Going Eco-Chic in Indonesia: Bali and Beyond

22 July 2016

We're all familiar with Bali's beaches and Ubud's rice paddies – but heading off the beaten track in Indonesia reaps rich rewards by the bucketload. We've rounded up four unique destinations that show a different side to this eco-paradise, with everything from glamping, diving and Buddhist temples on our adventure trail… you'll never look at Indonesia in the same light again.

Bali: Sandat Glamping

Reconnect with nature at Sandat Glamping, one of Indonesia's most luxurious campsites. This eco-sanctuary proves there's more to Bali than endless beaches; nestled in a quiet paddy field, its three thatched-roof eco-cabins and five tented lodges were all built to be as non-invasive to their natural surroundings as possible.

Sandat's sophisticated safari-style tents boast spacious bathrooms and bedrooms (no sleeping bags here!), mosquito nets to keep the creepy-crawlies at bay, and their own plunge pools and terraces overlooking the area's lush greenery. There are no televisions or phones either; instead, soak up the sounds of the jungle with chirping cicadas and beautiful birdsong to keep you company. Make the most of this most unique of retreats with in-room massages and wholesome organic meals on-tap... true Bali bliss.

Sumba Island: Nihiwatu

Nihiwatu – recently voted the world's best hotel by Travel & Leisure Magazine –operates an ethical, eco-centric business model. Employing 90% of its staff from within the local community, this spectacular island resort provides funding for education, healthcare and infrastructure projects through its Sumba Foundation, meaning you can unwind guilt-free.

And what could be more relaxing than an overnight "spa safari"? Stay in a picturesque Sumbanese bale enjoying unlimited spa treatments while listening to the waves crashing on the shore below. Prefer a little more action? The secluded Coconut Cove Surf School will have you board-ready in no time.

Raja Ampat: Misool Eco Resort

Dedicated divers will truly appreciate Misool's remote location, within an unspoilt and uninhabited archipelago just south of the equator. The resort is also a marine conservation centre, with an extensive "no take zone" offering protection for the surrounding reefs, shark and manta populations.

Once ashore, the resort offers luxurious private villa accommodation, built from reclaimed tropical hardwood. The villas – many of which are suspended on stilts over the water – offer five-star comfort with a distinctly Indonesian touch, including outdoor bathrooms and breezy verandas for the ultimate in post-dive relaxation.

Java: Amanjiwo

Get in touch with your spiritual side at Amanjiwo, a Javanese sanctuary set in a natural amphitheatre overlooking UNESCO World Heritage Site Borobudur, a ninth-century Buddhist temple. Natural landscapes don't get much more mesmerising than this, with the lofty Menoreh Hills one side, the verdant Kedu Plains below and ancient volcanoes in the distance.

Taking inspiration from serene Borobudur itself, Amanjiwo's suites deliver total tranquillity with thatched roof pavilions, sunken bathtubs, sprawling gardens and private pools. Relax with a traditional Javanese massage at the spa, dine on Indonesian specialities straight from the resort's garden or go explore ancient temples at sunrise on a private tour arranged by the hotel.

Rachel Read & Kate Farr

Kate Farr and Rachel Read are freelance writers, editors and bloggers based in Hong Kong. In addition to writing for the likes of Flight Centre, Hong Kong Tatler, Jetstar Asia, Home Journal and Expat Living, the pair also founded their own lifestyle blogs; Kate writes about parenting and travel at Accidental Tai Tai, whilst Rachel blogs about beauty and food at Through The Looking Glass. Follow their adventures on Instagram (@accidental_tt and @rachttlg).