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Island Realms Of The East Indies | Darwin - Bali | 10 Nights

Island Realms Of The East Indies

10 Nights | Departing Darwin 30 January 2021 | Arriving Benoa (Bali) 9 February 2021

Immerse yourself in the timeless rituals of the small islands of Indonesia which connect ancient traditions with modern, in this cultural adventure into Timor and the Lesser Sunda Islands. Over 10-nights, share the freedom of a small ship expedition through these exotic island realms with like-minded travellers onboard Coral Adventurer.

Our expedition explores the island realms of the ancient East Indies including timeless rituals, historic beliefs, myths and legends passed down through generations. Listen to the harp-like sounds of the West Timorese Sasando, be immersed in the blessing ceremonies of fishermen at Lamalera and visit the iconic homes of Ratengaro villagers on Sumba Island who worship sacred relics stored beneath towering thatched roofs. At Kelimutu National Park gaze over the dazzling colours of the crater lakes and witness the Lego Lego dancers at Alor Island. Admire the intricate patterns of textiles woven on ancient looms and the ceremonies of the diverse peoples you encounter on your voyage.

Along the way relax on the white-sand beaches and snorkel over vibrant coral gardens of this rarely explored archipelago.

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Expedition highlights:

  • See the ritual Lego Lego dance at Alor, where traditional beliefs and customs are still practiced
  • Hear the ceremonial Sasando music at a welcome in Tablolong Bay, and have the experience of playing the Sasando yourself onboard
  • At Lamalera, witness a ritual blessing of a fishing vessel, and see textiles being woven on ancient looms, where the patterns of whales and peledang boats may be seen in the exquisite hand-woven cloth
  • Visit the famed tricoloured craters of Kelimutu National Park, and be uplifted by a traditional choir of Flores Island
  • See the Komodo Dragons and learn of the Dragon Princess legend and the rituals and beliefs about their origin
  • Visit Sumba and learn of the animistic beliefs that focus on the marapu, an ancestral spirit religion. The marapu resides in the roof of the uma mbatangu, peaked house
  • Special Event: At the island of Lombok, participate in local ceremonies such as a traditional wedding, a coming of age celebration or the completion of a village house



Bridge Deck Balcony Suite $16,500 n/a
Bridge Deck Balcony Stateroom $12,500 n/a
Explorer Deck $11,500 $17,250
Promenade Deck $9,600 $14,400
Coral Deck $8,200 $12,300

Prices are listed in Australian dollars. *Limited sole use occupancy available.



Embark: Board at Darwin at 4:30 pm for 6:00pm departure 30 January 2021
Disembark: Arrive at Benoa at 7:00am and disembark at 8:00am 9 February 2021

The below itinerary is indicative. Your expedition is crafted by our experienced Masters and Expedition Leaders who may make changes to the itinerary as necessary to maximise your expedition experience. Allowances may be made for seasonal variations, weather, tidal conditions and any other event that may affect the operation of the vessel. Coral Expeditions suggests that you do not arrive on the day of embarkation or depart on the day of disembarkation due to any changes that may occur in scheduling.

Day 1: Depart Darwin

Board Coral Adventurer at Darwin at 4:30 pm where there is time to settle into your stateroom before our 6:00pm departure.


Kupang is our introduction to Indonesia, an historic trading port during colonial Portuguese and Dutch eras, and we arrive at the same location where Capt. William Bligh landed at the end of his mammoth 3,600nm voyage after the 1789 Bounty mutiny.

Kupang was once an important trading port during colonial Dutch and Portuguese eras. We wander through the old city and visit the Siang lay Chinese Temple, established long ago by the Chinese community, as well as a 16th century Dutch church. On a guided tour of Kupang we see the Sonbai memorial and wander through an Arts and Crafts Centre where we practice our bargaining skills.

Later, we visit Tablolong Beach, famous for its beautiful white sandy beach and is a favourite for swimming and snorkelling. We visit a village and enjoy a traditional welcome dance and cultural performance which includes the harp-like stringed Sasando.  Sasando music is an important cultural element within the Timorese community and marks significant occasions like births, deaths, marriages as well as welcoming visitors. The musical ‘belly’ of the Sasando is made from strings stretched across a hollow bamboo tube with a fan-like resonator made from dried palmyra fan fronds to enhance acoustics.

