Strait where manta rays can often be seen.

 Check out this trip

Raja Ampat

Image credit: bubusbubus

Jurassic Cruise in Komodo

There are so many reasons to love Komodo! The stunning Pink Beach, the amazing Komodo National Park, the many hidden beaches and untouched swimming spots throughout the area. Ah, and the diving of course!

A 5 day ‘Jurassic cruise’ in a traditional Indonesian phinisi (wooden boat) is a great way to explore Komodo, enjoying the best dive sites and the highlight of the trip – a hike on Rinca Island to see the last ‘dinosaurs’, the famous Komodo dragons!

 Check out this trip

Image credit: Gary Campbell-Hall


Lonely Planet Indonesia 

Lonely Planet Bali & Lombok

Insight Guides Indonesia


Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 50+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.



  1. Whoa look at those swells Meg! Not a surfer but can I still say, looks gnarley? LOL.

    Indonesia is inspired. On the travel radar but off the travel beaten path in many ways. I have been to Bali more than 5 times. Or 6. I lost track. But Indonesia offers so much more, from dazzling seas to dinosaur-like dragons to jungles and kind locals and awesome food.

    Definitely doing a trip outside of Bali the next time I visit.

    What a fab round up of locations.

    Terima Kasih!


    • Huge right!! I’m not a big surfer myself either, but always fascinated to watch people tackle waves like that!

      Indonesia really is inspired – SUCH an incredible country, and so many places to see! Check out some of the adventures they have listed on next time you visit and want to explore a little further than Bali :)

      So glad you enjoyed the post!

  2. Oh my gosh! Wish I was there now…So beautiful.

    • It’s a bit like that!! Hope you have the chance to travel soon :)

  3. Indonesia is a wonderful place.

    • Absolutely! Such a unique destination – a place you could spend a lifetime exploring and never get bored :)

  4. Are these reasonably priced Meg?

    • Because the platform brings together tours across various local operators, price will vary depending on which tours you’re looking at. There’s everything on there from a 3 Day Liveaboard in Komodo National Park for $235 per person, which is very cheap, to chartering your own private house boat for $1600 a day. The private charters will obviously be more of an expense than joining group cruises or day trips, which they offer at great prices :)

  5. This has been on my bucket list.

    • Hope you have the opportunity to travel soon :)

  6. *Pulls out bucket list and adds Raja Ampat* ??

    • It’s a bit like that!! Raja Ampat should be at the top of every bucketlist :D

  7. Wow – I would love to explore those islands. How beautiful.

    • Hope you have the chance to travel soon :) You can’t go wrong with Indonesia!

  8. Would love to go to Raja Ampat sometime.

    • Good choice – Raja Ampat is incredible :D!

  9. Wow, Meg, it sounds incredible! Last year I tried sailing in Sweden. It was such an empowering experience – been in control of a boat that is gliding over choppy waters. I bet in Indonesia it must be even better (not freezing for starters ;) ). The kite safari is also so appealing. It reminded me of our good old times near Seattle and Perth.

    • Sailing is definitely one of those experiences you fall in love with instantly isn’t it! So glad you had a fabulous time in Sweden lol yes though definitely warmer waters in Indnoesia!! Keep Nowboat in mind if you visit at any stage :)

  10. Did you love Raja ampat, I’m looking to go dive next year!

    • It’s so incredible spectacular – you’ll have a fabulous trip! Check out Nowboat when you start planning your trip :)

  11. Awesome story.

    • Thanks Meka, glad you enjoyed the post :)

  12. Meg Jerrard nice to see your feeds. specially the documentary of your sailing trip.

    • Hi Indra, thanks for your comment. So glad you’e enjoying our posts, and liked reading about sailing in Indonesia :)

  13. Good morning from Hitchin! A fantastic read.

    • Good morning :) So glad you enjoyed the post.

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