Alor Island

The population of Pulau Alor is about 140,000 but the island is very rugged, one of the reasons why this small island is divided with about 50 different languages. There are a few traditional villages and we will tour through the open-air Kadelang Market, the Museum of 1000 Moko Drums, and on to the very pretty Latafui village to enjoy a traditional Lego Lego dance. Ladies dressed in hand-woven textiles and with dangling bangles around their ankles form a tightly-knit circle and dance rhythmically to gongs and drums. The Lego Lego dance symbolises strength of unity and brotherhood and may be accompanied by a poetry reading or singing.


Lamalera is one of the last two traditional whaling villages in Eastern Indonesia where the ancient whaling tradition remains the principal economic activity. Lamalera villagers follow ancient beliefs and taboos with each hunt carried out following traditions passed down through generations. When a whale hunting expedition is announced, boats are launched to much ceremonial fanfare with villagers gathering on the beach to wish the fleet a successful hunt. A dedicated Mass service is led by a Priest to pray for a safe, successful expedition, which remains an important food source for villagers.

Whaling boats, known as peledang, are made entirely of timber with wooden pegs used in place of nails, powered by sails woven from palm leaves. Upon locating suitable prey – whether whale, manta ray or dolphin – fishermen launch a harpoon from the bow using nothing more than the strength of their bodies to reach their target.

We are welcomed to the village to see traditional activities and dances. The women demonstrate Ikat weaving and dyeing and there is an opportunity to purchase Ikat textiles direct from those who make them, where the patterns of whales and peledang boats may be seen in exquisite hand-woven cloth.

Depending on weather conditions, we may have the rare opportunity to go on a ‘mock’ whale hunt with villagers in their own boats. Alternatively, they will bring their boats close to Coral Adventurer and demonstrate how they hunt using traditional methods.


Kelimutu National Park Crater Lakes

We travel by vehicle along a scenic route from the coastal town of Ende to the multi-coloured crater lakes of Kelimutu, stopping on the way at a Convent where we will meet the orphans and enjoy refreshments. At Kelimutu Crater, there is a short walk to the crater viewpoint where we may toss stones into the lake for good luck.

We enjoy lunch at Kelimutu Eco Lodge accompanied by a choir and the traditional music of Flores. Before returning to Coral Adventurer we visit the beautiful traditional village of Wologai Tengah and wander through a local market.


The distinct architecture and conical-shaped rooflines of multi-floored homes in the coastal village of Ratengaro has remained little-changed for generations. Each one of the four levels have a different purpose with the ground level housing animals, the second level is where villagers live, the third level for storing crops and produce while the top level is where the kitchen is located. The fourth level is also used for the safekeeping of sacred objects, such as a buffalo horn, which is considered a symbol of prosperity. Sumba Island is one of few remaining places in the world where megalithic burials honour prominent individuals when they die, a practice that dates back to the Bronze Age.

We visit the village and have the opportunity to see these intriguing homes along with admiring the Sumba islander horsemanship skills for which they are well known.


The best time to see the famed Komodo Dragons is in the morning when they are most active, so our day starts bright and early. We take a guided walk with local rangers to maximise opportunities for seeing the Komodo Dragons as well as visiting a small village where Dragons are also likely to be seen.

Myths and legends abound about Komodo dragons.  According to one, the Dragon Princess of Komodo, called Orah, was the twin sister of a boy who grew up to be a great hunter. Poised to kill a dragon, the dragon materialized as his long-lost sister, and was thus spared. From this day, Komodo Dragons have been treated with the kindness, even feeding dragons which roamed through villages as they became too old to fend for themselves.

Later, we go ashore on Pink Beach where there is time to relax on the dusky pink sands and swim or snorkel in the sea. Local traders may come by in their boats to set up impromptu souvenir stands.


Kalong Island is a small mangrove-lined island within the Komodo National Park which is inhabited by a large bat colony. Cruising slowly past at sunset, we witness the daily spectacle as thousands of bats depart the island on hunting expeditions.

Satonda Island

Situated in the Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’, Satonda Island is notoriously difficult to access and is separated by narrow strait from Mount Tambora. Tambora was the site of the most devastating volcanic eruption in history when it erupted in 1815, with the tsunami breaching the rim of Satonda crater, creating a salt water lake.

We visit the collapsed crater of Satonda which is now a 240m deep salt water lake surrounded by ‘wishing trees’ and offers terrific birdwatching along with an opportunity to swim and float in the salty waters. Colonies of brightly coloured butterflies drift across the lake while and hundreds of flying foxes hang from the trees atop the surrounding hills of this alluring, remote island.

Lombok Island

The Sasak tribe of Lombok live in villages with distinct bell-shaped thatch-roofed homes with elegantly curved roof lines, woven bamboo walls and where cow dung is used as an effective mosquito repellent. The Sasak are a predominantly Balinese ethic group whose traditional dances include the Peresean Dance where men wield rattan sticks and shields made of buffalo hide to demonstrate a show of manhood. In the Gendange Beleq “big drum” performance, oversized, elaborately painted drums lead a ritual to prepare warriors for battle or to welcome them home after a successful battle.

For Sasak women, textile weaving remains integral to village life with weavers creating colourful cloth from simple looms. We have the opportunity to visit a village and learn about their cultural heritage.  We may enjoy a remarkable opportunity to participate in a traditional ritual such as wedding or coming of age ceremony.

Day 11: Arrive Benoa (Bali)

Coral Adventurer arrives into Benoa (Bali) at 7:00 am. Farewell your Master, crew and fellow guests with disembarkation at 8:00 am.

This itinerary is an indication of the destinations we visit and activities on offer. Throughout the expedition, we may make changes to the itinerary as necessary to maximise your expeditionary experience. Allowances may be made for seasonal variations, weather, tidal conditions and any other event that may affect the operation of the vessel.

January 2021

Departure Departure Arrival Arrival Cost Per Person Cost PP Ship Availability  
30 January 2021 30 Jan 2021 09 February 2021 09 Feb 2021 $8,200 to $12,500 $8,200 to $12,500 Coral Adventurer Available Book

February 2021

Departure Departure Arrival Arrival Cost Per Person Cost PP Ship Availability  
30 January 2021 30 Jan 2021 09 February 2021 09 Feb 2021 $8,200 to $12,500 $8,200 to $12,500 Coral Adventurer Available Book

Your cruise price includes:

  • All meals, chef-prepared on board
  • Showcase wines, selected beers and soft drinks with lunch and dinner service
  • 24-hour tea and coffee
  • Captain’s welcome and farewell events, and open bridge access
  • Open bridge access and engine room tours
  • Access to islands, marine and national parks
  • All excursions with use of Xplorer vessel, Zodiacs and kayaks
  • Lectures, workshops and demonstrations on board
  • Port taxes and government charges imposed by government authorities

Your cruise price does not include:

  • Pre and post flights, transfers and hotels
  • Entry visas/travel permits
  • Travel Insurance
  • Items of a personal nature including but not limited to phone and internet communications and bar charges (outside of the included drinks package as highlighted), laundry charges and souvenir purchases

Tipping Not Required

Other cruise lines automatically add gratuities to your account and service charges to your bar invoices. At Coral Expeditions our crew have no other agenda than your delight.

Our friendly reservations specialists are on hand to assist with your booking arrangements to ensure your holiday runs as smoothly as possible. Contact our team on 1800 079 545 during business hours in Australia or email


Comprehensive Travel Insurance is strongly recommended for all travellers as protection against any unforeseen events that may necessitate the cancellation or interruption of your holiday and should be purchased at the same time as you purchase your cruise. It should also include emergency evacuation and repatriation cover.

We recommend Travel Insurance by SureSave. SureSave, is an Australian company who specialise in travel insurance designed for travellers. SureSave provides world assistance through a customer support team, a claims team and an in-house 24/7 Emergency Assistance division. Underwritten by Lloyds of London, you get peace of mind knowing your security is guaranteed. Please note: SureSave Travel Insurance policies may only be purchased by Australian residents. For international travellers, please discuss your policy requirements with your local insurance provider.

Recommended Darwin Hotels


Located in a prime position close to the waterfront, the Doubletree by Hilton Esplanade offers comfortable and well appointed rooms, a large outdoor pool and friendly, relaxed service. Just a short stroll from all of the attractions of the city, the restaurants of Mitchell Street and art galleries.


Overlooking Darwin Harbour, Hilton Darwin offers fabulous Esplanade views and an ideal location in the heart of the city. Enjoy contemporary features, great location and a welcoming service every time you stay. The elegant rooms and suites are loaded with thoughtful amenities and many have stunning Harbour views. We also offers Mitchell’s Grill restaurant with innovative Australian cuisine, high-floor outdoor pool, gym, flexible meeting space and more.